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Everything you need to know about Product Management


If you are looking for a career in product management, you are in the right place. Recently, the role of product management is expanding significantly and gaining traction. The online interest in this role has doubled in the last five years. This is majorly due to the growing importance of data while decision-making and increased focus on the audience/customer and the design. The evolution of software development methodologies has also fuelled this growth. 

Is this the right role for you? Yes, if you love understanding who your customer is, why they behave the way they do and their needs. If all of these tick your boxes, then yes, product management is the right role for you. 

But, what does a product management job involve? What are the responsibilities or skills required? And so on. We will answer all these questions as you read ahead. 

  1. What is product management, and why do we need it?
  2. Responsibilities
  3. Some additional skills required
  4. Conclusion

What is product management, and why do we need it?

As Martin Eriksson famously said, Product management is the intersection of technology, business, and user experience. 

  • Technology: To know what is being built, it is important to understand how it is being built. This does not mean the product manager has to sit down and code. Product managers must have a fair idea about the technologies involved and the amount of work being put into making the product. Only then will they be able to make the right decisions in the development strategies. 
  • Business: The ultimate aim of product management is to boost business. Product managers are required to be obsessed with optimizing the product to better cater to the customers. This will directly affect the sales and return on investment.
  • User Experience: Building better products can only be possible if the customers and their feedback are heard. In this scenario, the product managers are the voices of the customers inside the business. They need to effectively communicate what the customers desire to help make better products. 

The need for product management took birth when companies needed exclusive help with their product lifecycle. There was a need for functionality to support the development, pricing and to understand the customer and the product first. Product management helped achieve these requirements. It became an organizational function to build the best possible products and help understand the customer better. 

As the focus shifted on understanding the customers, product teams could now build better products. Companies realized that this directly boosted their product sales, and thus product management became an important organizational function. 

Responsibilities

The major chunk of responsibilities of a product manager entails making strategies and tactical planning. To break it down, we have listed down some of the significant responsibilities:

  • Conduction of Research: Product managers spend most of their time doing research. This research can vary on a wide range of requirements. They mostly research their product, its uses, the scope, and the market for it. Furthermore, they research the product’s user persona and try to gain expertise in building a user-feedback-oriented, better-designed product. Also, they are required to research their competitors and understand the competitor’s products. This helps them strategize in making their products different and better.  It also helps them price their products better and learn from their mistakes. 
  • Strategy Development: This is the next important responsibility of a product manager. Gaining insights after extensive research can only be fruitful if that research is utilized in the best possible manner. Product management requires you to build strategies for the company’s products based on industry research. This can be a vision and a roadmap for the product and its development lifecycle. Making strategies also include designing goals and objectives so that the product development is on track.
  • Communicating Plans: Communication is the key, even in product management. Each of the former responsibilities fails to be executed properly if a product manager fails to communicate. A product manager has to communicate in two directions: the key stakeholders and the relevant teams who work on the product. The key stakeholders must be communicated about the research insights and the strategies to be executed. The product teams, development teams, etc., must be communicated about the requirements and the roadmap/plan so that there is efficient execution of the development process and the strategy. 
  • Coordination between/in teams: A product manager has to be steady in coordinating with the teams once the development cycle begins. They have to identify the various pitfalls/issues in the product development process and help rectify them. This will help the teams to achieve their goals as per the roadmap. 
  • Feedback data analysis: After successfully building the product and launching it into the marketplace, a product manager has to effectively collect feedback from the customers. They have to collect and analyze the feedback to determine what changes could be made to the product to better cater to the customer needs. They have to understand what’s working and what is not. They can then incorporate these changes into future versions of the product.

The above-mentioned responsibilities can also be entailed as the steps of the Product Management Process. This also sheds some light on what kind of skills you would be required to have to pursue a career in product management. However, there are some other additional skills that a product manager is required to have. 

Some additional skills required

  • Storytelling: Due to their extensive research in customer persona, Product managers learn more about their customers than even the sales team. Storytelling skills will help them better explain their customer to the rest of the company. 
  • Marketing: Having this skill will help product managers to integrate the language of their customers/buyers into messaging of their company’s product. Understanding basic marketing concepts will help product managers help design and provide products that people can find and relate to.
  • Empathy: This is one of the most important skills required by a product manager. They should have empathy for the developers for how they work. They should have empathy for the upper management for their schedules and, most importantly, empathy for the end-users/ customers for their needs and pain points. This will help the product manager to coordinate effectively and function well.

These product management skills are actively marketed by professional development boot camps, universities all over the world proving that product management is here to stay.

Conclusion

Product management is different for different companies. This is because their products are different, their way of functioning, their organizational structure is different. But, the aim of Product management remains the same throughout every company – to boost the product sales and ultimately the business. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog. If you did, please do leave a comment and share your thoughts. Also, do check out the blog on what is the difference between product owner and product manager

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