So you want to be a Product Manager? I got your back!
Right. Let’s start. You’ve always wanted a career in tech but you’re not particularly interested/ don’t have the luxury of time to learn software engineering and development. You just know you want to do something different and you’ve heard of many roles they do not involve “coding”. Product Management is one of those roles.
But you think it’s too vague and offers no prospect? I’ll simplify it for you
A PM is responsible for delivering products that solve a particular problem and bring value to the company and users .The PM leads teams to:
- deliver the defined product vision
- understand what the customer wants
- understand the customers’ expectations
- focus on what’s practical and what will meet the Business Goals
At this point, it is important to define what a product is. A product is any physical object or intangible service that is offered for sale or at a freemium to users.Now that you know what a product is, why is there a need for a Product Manager and where does a PM fit in the scheme of things? In the hierarchy of things, the PM intersects between the Business, UX/UI Design and Technology Teams.
First off, who is this Product Manager and what does she do?
A PM leads work across diverse teams to design, build and launch a product . She makes sure final decisions about the product is based on a mix of data and user analytics.
Greek huh? I'll explain
When a company decides to create a product, it goes through different journeys during its lifecycle . The PM's role is to make sure that:
- decisions made about the product aligns to the product vision;
- the outcomes of these decisions are useful to customers/users; and
- the product is profitable in some way to the business
Having the right insights and information helps with this decision making process.
To learn more about how PMs(Product Managers) work through the decision making process, read: Making Good Decisions as a Product Manager by BrandonMChu.
As a PM, you are responsible for:
1. Setting the Product Vision
An aspirational statement of the Product's direction.One that meets a market need and presents a viable profit making opportunity for the business
2. Defining the Product
Articulate what the product is, why it is being built and when it should be launched. Aakars article "What is Product Definition and How to Define Products To Get Everyone Willing to Build" goes into great details about this.
3. Building the Product Roadmap
This is visual representation of how the product's vision will be achieved; and meet the business objectives over a defined period. Product Plan has some templates here: Product roadmap template
Communicating the Product vision to delivery teams, stakeholders, partners and users.You do this by using the Product Roadmap. NickyHynes has written a really good article on this: "5 Ways Product Managers Can Sharpen Their Communication Skills".
5. Planning and prioritizing items on the Product Feature List.
The PFL(Product Feature List) contains key attributes of the product and describes what it looks like, what it is made of and what it can do. Sariharrison has written more about this here: Turn Your Feature List into a Product Strategy.
6. Managing ideas/ feedback
There's always a deluge of these from stakeholders, users & everybody's dog. PMs manage and ensure these are properly documented and considered. Margaret annk has written a detailed guide here: 6 ways PMs can collect, analyze, and leverage user feedback more effectively.
7. Leading the product execution
After nailing the strategy and prioritizing items, it's time to ship it. Don't wait to achieve perfection. Ship the product & use the feedback loop to improve incrementally. Brianwjoe wrote more about this here: How To Cross the Strategy-to-Execution ChasmNow that you understand:
- what Product Management is;
- what a Product Manager does; and
- what a Product Manager is responsible for.
Is a product manager similar to a project manager?
Yes, it’s quite similar to project manager. The difference is the project management focuses on delivering objectives within a set time frame; Product management focuses owning, driving the development and delivery of products while being responsible for its profitability and user satisfaction. The Project Manager owns nothing but is responsible for delivering plans thought out by the business. The Product Manager owns a product (e.g Spotify app, Google Drive etc). The role ends when the product stops being profitable.