What is a Product Manager and What Do They Do?
Firstly, who is a Product Manager? A product manager works with three main groups:
- the people who build the product
- the people who use it
- the people who manage the business
The product manager communicates regularly with all three. They talk to engineers about how to build the product, get feedback from users on improving the product, and update executives on how the product fits business goals. This helps the product manager guide the product to make it the best that it can be!
Product managers occupy a critical function within companies. They are responsible for strategising, developing, and managing new products through their entire lifecycle – from conception to launch and beyond. The diverse responsibilities of the product manager role require a blend of business acumen, technical know-how, leadership, and communication skills.
Secondly, we will explore the responsibilities of a product manager.
Defining the Product Vision and Strategy
One of the core responsibilities of a product manager is owning the product vision and high-level roadmap. Product managers determine what products or features to build based on market demand, user needs, and business objectives. They do this through in-depth research, competitive analysis, market evaluation, and customer insights, They define the “why”, “what”, and “when” of product development.
Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration
Product managers serve as the connective tissue across all the different departments involved in ideating, building, and bringing a product to market. This includes engineering, design, marketing, sales, customer support, and executives. Product managers ensure that all stakeholders are aligned around priorities and release plans by facilitating collaboration through roadmap reviews, workshops, and regular communication.
Managing the End-to-End Product Roadmap
Product managers construct detailed product roadmaps that reflect the phased delivery of capabilities per the product strategy. They then manage and guide development, from ideation through release to ensure on-time delivery of a high-quality product that meets customer needs. This involves:
- outlining detailed features and requirements
- prioritising the roadmap
- continually optimising the end-user experience post-launch through iteration cycles
Monitoring Performance with Data
Successful product managers stay close to the customer through continual data collection, user feedback loops, and market monitoring. This input helps them oversee iteration cycles and make informed decisions about product improvements, new features, or changes in strategy. Product managers therefore derive insights from data using strong analytics skills.
Evangelising the Product Vision
Strong communication skills enable product managers to explain the product value proposition, differentiation, and market positioning both within the company and to customers. Product managers craft pitches, presentations and FAQs to paint a clear, consistent picture of the product roadmap and its alignment with goals.
Gain Essential Product Manager Skills
If you are interested in becoming a product manager, taking a course like the ICAgile Certified Product Management Course (ICP-PDM) can provide the foundational frameworks, knowledge, and skills needed for the role. The certification validates capabilities across the various dimensions of strategising, developing, and managing products.
In summary, product managers play a varied strategic role in bridging business objectives, customer needs, and technical capacities to craft product visions and shepherd them through successful execution and results.
Finally, if you’re looking to build a strong product management capability in your organisation, ignite this with our SPARK program.
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