Assessing Product Management Capabilities is More Important than Skills or Competencies

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About the author Stephan van Rooden
Stephan is highly skilled Product Management consultant, Professional Scrum Trainer and Entrepreneur. An experienced and energetic management- and teamtrainer. Storyteller and insight-bringer with an addition of way beyond a hundred practical examples.

You’ve been in the product management game for a few years now, honing your skills and competencies through courses, certifications, and hands-on experience. You’ve completed courses, earned certifications, and raised your level. But as you look towards the next step in your personal development, it’s crucial to consider your product management capabilities. Here’s why focusing on capabilities is a game-changer for your career.

The Limitations of Skills and Competencies

First off, let’s clarify the difference between skills, competencies, and capabilities. Skills are specific, learned activities, such as writing user stories or conducting market research. Competencies are broader and combine skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary to perform effectively. Capabilities, however, refer to the ability to perform and adapt in different contexts and environments.

Your utilization of skills and competencies is significantly impacted, or even limited, by the product management organization you are part of. No matter how proficient you are at strategic planning or market analysis, if your organization doesn’t support innovation or product principles, your impact will be constrained.

Shaping Your Personal Growth

Personal growth in product management isn’t just about upskilling; it’s about influencing and changing your environment to enable success. Let me give you an example:

You might have been working as a product owner for a couple of years now. You completed your PSPO 1 assessment right after starting and last year attended the advanced product owner course (PSPO-A). Now, you’re struggling to figure out your next step. Should you broaden your capabilities by diving deeper into professional scrum with a PSM-A course, or should you deepen your product management capabilities by exploring product strategy or product discovery?

Rather than just adding more skills, consider how you can shape your environment to support your growth. Can you influence your team’s behaviour to be more product focussed? Can you advocate for a culture of continuous discovery and validation within your organization? These actions often have a more substantial impact on your career progression than simply adding another certification to your resume.

Insight into Your Own Product Management Capabilities

Understanding your capabilities involves a deep dive into how you apply your skills and competencies in various scenarios. It’s about knowing your strengths and areas for improvement within the context of your current organization and the broader market landscape. This is where our PM capability assessment comes in.

Our assessment provides a comprehensive analysis of your product management capabilities, helping you identify areas where you can influence change and drive success. It goes beyond the traditional skills and competencies checklist many other assessments have. It offers insights into how you can leverage your unique abilities to shape your career path.

Shape up you learning journey

For PMs and POs looking to advance in their careers, the focus should be on assessing and enhancing capabilities rather than just accumulating skills and competencies. By understanding and influencing your environment, you can unlock new opportunities and drive meaningful change. Take the next step in your personal development by gaining insight into your capabilities through our PM capability assessment.

Try our free self-assessment, if you are looking for more advanced insights feel free to reach out for one of our paid and more extensive assessments.

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Justin van Dijk

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