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How to Move into Leading Product Management Roles

By SaiSatish Vedam – Ex- Senior Director of Product Management, Oracle

In the ever-evolving landscape of careers, certain roles tend to gain higher prominence because of their strategic impact and the skill sets they demand. In India, these highly demanded career paths include product management, design, and data. Each of these careers offers unique roles and responsibilities, attracting individuals who are curious about the field, excited about making an impact within organizations, and interested in transitioning into these roles. The increasing number of job openings alone highlights the growing demand for professionals in these fields. 

This particular blog will delve into one of those sought-after careers, product management, exploring its growing popularity, the shortage of skilled professionals, and the key responsibilities involved. Whether you are curious about product management or considering transitioning into this role, this article will provide you with valuable insights.

Key Takeaways:

  • Product management is a highly demanded career path in India, with a shortage of skilled professionals compared to countries like the United States.
  • This blog explores the reasons behind the growing demand of Product Managers, and why a large number of individuals are transitioning into Product Management. 
  • Here we will also delve into the compelling reasons to pursue product management, and 3 key responsibilities that product managers should shoulder.
  • Career progression in product management involves developing a comprehensive understanding of various business functions and honing core competencies. 
In this article
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    The Growing Demand for Product Managers

    Product management has become a highly sought-after career path in India since the need for skilled product managers has intensified with companies striving to develop both local and global solutions. A quick LinkedIn search revealed a large number of open job positions in product management, reaching around 43,000, showcasing the demand and opportunity. Other reputable job search platforms such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Dice also provide insights into the job market for product management. 

    Furthermore, reports from research firms like Gartner, Forrester, and McKinsey can also validate the significance of the demand for product managers. They highlight the growing importance of product management in organizations and the need for skilled professionals to fill these roles. Furthermore, this demand is expected to increase manifolds in the near future, indicating significant growth prospects for aspiring product managers.

    India, renowned for its booming IT ecosystem, has always focused on delivery and execution roles, with an emphasis on engineering, development, quality assurance, project management, and program management. Consequently, many professionals from IT backgrounds naturally make a transition to product management roles. However, despite the increasing number of product managers in India, there is still a shortage compared to countries like the United States, which boasts around 1.8 to 1.9 million product managers across various industries. With numerous companies in India building products to solve both local and global problems, the demand for product managers continues to grow, leading to a surge in hiring.

    Transitioning into Product Management

    One interesting trend related to transition is the background from which most of the product managers move. In India, individuals often move from engineering roles, given the country’s focus on delivery and execution in the IT ecosystem. Other common backgrounds include transitioning from business analyst positions or design-related roles. These backgrounds provide a strong foundation for individuals looking to venture into product life cycle management and leverage their existing skills and domain knowledge into the arena.

    Compelling Reasons to Pursue Product Management

    The allure of product and brand management extends beyond its growing demand. One compelling reason that draws many professionals to pursue this career path is the high compensation levels associated with the role. Product management is one of the most strategic positions in an organization creating a significant impact on a business. Product managers contribute to revenue generation by driving the creation and launch of new products in the market and acquiring customers., with significant room for growth.

    3 Key Responsibilities of Product Managers

    Product manager roles shoulder three primary responsibilities.

    a. Focus on building and delivering exceptional products or solutions:

    Product managers must ensure that the products developed cater to the requirements and preferences of customers. They must also ensure that the products are developed and delivered to the market in the most effective manner to bring the best possible outcome for the organization. 

    b. Find the right key stakeholders for the product:

    Product managers must collaborate, influence them, and gain their support for their product vision. This involves making a compelling case and plans for their ideas that not only highlight the product and its problems but also showcase the value it brings to various stakeholders. Furthermore, leading an effective team that drives common objectives and effective results. This skill becomes increasingly crucial as one progresses in product management roles.

    c. Excel at tactical problem-solving:

    Product managers must address everyday product development activities with prioritizing design, technological, or customer-related issues that arise. They oversee the day-to-day activities of product development, ensuring smooth product development processes.

    Career Progression and Skill Development

    Product management is the career path that offers professionals a 360-degree view of the business. Since this role requires close collaboration with cross-functional leaders from various departments such as engineering, design, marketing, and sales. This also necessitates a comprehensive understanding of several different areas and functions, enabling effective communication, decision-making, and success.

    The second archetype in product management is the organizer persona. This persona focuses on analysis and organization, making it an ideal entry point for aspiring product managers. The progression toward becoming an effective product manager involves gradually transitioning to the right side of the skill spectrum, involving factors such as years of experience and background knowledge. A comprehensive understanding of various business models, market opportunities, and strategic decision-making becomes essential as product managers work closely with cross-functional teams and business leaders.

    Essential Competencies for Product Managers

    To thrive in product management, individuals need to develop a set of core competencies. These include customer research and empathy, market analysis, strategic decision-making, revenue modeling, and business innovation. Additionally, strong communication and leadership skills are vital for influencing stakeholders and leading cross-functional teams. While the list of competencies may seem extensive, aspiring product managers can start by focusing on key areas such as customer insights, market research, and building a foundation in product strategy.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in product management by actively participating in industry events, attending conferences, joining professional associations, following influential blogs and publications, and engaging in online communities and forums.

    Common challenges when aiming for leading product management roles include balancing competing priorities, managing stakeholder expectations, driving cross-functional collaboration, adapting to rapidly changing markets, and continually evolving one’s leadership and strategic skills.

    Effective strategies for networking in product management include attending industry events and meetups, joining professional associations and online communities, leveraging social media platforms, seeking mentorship opportunities, and actively engaging with peers and thought leaders in the field.

    About the Author

    SaiSatish Vedam – Ex- Senior Director of Product Management, Oracle

    A Product Leader with extensive experience in building & bringing disruptive technology products to the market, He has worn many hats during his career as a programmer, designer, architect, analyst, manager, mentor, and strategist in large corporations. 

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