Exciting Controversy: I believe it is more important to hire a product manager who is a leader and communicator than a good technologist. When hiring PMs I look for the following qualities in this order:
1. Leadership and Communication Skills
2. Analytical Approach
3. Business Sense
4. Domain Knowledge
5. Technical Knowledge
With leadership, listening is key. PMs have to have the soft skills of getting behind a customer’s list of feature requests to understanding them, their job, their life, and their problem.
On technology: Your engineers’ technical skills are going to be better than the PMs anyway. Having a collaborative discussion between two smart people with different skills and points of view is bound to be more productive than your PM sitting alone in her office dreaming up ideas.
I go deep on this subject in this article. Agree? Disagree? Comments?
Hiring? Let me know about your difficult to fill positions and I'll highlight them in future issues.