As organizations battle to become agile with the changing workplace scenarios, product management has never been in so much demand. But with this rising demand, the true definition of product management is getting lost. Too vague to understand.
We understand that product management (and product managers at large) is dynamic. Therefore, we put together this blog. After conducting in-depth research combined with industry expertise, here is everything you need to know about product management. We aim to clear the confusion around what product management is, and the skillsets required, their importance and the different types.
Keep scrolling to learn more.
According to Wikipedia, Product Management is “an organizational function within a company dealing with new product development, business justification, planning, verification, forecasting, pricing, product launch, and marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.”
To put it simply- product management is the organizational function that guides every step of a product’s lifecycle, including developing, positioning, pricing, understanding the need of the product, and ultimately creating a sustainable and profitable product. It is the amalgamation of providing what the customer needs, creating profit for the company, and adopting the latest technology.
Over the last few years, product management as a function has grown exponentially. In August 2020, 698,945 individuals listed their profiles as product managers. In 2014, the number was 146,333. This indicates that the number of product managers has grown by half a million in six years.
As dynamic as it is, product management is growing as a job role. Organizations realize the need for product management. 60.3% of executive leaders now understand the value of product managers and product management as a whole. In the next few years, this number is speculated to increase further.
When understanding what product management comprises, it can be segregated into three broad categories, with each composing two questions. These are:
A product manager will try to answer these questions. Once they come up with satisfying answers, they can develop the product.
Building your product management skillset should go beyond just knowing about the product. Product management is a vital role that sits at the junction of multiple functions. Having just the technical know-how will not suffice if you are looking to succeed as a product manager. So, what kind of skill sets are we looking at? Here are a few:
Have a way around with words: Product managers should be excellent orators. Communication, be it written or spoken, has to be on-point. Since product managers are tasked with explaining the product, they will find achieving their daily targets strenuous without solid communication qualities.
Understand the customers: Talking to customers and understanding their feedback is a significant part of product management. It is simple; customer loyalty is the key to growth. Therefore, to ensure that the product is performing well, talking to the customers is critical.
Know how to sell: You might have the vision of a perfect product, but you need to convince others of the same. As a product manager, you need to sell your ideas, especially engineers. Successfully pitching your ideas requires a combination of enthusiastic evangelism, inspirational storytelling, and authentic empathy. Be an excellent seller if you want to be a successful product manager.
Be a leader: A successful product manager needs to have strong interpersonal and leadership skills to succeed. Product management isn’t just about being a taskmaster, though. It is about empowering others by helping them understand their strengths and weaknesses. It is about keeping everyone motivated to work towards the same goal.
Have industry insights: A core product management skill is to know the industry trends and latest insights. Product managers should set and track critical KPIs, such as customer acquisition costs, daily active users, Net Promoter Score, custom satisfaction, customer lifetime value, and customer conversion rate. This will help them develop profitable products.
There are different product management archetypes. We have explored some of these in this section. Keep reading to find out more.
A Technical Product Manager is the one who was once a developer before shifting to products. And this person was not only just a developer, but they were also the best developer the organization had. Since they understand what can be developed and delivered fast, they know the pulse of a product’s lifecycle.
The Technical Product Manager is an asset to the product management team. What they lack in strategic insights and marketing aptitude, they make it up with their strong technical knowledge and ability to maximize the development team’s output.
Technical Product Managers are most often found in companies like Amazon (AWS), Google, and Microsoft.
Though almost similar to the Technical Product Manager, an Analytic Product Manager comes from a data science background. In short, they were an analyst before transitioning to the product management team. Again, not just any analyst, but the strongest analyst the company had.
These people are not only experts in SQL, Python, or Multivariate Testing, but they also understand the power of their recommendation to influence any business decision. The Analytic Product Manager is usually the most informed in the product management team due to their immense love for data.
Analytic Product Managers can be found in companies like Palantir, Lookout, and Plaid.
The Marketing Product Manager understands the customers like no one else. They recognize their customer’s goals, personas, and purchase motivations. Often, Marketing Product Managers have backgrounds in advertising, PR, or other marketing areas. This allows them to analyze and understand the selling points of a product well. It’s evident to the MPM which features will sell a product and which ones are irrelevant to most users. It is their marketing cognizant that plays to their strengths.
The Marketing Product Manager is an essential member of the product management team. They are the most valuable during the launch cycle of a new product in the market. They can help with branding, pricing, and targeting in a way that no other product manager can.
These product managers are found in companies like Intercom, Allbirds, and Hubspot.
Over the last few years, product management as a department has grown exponentially. Here are a few reasons that make product management essential for organizations.
Product management helps in determining the ever-changing preferences of customers. Product managers interact with customers regularly. They even help to find new ones. The product managers know about the customers’ pain points first and can provide valuable insights to the tech team about upcoming products. Their involvement with the customers and their understanding of the preferences enable them to provide timely feedback to the development team about existing or new products. This, in turn, helps develop product features with increased customer satisfaction.
In this hypercompetitive market, it is critical to have a proper strategy for the product’s success. Without an effective marketing strategy, even the right product can fail. Product managers understand customer preferences and take feedback from the sales team, scattered across various geographies. This allows them to devise adequate strategies for product placement, further ensuring success. They can also be helpful in planning and creating a suitable business model for getting a good ROI for a product.
Software products have a shorter shelf life. Therefore, companies must have a clear roadmap to staying relevant in the long run. Product management aligns perfectly with this objective as product managers help the management devise a clear blueprint for the product. From development to distribution, product managers can help organizations allocate funds to a product’s lifecycle appropriately.
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