Want to become a product manager? Don’t forget about the soft skills

To get ready for my first product manager job, I spend countless hours learning about agile, technology, design and so on. I have since realized after becoming a product manager that the soft skills are at least as important as the hard skills. I have learned the hard way how important communication skills are, especially in difficult times. My goal is to share from experience a few different situations where communication is vital and with some general learnings.

Writing user stories

As a product manager, you spend a large amount of time writing user stories. You have to be able to succinctly communicate why this story is important and what has to be done. It’s helpful to stay flexible on how you write your stories, as some engineers like heavy details, while others prefer stories that need to be discussed.

Managing stakeholder expectations

This comes down to the gap between expectations versus reality. Even if the feature or product you are building with the team is progressing fast, if the expectations of the stakeholders are higher, it will cause friction. In technology, it often happens that a deadline cannot be met and it’s your job to keep all stakeholders in the loop to lower the expectations and explain why.

Know how to communicate with different stakeholders

You will often have to talk to engineers, management, marketing team, and others. Each group has its own problems, goals, and terminology. If you really understand each of the groups, it will make it much easier aligning on goals, collaborating and reduces miscommunication.

Build confidence in your team

Just as you have expectations of the engineers, so do they have of you. Even if you have excellent technical and industry knowledge, if you are not able to effectively communicate with your team, you cannot build confidence. Without the trust of your team, it becomes increasingly difficult to get things done and creates a working atmosphere where nobody feels motivated and inspired.

Getting approval for resources

If you have a good idea or been tasked with a certain project that requires additional engineering resources that you don’t have, you need to get buy-in from the management to allocate resources to your project.


  • It’s helpful to create a generic structure to write your feature/bug tickets. I usually like to include the user story to make sure you focus on the user, some context for understanding and acceptance criteria to define the ticket as done.



Co-Founder of Jumanji Lab

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