I agree soft skills are very important, IMO it might be more applicable for big companies, but definitely not as impactful (in relative to other skills) for small to mid-sized companies and startups.
For people who are working on “creating”, there’s only so much what interpersonal skills and people skills will get you. Soft skills are great, but they’re empty promises without actual product management knowledgebase.
Yes, you can watch videos and learn, learn by doing… but that’s true for almost everything, including soft skills.
IMO we need to break this tendency of glamorizing Product Management as “oh it’s mostly soft skills” because that’s relevant to most other careers too, PM is not an outlier.
Here are some hard skills that are required for a good product manager:
finding product-market fit (this is a whole couple of books at least)
persona development, interviewing skills (with bias checks)
design thinking, and applying it to almost all aspects for “new” creation
building stories efficiently based on X metrics. ( I’ve had clients tell me, we want to build a habit of them checking the app every morning… so let’s put some metrics on this, workflows)
ability to build fast iterations on wireframes, visuals (visuals if you’re doing that product): pen+paper, balsamic, invision and many other tools
understanding metrics, optimization,
problem-solving skills, especially for metric optimization or finding root cause
setup experiments, benchmarks for all product or product-related
running fast and good ad campaigns: google, facebook linkedin
Quantifiable MVP prioritization: it’s extremely harder than it sounds.
Data expertise, don’t depend on another person to get you data from GA/ Firebase/ mixpanel/ MySQL, you should be able to do this yourself
an understanding of technical base, what is the underlying tech stack, how it works, and what it needs. The way you write and disclose a story can mean it’s a 2-day story or 20-day story. Very basic example, if we get nitpicky and write a story that we only want this UI, then it’s 20 days, but if we state that any relevant UI that does this feature is acceptable, then it’s a 2-day story as they can use a kit.
Plus a lot more, the product is a knowledge base that actively involves all others.