Product Manager: Roles & Responsibilities
Product management has grown in popularity recently as businesses recognize the importance of developing products that meet customer needs and solve real-world problems. Product managers plan ahead of time and collaborate with cross-functional teams to oversee the entire product development process, from inception to building to launch and beyond.
Product managers need an in-depth knowledge of the market, customers, business, and data in order to strategize effectively. As a product manager, you define the product vision, and roadmap, conduct research, launch the product, and continuously refine the product. You work with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, and sales, to create a product that is unique, value-driven, and successful.
There are different types of product managers, including
- Product Owners,
- Growth Product Managers,
- Technical Product Managers, and
- Platform Product Managers.
Although their core responsibilities are the same, their roles differ in subtle ways. You will learn their distinct roles in this blog. The role of a product manager is complex, and your tasks and responsibilities overlap with other positions.
On a daily basis, PMs handle a multitude of tasks. As a PM, you conduct daily meetings with the product team to address their concerns and discuss the progress of the ongoing projects. You talk to the users to understand their pain points and how the product is performing. You analyze data, prioritize features using various metrics, and create roadmaps to constantly refine the product. You strive to make the product better by staying aligned with the company's goals.
This article will provide an in-depth insight into what do product managers do: roles and responsibilities of product managers. You will also understand what it takes to be a successful product manager. At the end of this article, you will find a few useful tips for aspiring product managers to help them succeed as product managers.
What is a Product Manager?
Product Managers oversee the product development process from its inception and ensure the growth and success of the product by collaborating with multiple stakeholders. PMs have a unique blend of technical skills, business savvy, and leadership ability to lead the way for the product team to craft the best product.
In order to be successful, it is imperative that the Product Manager understands the product's purpose, target market, and value proposition. PMs articulate and communicate the vision of the product to the development team. In this way, they empower the product team and facilitate product growth.
Product managers are often called the “CEO” of the product. However, as Marty Cagan has rightly mentioned in his book Inspired: ‘even though they are called CEOs, they are not a boss to anyone.’ PMs coordinate with cross-functional teams to ensure their efforts are aligned with the goals of the business and also cater to solving the real-life problems of customers.
According to Marty Cagan, a product manager’s four key responsibilities include the following:
Deep understanding of:
In other words, as a product manager, you should engage in extensive research to understand the marketing landscape, industry, customer requirements, and business viability to carefully strategize the product journey
The role of a product manager is complex, and many of their tasks and responsibilities overlap with other positions. Product managers have multiple roles and take care of various things like business cases, product roadmaps, communication with the business, decision makings, and so much more
Types of Product Managers
Product managers, as previously stated, are crucial to the success of any product. PMs are in high demand as more businesses recognize the value of product management.
The responsibilities of a product manager would differ amongst companies. Although all product managers and product teams do the same essential tasks, they slightly differ in terms of titles and job descriptions.
Here, we will be discussing five types of product managers and their major responsibilities. Read on to understand how they are different from each other.
PMs oversee the entire product lifecycle from ideation to launch. PMs define the product roadmap, conduct market research, launch the product and continuously refine the product. They work with cross-functional teams such as engineering, design, and sales to bring the product to market.
The product owner is responsible for defining the product backlog and prioritizing the features for the development team. The product owner serves as the customer's voice and guarantees that the development team yields value-driven products.
Growth Product Manager
A growth product manager is responsible to own up metrics like product revenue and user engagement. They identify opportunities for customer acquisition, retention, and upselling.
Technical Product Manager
They have a strong technical background. Technical product managers primarily work with the development team to curate products that fulfill user requirements.
Platform Product Manager
A platform product manager handles a platform that caters to different customers or products. They determine the roadmap for the platform, manage interactions with partners and clients, and guarantee the platform's scalability and security.
Responsibilities of a Product Manager
The stage of the firm has an impact on the roles and responsibilities of a PM. While mature companies have more defined PM roles, startups typically expect PMs to be in charge of "everything." Before accepting a PM position, it is recommended Product Managers study the company's philosophy, culture, and requirements to make sure they are a company fit. Let us dive into the next section to understand what do product managers do.
Day-to-Day tasks of a Product Manager with the Product Team
The role of a PM demands a unique combination of technical knowledge, creativity, and business acumen. It is pretty obvious that each day is distinct for PMs. You are responsible for a vast array of tasks, and handling them all can be challenging. The following section will help you understand what do product manager do on a day-to-day basis.
- Daily Standups
- PMs conduct regular meetings with the product team to analyze and understand the progress of ongoing projects.
- This helps them to address their concerns and to ensure the goals are met on time.
- Conduct Customer Interviews
- Conducting customer interviews helps them understand user requirements.
- This assists them in understanding the value that the customer receives from the product.
- Additionally, it aids in the refinement of products according to the needs of the users.
- PMs frequently get ideas from their peers and constantly search for fresh and innovative approaches to product development.
- The improvement of the development process is facilitated by having effective communication with various stakeholders both inside and outside the firm.
- They motivate their team to go beyond their comfort zone by conceiving innovative ideas backed by compelling evidence.
- Roadmapping Planning
- Defining roadmaps allow every stakeholder to be on the same page regarding product development and management process.
- It ensures transparency in the product journey and keeps everyone informed and aligned toward achieving the larger goal.
Curating a roadmap can be challenging. This is why software like Zeda.io is there to be a companion for PMs like you to create comprehensive roadmaps effortlessly.
- Data Analysis
- PMs have to analyze qualitative and quantitative data to measure the product's success and scalability.
- Data helps them prioritize feature requests and also to identify areas of improvement.
- In short, data analysis would help them to define success metrics.
- Framing PRD
- You have to develop PRD on a daily or weekly basis.
- A PRD has information on the product’s purpose, requirements, and user stories.
- PRD is important to keep the team focused on attaining the common goal.
You may leverage Zeda.io's features to increase productivity and handle all your PM duties successfully. This one-stop solution includes tools for gathering feedback, segmenting feedback, prioritizing features, creating roadmaps, setting goals, etc. You can streamline your tasks and level up your product game with Zeda.io.
Cross functional Responsibilities of a Product Manager
Product managers are responsible for creating products with customer and business value. Therefore, a PM is constantly in collaboration with customers, the product team, and key stakeholders of the company. As a PM, you should be able to find a balance between the needs of the customer and that of the company stakeholders.
You are the facilitator of a cross-functional product group made up of experts from various divisions, including engineering, product marketing, design, customer service, finance, legal, marketing, program and project management, sales, and support. For the delivery of the entire product experience, close collaboration with each of these areas is essential.
This section will help you understand how this cross-functionality works.
PMs work closely with the engineering team to develop and improve the product development process. By converting business requirements into technical specifications, they ensure that the developer team meets the company's objectives.
They work with the financial team to track metrics and maximize business growth to fulfill your responsibilities. They track all the expenditures and revenue that are involved in the business. Also, often, they work with them to decide on the pricing of the product.
PMs collaborate with the sales team to ensure that the product meets the needs of the customer, is competitive in the market, and meets revenue targets. They work together on customer feedback, market insights, sales enablement, revenue targets, and marketing strategies.
- Customer Support
They work together to collect feedback from customers and identify and resolve issues. They collaborate to ensure customer retention and satisfaction.
The legal team ensures that the product complies with relevant regulations, is protected by intellectual property laws, and that contracts and agreements are in place to support the product's development and ongoing management.
Product managers devise strategies for positioning the product in the market. Also, PM works with marketing teams for the management of product releases.
- Project Management
The project management team collaborates with PMs to ensure that their initiatives are delivered on time and within budget.
Skills, Traits, and Qualifications of a Product Manager
A product manager ought to have certain product management skills, traits, and qualities to drive the growth and success of the product.
Let us look at a few skills that a PM needs:
Strong Communication Skills
As a PM, you must communicate effectively with numerous internal and external stakeholders. You should be able to influence others, empower your team, and navigate situations using your communication skills.
Product Managers need to be able to articulate clearly the business case of a given initiative or feature so the product team understands why they building it.
It is important that you have problem-solving skills as a PM because you would have to solve the issues of your team. You should be able to tactically surpass any challenges that come your way.
Product Managers should have the superpower to deal with problems and make informed decisions.
Leadership skills help collaborate with cross-functional teams and make sure that everyone is focused on the same objectives and moving in the same direction.
It aids Product Managers in keeping the Product team motivated to perform better and empowers them to take ownership of their work.
Although having a technical background is optional for a PM, it can be useful in understanding the product and the development process through a technical lens. Also, technical know-how would help you communicate better with the development team.
You must thoroughly understand the market and target audience to ensure that the product meets their needs.
With this knowledge, Product Managers can devise ground-breaking strategies to differentiate themselves in the market and create a product that customers value.
Data analysis is a major skill that a product manager has to master. You have to sift through loads of data; hence, Product Managers must be able to independently analyze it effectively and pull the most out of it.
You need to be creative and think outside the box to develop innovative solutions to problems.
Creativity is essential to differentiate your brand, product, or service from your competitors.
You must be able to adjust your approach and adapt rapidly because the nature of your job is dynamic.
The job of a PM can be challenging; you have to brace yourself up to face challenges to learn, evolve and thrive.
How to Succeed as a Product Manager?
The success of any product manager relates to the success of the product they are working for. Here are some factors that a product manager needs to keep in mind to be successful.
Understand Company Goals
You must align the product vision with the overarching business objectives in order to ensure the product's success.
This helps a Product Manager stay on task and prevents from straying from the business goals and outlook.
Build Strong Relationships
As a PM, you must constantly interact with multiple stakeholders for improved productivity and efficiency. It is you who transforms your team's vision into reality and paves the way for product growth.
Hence, Product Managers have to build strong relationships with stakeholders and cross-functional teams to ensure that everyone is aligned and working together.
Ultimately, the goal of any product is to create viable features that customers will find valuable. You need to be customer-focused and make decisions based on customer needs and customer feedback. This ensures customer satisfaction and thereby increases the customer retention rate.
Strive for Perfection
To work effectively, you must stay on top of changing trends and keep upskilling yourself. Persevere to create something above the ordinary for your customers, and shouldn’t settle for anything other than the best.
Tips for Aspiring Product Managers
- Acquire Relevant Experience: In order to lay a solid career foundation, acquire experience in product management, marketing, or a related industry through internships and working on different projects.
- Gain Relevant Knowledge: You can attend several courses that are available online to learn well around about product management. Moreover, it is also important to learn the language of computing and the language of business.
- Establish a Strong Network: To keep abreast of the most recent trends and advancements, establish a solid network of people in the product management sector and go to industry events.
- Learn from Mentors: Seek guidance and mentorship of seasoned product managers and benefit from their knowledge and experiences.
- Develop Strong Communication Skills: To effectively communicate with stakeholders and cross-functional teams, develop strong communication skills..
- Emotional Intelligence- EQ enables you to put yourself in the shoes of your customers, understand their emotions and motivations, and create products that meet their needs. PMs benefit from high EQ when it comes to communicating effectively, building strong relationships, and resolving conflicts.
Long story short, product managers play a critical role in developing, planning, and marketing a product.
They oversee cross-functional teams, conduct market and user research, and are in charge of the product's success.
Product managers need to be effective communicators, strategic thinkers, experts in their fields, and capable leaders.
In order to be a successful PM, one has to have an in-depth knowledge of the market, business, customer, and data. Moreover, they should know the product inside out to guide the product team to conceive the best output that aligns with the business objectives.
Managing a multitude of tasks at the same time can be chaotic for a product manager. However, Zeda.io is there for your rescue as it brings order to chaos.
Zeda.io makes it easy to track customer feedback, prioritize problems, figure out solutions, define PRDs, manage capacity, and publish release notes. Zeda.io does all of these and more while keeping all the stakeholders in the loop. What more do you need? Level up your product game now with Zeda.io
Table of content
Should PMs know how to code?
It is not essential for a product manager to know how to code. However, learning the coding language would help them collaborate better with the developer team.
How to become a PM with an MBA?
Even though an MBA would give you a perspective on how businesses work, it is optional to have an MBA to be a product manager.In order to shine as a PM, you need to have a deep understanding of the market, business, customer, and data.
What are the four critical skills of a product manager?
Problem-Solving, strategic thinking, communication, and leadership are the four critical skills necessary for a product manager. It's critical to acquire appropriate expertise, develop a strong network, seek out mentors, and maintain a customer-focused attitude if you want to become a product manager.
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