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The top 5 technical skills every product manager should know

Colin Lernell suggests that while empathy is a core skill that all product managers should have,  you should also know 5 technical skills.  He explains those skills, why they’re important, and how you can learn them so it’s not essential to have those skills in order to become a product manager, but you want to be able to learn them along the way. (via @xolin@UserVoice)

Will Non-Technical Product Managers Become Obsolete?

Alex Cowan answered the question “Are non-technical product managers going to quickly become irrelevant?” by pointing out that it’s helpful to define what you mean by “non-technical”. If non-technical means you don’t have a computer science degree, the short answer is no. If non-technical means “too intimidated or too uninterested” to learn about and engage in technical details, then you already are irrelevant. (via @cowanSF)

6 Skills Tech Companies Look for in Product Managers

The product manager role differs across organizations depending on whether the role is used for internally facing purposes or customer facing purposes. Napala Pratini argues that “despite the core differences between the various PM roles, however, the underlying foundations of what makes a good product manager hold true across organizations of all types.” She described that foundation in terms of six skills – one of which is technical skills.

Do product managers need a technical background?

A common topic of discussion in product management circles is you need a technical background to be effective as a product manager. Product Manager HQ described the two viewpoints in this discussion (yes you do; no you don’t) and identified steps you can take to develop a technical foundation.

Do you need a technical background? Survey says… it depends

Product Craft found that over 56% of respondents to a poll say that a technical background was not required for product managers. This view is somewhat shared – with some caveats – by four industry experts they asked to debate the question. (via @Product_Craft)

Product Managers: 31 Blogs You Should Follow to Up Your Game

It also makes sense to listen to those who are discussing the latest trends, practices, and news relating to our profession. Danni Friedland gives you several blogs to which you should subscribe.

50 Things I’ve Learned about Product Management

Similarly, John Cutler has put together an extensive list. This list is focused on lessons from his career. Things that jump out include the reminder that people who have given up on your product are not taking part in your NPS surveys, and that sometimes you need to get out of the way — you don’t have to be involved in every conversation.

What Distinguishes the Top 1% of Product Managers from the Top 10%?

You can be a good Product Manager. Or a great one. But what would make you one of the 1% of Product Managers that consistently excel at their jobs? Ian McAllister offers a list of abilities that this person must have. For instance, along with having a firm grasp on the big picture items such as market opportunities and positioning, this person must be a superior communicator.

The Career Dilemma: Hunter Walk’s Advice to Product Managers

You have to question whether you want to continue directly managing product, or become a manager of people doing this work. Hunter Walk, during his time at Linden Labs and YouTube, realized that progress needn’t mean the latter.