The Phenomenal Product Manager: What is a Phenomenal Product Manager?

The article is a synopsis of The Phenomenal Product Manager: Chapter Two, written by Brian Lawley.

Phenomenal vs. Meh

You’ve probably come across a few Product Managers who seem to stand out form the crowd – the ones that seem to be really good at what they do, whereas other Product Managers seem to have little or no clue. They are the stars–the phenomenal Product Managers who are clearly on the road to big things in their careers.

There are a number of characteristics they all seem to have in common.


These Product Managers have the ability to see where the market, competition and industry are going and to create a strong vision for where their product needs to be in order to win the market and satisfy customers. This includes both short-term and long-term thinking. Oftentimes it requires defying what others in the company may believe because they don’t have as much information or customer and market insight as the Product Manager does.


You will never succeed as a Product Manager if you don’t have the guts to stand up and fight for your good ideas . You are much better off taking a job where you can voice safe opinions. There may be a time in your career where you’re afraid to be bold – but you must.

Ability to Influence

The ability to use both logic and emotion to win over wide ranges of audiences to your point of view as you are implementing the product vision and strategy that you believe in.


Being able to lead your extended team without having formal authority over them. Building enough credibility and respect so that others are motivated to let you be in charge of a product line’s future.


If you aren’t an expert about the customers, markets, technology and trends for your product then it is difficult to get others to follow you. Become an expert in both the field of Product Management as well as the market segments your product is targeted to.


Enthusiasm is contagious. If you have a strategy and vision and are enthusiastic, you can bring others along with you in your efforts.

NOTE: The opposite is even more true.

If you are jaded and negative you will ultimately fail with both your product and your career advancement. This is a trap that I see far too many Product Managers fall into–they think that being jaded and cynical is humorous and don’t realize the damage they are doing to themselves and their product.


The ability to keep going despite facing difficult people and circumstances.

Commitment to Excellence

This includes excellence in both the work you do and deliverables (presentations, market requirements, business cases, etc.) as well as the details of the product itself. The Product Manager is at the center of all aspects of the product. If they don’t own delivering excellence for all aspects of the product, no one else will.

Wrap Up

Don’t let this set of qualities overwhelm you – continuing learning what to develop and focus on. The more you practice them the easier is becomes. Just being aware of them gives you a big advantage over other Product Managers. You’ll need many of these qualities in order to advance your career no matter what you want to do, whether you stay in Product Management, become senior executive or move on to being a CEO.

Read The Phenomenal Product Manager Book


Product Management is one of the most dynamic and exciting careers around. Yet many Product Managers find themselves frustrated because of the unique challenges it presents. The Phenomenal Product Manager helps you overcome these challenges.

There are many books on the mechanics and core principles of Product Management, such as how to gather and write requirements, build roadmaps and perform other tasks. The Phenomenal Product Manager tells you the rest of the story—the strategies, tactics and techniques that will turn you into a great Product Manager.

Based on the author’s 25 years of Product Management experience, as well as perspectives from the world’s leading Product Management experts, The Phenomenal Product Manager is a must read for every Product Manager who wants to be more successful and get more enjoyment from their job.

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