A product manager leads the process of product development– from idea to execution. In addition, product managers create success through their leadership, organization and communication skills.

As an organizational role, it’s found at companies that create products or technology for use. Product managers hold responsibilities that are both tactile and strategic. From marketing, forecasting and project management, product managers hold a versatile role that drives business.

The specifics of product management responsibilities vary between companies. Some even split product management between internal strategy and external marketing. A great product manager has a diverse set of skills for every product.

Roles and responsibilities of a product manager

Product management is an agile role. They perform a variety of tasks across several disciplines. Most product managers have analytical, problem-solving, marketing and decision-making skills. 

Working with several teams creates a successful product. These teams may include marketing, sales, engineering and support.

Planning

Product management’s main purpose is to develop products that are not currently on the market. Working at a conceptual level allows the product development team to create valuable products that are wanted by customers.

Every company strives for unique ideas. Product management is responsible for leading the process of generating, developing and executing ideas. Ultimately, they are responsible for pushing a product and achieving objectives.

Additionally, project managers advocate for customers. Through market research and competitive analysis allows for prioritization of feature and capabilities. Following research and market trends allows product teams to deliver high-performing products.

Read More: Learn About Being a Product Manager

Development

Next comes the development of a product. Mainly this is done through a product roadmap. A product roadmap is a summary of the product’s vision, direction and strategy. Roadmaps are usually driven by company goals.

In addition, product managers align the thoughts of stakeholders and executives. These conversations shape the product and add to potential success.

Product roadmaps typically outline 

  • Product strategy and goals
  • Products and features
  • Timeline of the project
  • Assignment of tasks to teams
  • Priorities

The roadmap communicates the ‘what’ and ‘why’ behind the product. Also, it keeps everyone on the same page throughout the development and production processes.

Then the product manager is responsible for creating the strategy that articulates business decisions and creates strategic goals.

Execution 

Product managers are responsible for the features of a product. They rank features against the strategic goals. Ultimately, the product manager is responsible for deciding which features align with goals and target customers.

In addition, product management requires being a cross-function leader. They bridge conversations across departments. Product managers work with several departments at once. So, it’s critical product managers can work with different communication and leadership styles and an abundance of personalities.

The coordination of teams, data, processes and business systems drives the product’s schedule. Product managers are responsible for defining the release process. This includes coordinating all activities and tasks.

Leadership

Product management is not a typical corporate leadership position. However, product managers are frequently collaborating with other departments and individuals. Product managers must create a team to successfully launch a product.

Having strong leadership skills is important. Working across several departments requires consistent and proactive communication.  Product managers must be able to negotiate timelines across departments to complete their timeline. They must connect with engineers to have products designed.

A successful product manager requires being a team leader to make sure everyone completes their tasks for a successful launch.

Read More: Product Manager Sample Coverletter 

Product Management Objectives

The product management role is centered around meeting the long-term goals of an organization. In addition to the planning, development and execution, they define the product’s vision and create an executable strategy.

Product Vision

Product vision defines direction. It should capture what the product will achieve, along with any opportunities and threats. Vision is a part of the long-term goals of the company with clear, actionable steps.  

This should focus on the end-user. If there is something that does not fit with the customer, it should be thought about again. A strong product vision is supported by customer demographics and the go-to-market plan.

A product vision covers

  • The target audience
  • Customer needs
  • Product attributes
  • Competition

The product vision is the first step towards creating strategic goals and an aligned strategy for the product. 

Product Management Strategy 

Product strategy transforms the product vision into the product roadmap. A strategy describes how the product will allow the company to achieve the product vision and business goals. 

Product managers are responsible for building the strategy. A great strategy sets product managers apart. Without the coordination of several teams, a product strategy could quickly fail.

First, product strategy should focus on customer impact. Define who the market is and how the product will fit in the current market. This will help your team focus on what is important.

It’s important to understand any competition. The product strategy will need to differentiate from similar products on the market. Understanding what the competition is not delivering on allows for effective strategizing and discovery of opportunities that aren’t being taken advantage of. 

Next, consider how the product will profit the company. A product manager should explain how the product will help the market and meet business goals. 

Other factors such as economic, technological, political and cultural environments need to be considered. All of these factors impact the market the product will be entering. This allows product managers to think about emerging markets where there will be a demand for this product and how different technologies and economic factors are impacting your customers.  

While product managers have a challenging role, they are met with the reward of creating valuable products for consumers. Choosing a career in product management will allow you to be an agile employee making a direct impact on your company.  

Product management is an essential role in growing companies. It allows for the focus of business growth one project at a time. Depending on the company and resources available,  creating product development teams could launch business growth.

Building a great product that is adopted by customers is thrilling. Seeing an idea turn into a tangible solution is what drives a product manager and their team. This proves that product managers have one of the best jobs on earth.

Demand for product managers has grown in the last decade and is expected to continue. While currently there is not a degree path for product management, there are several educational certificates available. However, commonly those in a product management role hold an MBA or business degree.

Read More: Job Search Guide: Product Management and Software Engineering