What is the role of a product manager?
August 22, 2018
August 22, 2018
The product management role in an organization can be unclear at times as many small business product teams have a resource that does the responsibilities of a product manager but are called something different. Ultimately, if you have a product that is being developed and moved forward, someone needs to be driving the ship and typically starts out as the founders of a business, then it transitions to a product manager and from there can grow into chief product officers with many product managers collaborating together.
So with that said, what is the role of a product manager any ways?
Product managers are responsible for the growth of the business and using the product team and resources to add the changes and updates needed to fuel growth. The main deliverable of a product manager is a product roadmap that defines the key deliverables for the product over the course of time. The product roadmap, should be developed by working with customers to understand the pain points they are experiencing, reviewing and analyzing product data such as key metrics on conversion, adoption and churn and meeting with the overall team to ensure that all features needed to build a better product are identified and then prioritized accordingly.
Typically, product managers are stand alone roles with no direct reports but instead coordinate resources across the organization to accomplish the vision. To do this, product managers need to work with the teams to achieve buy in on their product roadmap and approach to product management to ensure they are able to complete the vision and keep the team motivated. Product managers while having the final say on the features included in the product roadmap ultimately work for the product owner and needs to be able to constantly sell their ideas to the product owner on expected results of the plan. Achieving buy in on the plan and then from there working to constantly communicate with the team about changes to the roadmap, keeping everyone on the same page with priorities and working with users to close feedback loops as features are released.
A common misunderstanding in the role of a product manager is that it is all about the software or feature development lifecyle. The software or feature development lifecycle is only a small part of the product managers role where they work to define the specific scope of a release and work on the operational tasks required to implement a feature. The hard work and most important work of a product manager is the research part of product planning which includes customer outreaches for user interviews and feedback loops to constantly keep an understanding of the industry and customer needs. Additionally, competitor analysis on what is being offered in their space and how to stay above and beyond what is out there. Product planning and methodically approaching product roadmap development should take up the lion share of the product manager time with the actual day to day work of running a release within a roadmap more of an advisor or guidance since the teams at work do not report directly to the product manager.
Ultimately, if you are wondering what is the role of the product manager is comes down to a simple concept. The product manager needs to grow the business using the product. To do that can take a number of different paths based on the type of product and industry but ultimately that is what they are on the hook for and how they will be viewed when it comes to defining if a product manager was successful or not.