Monday, August 22, 2005

Hiring a Product Manager

You're looking to hire a product manager, either on a full-time basis or as a consultant. You cringe as you think of all the resumes you're going to have to process. You decide to include in the requirements for the position that the applicant "must have ten years of experience in the industry".

Smart decision? Probably not.

Remember, the most important skill a product manager possesses is facilitation. People with facilitation skills are so rare that, by restricting applicants to those with a wealth of industry experience, you may have reduced your pool of qualified candidates to zero.

Furthermore, facilitation skills lessen the importance of industry experience. Facilitation is what effective product managers use to gain an understanding of the market for products. Industry experience only brings a true understanding of the market when the proper analytical and facilitation skills accompany it. And a skilled facilitator can gain a more thorough and unbiased understanding of the market in a short time than an experienced industry insider lacking such skill ever can.

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