Posted In: Business News
Each member of a product team helps an organization design, build, test and market the product effectively. However, “there is one role that is absolutely crucial to producing a good product, yet it is often the most misunderstood and underutilized of all the roles,” according to the Silicon Valley Product Group. “This is the role of the product manager.”
Some of the confusion is due to how a product manager is referred to other names or lumped in with other roles, such as project management or product marketing. For instance, Microsoft refers to a product manager as a project manager. The company has a product manager role that most people would refer to as product marketing.
Product Manager Job Description
A product manager is essentially the “CEO of their product and is responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for that product or product line,” according to product management tools and road mapping software firm Aha!
The role spans various strategic and tactical activities. A product manager establishes a differentiated product vision that delivers unique value. Additionally, a product manager works with cross-functional teams to engage in marketing, forecasting and profit and loss projects. Leadership is provided between groups in engineering, marketing, sales and support.
Product Manager Responsibilities
The Silicon Valley Product Group outlines the following sets of responsibilities for a product manager.
- Identifying and Assessing Opportunities: Evaluate product ideas and decide which ideas are worth pursuing. This involves considering product ideas from customers, competitors’ customers, industry analysts, the company’s executives, the sales and marketing staff, the product development team and more.
- Right Product/Right Time: The goal is to define the right product at the right time; the product needs to have the right features for the right market, and it needs to be able to be executed with the technology available in the required market window. Product management combines a deep understanding of the target customer’s needs and desires with the capabilities of the organization’s engineering team and the technology it has to work with. The result is a product that is compelling and achievable.
- Product Strategy and Roadmap: Oversee product strategy and the steps that will get the product through each release/version. A product manager helps the engineering team understand the course a product will take and helps the sales and marketing team communicate the vision of the product to customers and industry analysts.
- Managing Product, Not People: The product manager is not responsible for managing others. Doing so would add an unpractical responsibility to this role. It would also take away the natural system of checks and balances, as product managers can have healthy debates with engineers, testers, designers and marketers. Instead, the role is about leading the extended product team. The focus is on developing and maintaining strong relationships.
- Representing Product Internally: The product manager acts as the evangelist for the product. Internally, this role should obtain buy-in from executive management, help sales and marketing understand the product and represent the target customer in the final product. Neglecting these opportunities can result in the project getting cancelled, losing resources or not getting the support every product needs to succeed.
Product Manager Salary
The median salary for product managers is $103,124, according to Glassdoor.
Becoming a Product Manager
Product managers need a wide range of knowledge and skills to thrive in organizations. Grace College’s fully online Master of Business Administration provides students with a strong foundation in marketing, accounting, finance and human resources as well as coursework in entrepreneurship. This faith-based program can help graduates pursue leadership opportunities in business, and it takes place in a convenient online learning environment.