What It Takes to Become a Great Product Manager

Product management luminary Martin Eriksson famously described the product manager’s role as seated at the intersection of business, technology, and user experience. A project manager is responsible for successfully completing and delivering a project. But a product manager is responsible for the complete life cycle of the product, i.e., planning, developing and marketing the product.

This is why many product managers report to development, or engineering. In short, while both product managers and marketing managers are essential to the success of a product, their roles and responsibilities differ in terms of focus and scope. Product managers are focused on the development and launch of the product, while marketing managers are focused on promoting and selling the product to customers. Product management is the intersection between business, technology and user experience.

Job Title

Naturally, problem-solving and analytical skills don’t hurt, either. The product manager role involves conducting extensive research to create a high-performing product that customers want to use. They coordinate with several teams, including design, engineering, and executives, to create and maintain a product suite.

what does a product manager do

Hotjar’s product experience insights tools help product managers stay connected to their users, confidently make the right product decisions, and craft compelling stories to get company buy-in. Crucially, excellent product managers understand what’s important to the different stakeholders they communicate with. They tailor their message to the core objectives of their audience, and they back up their communications with user and business data. Product manager vs. project manager is one of the most common areas of confusion—partly because the roles sound alike. In some companies, stretched product managers are forced to take on organizational and operational project tasks that shouldn’t define their role.

What Does a Product Manager Do? Your Complete Career Guide

Even if they don’t all like each other, respect and credibility are the minimum threshold required for a functional organization and product development process. To effectively integrate stakeholders, they should be engaged at every point in the process. During the planning phase, it’s best to make them aware of where things are heading and why with a roadmap (which is different than a release plan). Theme based roadmaps are especially useful for storytelling as it rolls up features into the larger, “Why?

what does a product manager do

David Morris, head of technology and media careers at London Business School, suggests keeping up to date with the latest news and opinions in the sector. The average base salary of a product manager in the U.S. is $123,599 per year. The job title itself makes it clear that this is a junior-level position, which is good. To ensure it gets mostly relevant candidates, the company has talked about the characters of the ideal candidate. This not only eliminates undesirable candidates but also sets expectations for the applicants during shortlisting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding.

Talking to Customers

Whether a company offers physical or digital goods, product managers focus their attention on all aspects of a product’s life cycle. Larger companies often use multiple product managers at the same time to maintain high-quality products from creation to release. Individuals interested in supply chain management, new product rollouts, customer acquisition funnels, and other essential product quality functions within a business should consider becoming a product manager. A role that’s vital to the continued success of any business, product managers help companies pair dynamic products with consumers who will appreciate and use them. Product managers maintain responsibility for the ideation and creation of all products.

what does a product manager do

After all, if you don’t understand the data, you’ll struggle to identify what business value your product is meant to drive. The product is something that solves the customer’s pain, while enabling the business to be profitable, while being something that the development team is excited to build and can easily maintain. In other words, a great product solves the pains of the customer, the business, and the product development team.

Customer Service

Some may also earn a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), product management or a similar field. Glassdoor reports that the average base salary for a product manager in the US is $102,220 [1]. Many factors can impact how much you make, including your location, industry, education level, and years of experience. Whether or not a team is adhering to a certain agile practice (and which one), can further muddy the waters when it comes to what a product manager does. For instance, if a team is practicing scrum, then they also need to have a product owner.

what does a product manager do

This is especially true for those wanting to make a switch into the tech industry. To create a product that responds to user needs, product managers conduct extensive market research and analysis. Analyzing data and gathering insights can also identify any opportunities and gaps in the market. This is especially important in a competitive landscape such as wearable technology. Here are some job descriptions based on real job ads that are live at the time of writing.

Many people confuse product and project managers but the two have some different and some overlapping responsibilities and goals. That requires a vast spec of knowledge, which includes some technical know-how and a deep understanding of product leadership. Due to this variability, there is a wide range of day-to-day activities, but ultimately a product manager is still responsible for doing whatever it takes to collaborate with multiple teams. You need to have grit because you’re going to face difficult decisions every day, and you’ll face conflict from all three groups all of the time. You need to be convicted in your mission and your passion, and you need to be the spiritual cheerleader and representative for all three groups even when times are tough.

  • If, for example, the debt is old and the statute of limitations in your state has passed, then a creditor or debt collector may not be able to take you to court.
  • When product managers want to delve into the world of self-improvement and career development, there is a slew of books on the topic, providing tips, pointers, and insights from experts.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, are crucial for a product manager.
  • Crucially, excellent product managers understand what’s important to the different stakeholders they communicate with.
  • Even if they don’t all like each other, respect and credibility are the minimum threshold required for a functional organization and product development process.
  • To uncover these problems, product managers must develop an intimate understanding of their customers, market trends, and competitors.

Figuring out how to get them on board with your point of view is the second. Becoming a great storyteller—even when you don’t have any data to back up your point—will take you a long way. Understanding which levers to pull with which person is the key to leading without any direct authority.

Written by ODEY ALFRED

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