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What Makes An Exceptional Product Manager?
XIMNET - How To Be A Great Product Manager
The past six months have been both exciting and tense for the whole team at XIMNET as we work closely for the launch of our new platform — XYAN.
Unlike XTOPIA, XYAN offers a whole different range of capabilities to a different group of users. The planning process took us no less than three months. This left us another three months to develop, test and deploy.

Having led one and now co-leading another, I learned that there are three remarkable areas product managers should aspire to excel in to develop a great product:
They are Relationship Builders
A product manager works closely with product owners (or clients), user experience (UX) team, technical team and the list can go on depending on the scale of the solution. Therefore, the ability to listen, evaluate and work along the teams to achieve the end goals are determined by how well we can work along with each other.
They make tough calls
If everything is crystal clear and certain in a product development journey, it is likely what you are building has already long been established in the market. Let’s hope that’s not the case for you. One of the key roles of a product manager is to make decisions that determine the future of a product.

A deep understanding of the availability of technologies, people and processes are equally important to ensure decisions are not made based on sheer ‘gut-feel’.

Sure there will be times when things can go either way. What differentiates a good and great product manager is to have the foresight of where the business is heading will be able to make more well-informed decisions without underestimating the potential pitfalls in every choice one makes.
They spend a great amount of effort to strategise and plan
Brilliant ideas come and go quickly. The ones that materialise are those executed by dedicated product managers (or owners themselves). All ideas need to go through a series of tough questions to identify their potentials and risks, hence many let go of their ideas at this stage.

From developing user persona to system analysis, all these efforts are essential to determine a successful project journey. Aside from adopting the Agile framework, XIMNET spends no less than half of the time allocated to go through as many unknowns as possible to formulate potential solutions to each challenge before we go on the development phase.

The lack of planning work can cause months of setbacks so an experienced product manager will want to put great ideas into such risk.

If you are pursuing Product Management, we think these insights may be useful for you:
Master project management above all
Yes, there is no typo error there. Product management is often confused with project management. While they are two different areas, project management methodologies are extremely helpful for product managers. From our experience, the Agile framework has helped us to deliver high-quality and accurate results. Here are some good reads on this method:

Go beyond the average standard
It is easy for us to be comfortable with just getting things done and say, “As long as it works”. The outstanding product managers do not stop at “it works”. Instead, they ask, “How can we make this better for our users?”

An innovative mindset paired with great enthusiasm to deliver above the average standards is where all unimaginable products are born. After all, for a great product manager, a product is never perfect and the standard can always be improved.
Value people over software
Many product managers think many challenges will be minimised with powerful project management tools. The truth is, great software does not solve human conflicts which is one of the main reasons products do not turn out the way they should be.

So instead of spending your time looking for the best online tool for your next product, spend more time engaging your team and stakeholders in a meaningful way. By understanding your business and team’s needs and wants, you are more capable to be inclusive in your planning journey to produce good work that ultimately benefits everyone.

Thanks to Microsoft Teams and its range of apps available for download, XIMNET has been able to communicate, track and execute promptly.

In summary
In our opinion, great product managers are selfless, honest and empathetic in character. This role suits those who are driven to deliver world-class user experience and enjoy working with a group of people with diverse skills and talents. Are you ready? Let’s build the next amazing product!
Joe is the Agency Manager of XIMNET Malaysia since 2018. She is also the UX Lead for an web building platform, XTOPIA.IO.

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