In today’s dynamic job market, where career choices often lead to crossroads, one path that stands out with unparalleled growth, demand, and rewards is Product Management.
However, this surge in interest is a relatively recent phenomenon. Just 15 years ago, this field was relatively unknown, and only a handful of multinational corporations recognized its significance. However, the Indian IT ecosystem’s potential to create products with a global impact has ignited the demand for professionals with product management skills and expertise.
This blog explores the compelling reasons why choosing a career in product management can be your ticket to a fulfilling and prosperous professional journey.
Product management is currently a captivating field, the reasons for which include:
1. Fastest-growing career: It stands out as one of the most rapidly growing career trajectories, not only in India but also in the United States and Europe. Recent LinkedIn reports on hiring trends related to product management in India provide substantial evidence of this growth.
2. Extensive Demand: Approximately 60% of companies are actively seeking one or more product managers, a promising indicator of the growing recognition of the role’s value. This acknowledgment extends beyond the service industry to encompass organizations developing technology products and other offerings for a broad customer base. Moreover, even during economically challenging times, companies continue to actively recruit for various product management roles, which is a testament to the path’s resilience and opportunity for advancement.
3. High-paying roles: The remuneration associated with these roles is truly remarkable. The salary growth is not linear; it experiences a significant leap, particularly at the senior product manager level and beyond. When considering the mean and median pay in Indian rupees per annum, the disparity is evident. Some technology companies, especially those led by Chief Product Officers, offer average salaries exceeding three crore, marking a distinct outlier.
4. Higher-promotion Odds: Product managers enjoy a 150% greater likelihood of promotion compared to other roles, underscoring the rapid growth and excitement surrounding this profession within the industry.
Hence, now you probably have a comprehensive grasp of the career trajectory and potential for growth in Product Management. Moving forward, gaining insight into the essential roles and responsibilities shouldered by professionals in this field is crucial for initiating a successful career in Product Management.
When you inquire about the roles and responsibilities of a product manager or product manager job description even from a current PM, the typical response includes a list of activities and the requisite skill sets to perform those activities. These encompass tasks like competitive analysis, user research, requirements management, collaboration with designers on product design, market analysis, packaging, pricing, and more. However, it’s essential to recognize that these activities and skills can be acquired through various channels, such as reading blogs, watching videos, or engaging in discussions with experienced professionals.
Here you will come across a distinctive perspective for understanding the product manager roles and responsibilities, different from the ordinary one. But before delving into that, let’s establish a foundational understanding of what product management entails. Often, jargon and terminology are employed to sound sophisticated, but the definition is quite straightforward.
“Product management is, in essence, the art and science of identifying market opportunities and guiding teams in the development of compelling, competitive, and profitable products.”
Product management encompasses a blend of competencies, including people skills, negotiation, influence, and strategic thinking, alongside core product-related expertise. The primary objective of product management is to unearth market needs, pinpoint problems that need resolution, and identify pain points and challenges. It’s important to clarify that product managers are not problem solvers; they are problem managers. Their duty is to refrain from jumping to solutions before identifying the underlying opportunities to address and tackle challenges.
The Product Manager is not the CEO of the product:
The popular saying that a product manager is the ‘CEO of the product’ is a common cliche that doesn’t entirely hold true. The product manager’s core responsibility is to steer multiple teams toward the creation of compelling, competitive, and potentially profitable products, although profitability can vary depending on the organization’s goals.
The master orchestrator of the productizing process:
A useful analogy to understand product management is that of an orchestra conductor. Much like a conductor orchestrates a group of musicians with different instruments to create harmonious music, a product manager orchestrates cross-functional teams within an organization. These teams include engineering, testing, project and program management, design, sales, marketing, partnerships, customers, and leadership. While the product manager may not be an expert in any one domain, their role is to ensure all these diverse elements collaborate cohesively to drive the productization process. This comparison underscores the essence of a product manager’s role as a master orchestrator of the product development process.
The three central responsibilities of a product manager include:
1. Building the right product + building the product right: A fundamental responsibility of a product manager is not only ensuring the product is built correctly but, more crucially, that it’s the right product. This entails understanding and addressing customer problems, pain points, and challenges. Evaluating the realness, urgency, and scope of these issues is essential. Collaborating with cross-functional teams, product managers follow iterative and incremental development methodologies to create a product that aligns with customer needs.
a. Customer Insights latching on to “Known Pains” MVP: Key aspects of this role include garnering customer insights, identifying pain points, assessing their urgency and prevalence, and conducting experiments to validate assumptions made during the product development journey.
2. Finding the right champions: Especially in larger organizations, product managers must identify and nurture advocates for their initiatives. Despite being individual contributors until they reach a director-level position, product managers need to collaborate with multiple stakeholders. By identifying and fostering champions, they can secure support and buy-in from executives, sales teams, customer support, engineering, and other departments.
3. Compelling business plan: Product managers often find themselves in the position of justifying their decisions to stakeholders and leadership teams. This might involve advocating for new features or products due to identified needs or presenting a case to discontinue underperforming solutions. These decisions are challenging, and they must align with the organization’s objectives, encompassing business goals, profitability, revenue generation, and strategic outcomes.
Product management is experiencing unprecedented growth due to its extensive demand in various industries as companies globally are recognizing the value of skilled product managers.
Product managers are not just problem solvers; they are problem managers. Their core responsibilities include understanding market needs, identifying genuine problems, assessing their urgency, and collaborating with cross-functional teams.
While the popular notion is that a product manager is the ‘CEO of the product,’ unlike a CEO, their focus is on collaborative orchestration rather than individual decision-making.
Apart from technical skills, aspiring product managers should focus on developing competencies like people skills, negotiation, influence, and strategic thinking.
A compelling business plan is crucial for product managers as it justifies their decisions to stakeholders and leadership teams. It involves advocating for new features or products based on identified needs and presenting a case to discontinue underperforming solutions.
Institute of Product Leadership is Asia’s First Business School providing accredited degree programs and certification courses exclusively in Product Management, Strategy, and Leadership.
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