Have you ever wondered how products come to be? Do you have ideas for production management that you want to use in a career? Your starting place is here, where you will learn about what a product manager does. And if we pique your interest — there’s more knowledge to be had! Your next step is a business degree online.
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.”
A product manager’s job is often referred to as project management or product marketing. For instance, Microsoft refers to a product manager as a project manager.
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 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 — which is where an online business degree can really come in handy for a product manager.
- 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 and Education
The average salary for product managers is $94,442, according to Glassdoor. Although only a bachelor’s degree is required, a master’s is favored. A business degree online is a great way to further your education without pausing your career, and it could be just what you need to boost your resume and stand out among other applicants.
Becoming a Product Manager with a Business Degree Online
Product managers need a wide range of knowledge and skills to thrive in organizations. Grace College’s Master of Business degree online is constructed with an intentional applied emphasis. Consistent with learning-by-doing, course assignments allow students to use course concepts in their current employment setting. This allows students to quickly develop an initial proficiency with the concepts being covered. It also allows students to demonstrate to their employers the value-added nature of the program.
Learn more about Grace College’s Master of Business degree online.