What trait is the most important when managing product managers?

In our product management survey, done each year before the Product Leadership Day, we asked practitioners in different roles what they believed to be the most import trait for a Head of PM.

During the Product Leadership Day 2016 Steven Haines is coming to Stockholm. Friday March 18th he will lead a product management workshop on managing product management. With that in mind we asked in our product management survey what property is the most important property for a person managing product management.

Everyone has an opinion about how a boss should act. Working with product management we are of course especially interested in how you manage product management. At Tolpagorni we have thought about it a lot and realized that there is a lack of good writing on the subject. In order to learn we have therefore started a working group together with experienced leaders in the high-tech B2B arena. The aim is to find some basic principles for how you should design and manage product management. We also invited the well-renowned Steven Haines for the Product Leadership Day. Steven is one of the few that actually hs written something on the subject, with his book Managing Product Management.

In our product management survey, done each year before the Product Leadership Day, we asked practitioners in different roles what they believed to be the most import trait. It turns out the answer differed depending on the role in the company. The two most important traits for the Head of PM seen by various roles turned out to be the following: 

Technical Product Manager:

  1. Leadership - leading individual PMs (50%)
  2. Leadership - interacting with higher management (38%)

Product Marketing Manager:

  1. Communication (33%)
  2. Strategic thinking (33%)

Product Manager:

  1. Strategic thinking (34%)
  2. Leadership - leading individual PMs (22%)

Head of Product Management:

  1. Leadership - leading individual PMs (32%)
  2. Communication (32%)


It comes as no surprise that leadership qualities are important. The Head of Product Management respondents themselves agree. They also believe communication is the most important property. But Communication is not what comes to mind for product managers or technical product managers. The characteristics of each role seem to define what practitioners in that role deem as the most important property for the person leading them.

You can also download a longer analysis of the survey result here:Get the Report

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About Jimmy Rosenberg

As the Conceptualizer in Tolpagorni, Jimmy has a constant urge to learn new things and thus spend a lot of his spare time following technology- and science- related progress in different media. His interests together with his education have made him appreciate how the exponential advances in technology continue to integrate innovations and new products in the everyday lives.

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