During the last years, the product manager role became one of the most popular jobs, especially in startups and tech-based companies. Generally, product managers (PM) try to explore what consumers need, and more importantly, how the product or product lines of the company can solve the customers’ issues. To reach this goal, a product manager does lots of activities, from study user’s behaviors to working on marketing plans development. In this article, we will pinpoint some of the most notable aspects of the product manager role and what they do in companies.
Product manager basic responsibilities
A product manager considered to be an expert role in a business that is responsible for the development of products. While commonly good PMs should have abilities to design strategists, which can increase sales rate, they should also be able to improve stakeholders’ engagement and satisfaction. Here are some essential responsibilities for a product manager role, which are:
- Determining the properties and requirements which are necessary for delivering a product to market
- Working with technical team and engineers to create what matters for customers and products that can increase profits for the company
- Defining deadlines, release dates and milestones
- Exploring and managing dependencies and essential characteristics of products
- Working on marketing plans and blueprints
What does a product manager do for customers
Although a successful product is a proper answer for customers’ needs, however listening to the customers’ voices and preparing an excellent supporting plan is also necessary to achieve an excellent sale rate. In this section, we talk about some of the most critical tasks of a product manager, which are directly related to the customers.
- Working on Voice of the Customer Plan
Voice of the customer (VOC) is an excellent source of data in the product development life cycle. Analyzed information from the VOC helps the product managers to improve their plans based on what customers want and need.
- Researching new opportunities for creating unique products
Being familiar with the voice of the customer helps the product manager to explore hidden aspects of the users’ concerns, which may be even they are not aware of. Holding meetings, workshops, and interviews are some of the most common techniques to understand users’ concerns and difficulties.
Different types of product manager
Based on what has been discussed above the primary role of a product manager in a company is like the middle interaction layer between the market (customer and final users) and the company (all the staff who work for producing a product). While the main task of a product manager is to increase the sales rate, however, we can categorize this role into the two below types:
- Lightweight product manager
Usually, in small companies and startups which try to introduce new products, product managers can be considered as lightweight product managers. The term points to the authority level and limitation of the PM in these types of businesses. The lightweight product managers work on plans and strategies for commercial activities, developing product lines, etc.; however, they are not responsible for the whole achievements and failures in the product line.
- Heavy product manager
In contrast to the lightweight product managers, heavy product managers can make significant decisions and affect the marketing and production strategies. Heavy product managers have all the lightweight product managers’ authority, and they can lead or direct other teams. Heavy product managers have close relationships with the CEO, CTO, and all the other stakeholders to improve product line achievements and to prevent possible failures.
Product manager Vs. Marketing manager
As mentioned before, one of the product manager’s responsibilities is working on marketing plans; however, companies have another vital role in their organizational chart, which is the marketing manager (Product Marketing Manager). Product Marketing Manager is also responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies for increasing sales rates. To clarify the differences between these two roles, lets first emphasize, these kinds of different management roles usually can be meaningful in large companies, especially the B2B ones. Product Manager (PM) plane the main product roadmap; however, on the other hand, PMM tries to implement the marketing plans for products by using methods and models such as marketing mix (4Ps – Product, Price, Place & Promotion). In the end, it had to be mention that there are some overlaps between Product Marketing and Product Marketing Manager.
Top skills you need to become a flourishing product manager:
As a product manager, it is essential to be completely aware of your key responsibilities and the primary skills you need to do your tasks well.
- Design your roadmap process clearly and explain the priorities
Do not be dependent on only one solution for problems. Analyze the problem from different aspects. Find different solutions, evaluate them based on their pros and cons, and make prioritized lists. Be prepared to explain your goals and support your decisions for stakeholders. Why you chose Plan A and avoided plan B, why not plan C?
- Welcome new ideas; however, do not be a yes-man.
As a product manager, you have some high-rank managers that may aks you to add some new features or change the plans. While talking with people about their new ideas can help improve your knowledge and become more dominant about the problem; however, there is a significant risk, which completely ruins your time tables and deadlines. The best way to overcome these kinds of challenges is to explain your methodologies and schedules logically, not only by making excuses or put lots of emotion in the communications. New features can be listed to study more in detail and add to the product on the next proper phase or release time.
So as a product manager, try to develop your skill of how to say no.
How to be a successful product manager
To be known as an effective and successful in every field, you need to improve some of your characteristics based on the position. The situation is not different if you want to become a successful product manager. In the following paragraphs, we talk about the general characteristics of a successful product manager.
Maybe the first and an essential personality trait for powerful product managers is the ability to lead their team. Moving consonantly toward a goal of producing a well-off product is not easy at all. A proficient leader can manage a team and assign tasks while keeping the group motivated and cohesive.
As mentioned before, determining the requirements and setting deadlines are some of the primary responsibilities of a product manager is. It is evident that a product manager has to be familiar with estimating the parameters. This ability is highly related to statistics and other mathematical topics for evaluating progress.
Popular tools of products managers
As a consequence of technological achievements in recent years, nowadays, product managers have lots of choices in using different software for managing and monitoring their tasks, team, and progress. The following paragraphs include some of the most popular tools of product managers.
Before talking about the Scrum, it is necessary to crystallize one of the most common development approaches, which is so prevalent, especially in software development. In software development literature, the Agile approach is an iterative strategy, which is based on making the final product step by step by considering user’s feedback instead of delivering the final version to the customer without any pre or beta versions.
By considering the Agile approach, Scrum is a lightweight, Agile framework for producing and managing products. Scrum emphasizes teamwork and delivering MVP (Minimum Viable Product). An MVP is an initial version of a final product which have just enough features to satisfy primary requirements. The fundamental strategy in Scrum is breaking the time you need to release the final product into the Sprints. Each Sprint is a timeboxed iteration that is most commonly two weeks and is no longer than one month.
A Product manager can efficiently organize and prioritize the tasks for the development team by using the Scrum features and options. If you want to become more familiar with Scrum, check the below website: scrum.org
Trello is a proper solution for monitoring and, more critical, measuring the progress. As Drucker said: “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Trello helps product managers instead of using a big board in their office, track workflows by a helpful Kanban-style list-making application in their mobile or computer.
In this article, we discussed the product manager role and what a product manager does. To clarify the topic, some of the most related and noticeable subjects such as product manager responsibilities, skills you need to become a successful PM, etc.were also explained.