Product management is an umbrella term that includes activities ranging from conceiving an idea for a product to one day introducing that product in the market. It includes market analysis, developing, positioning, marketing and communication.
The goal of product management is not just developing products that fulfill people’s needs but also analyzing and communicating with the customer to exceed their expectations.
The product manager defines the vision for a product, prioritizes facilities and product features, researches and gathers input about the market, organizes execution of the product strategy and carefully examines the product cycle.
“The job of a product manager is to discover a product that is valuable, usable, and feasible.” – Marty Cagan
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Product Management - Myths
Some of the myths related to Product Management are:
1. “You need a technical degree like Computer Science to get into Product Management”.
While having a technical degree can certainly give you a push forward, it doesn’t necessarily entail that you won’t be able to get into product management without a deep understanding of technology.
2. “Product management is concerned only till the launch of a product”.
One of the most common and untrue myths of all! After the launch of a product, it is the job of the product management to gather and analyse the feedback and customer response to the product in order to gain insight about what the customer actually want and need.
3. “Product Management is the equivalent of project management”.
Project management involves the timeline of a project, the planning, scheming and execution of it all. Unlike product management, where even after the development and launch of a product you have to keep track of it in order to continually reinvent it to fit the customer’s demands.
4. “Product manager is the boss”.
Product managers are the people who are first hand involved in the development and related strategy of the product, they have information about everything surrounding the life cycle of the product. But this does not, to any extent, ensure the product manager’s authority over the product.
Product Management - Roles and Responsibilities
Customer Analysis: Detailed and extensive customer research is essential for the strategic planning of the product. It is also necessary for analysing the competitor’s strategy for their product and bettering your product and services to fit the consumer’s needs.
Product Strategy: Relevant information and knowledge is essential for the conceptualisation of a highly efficient strategic plan. It includes the conception, development process, launching, product goals and objectives and a rough overview of the product. It is important even after the launch of the product.
Communication: It means cross-functional leadership. The key stakeholders like executives, developers, investors, project managers and departments of marketing, sales and development have to be made aware about the product strategy. This increases the internal confidence of the company in the product.
Feedback and Data Analysis: After the development, testing and launching of the product in the market has been done, the product management studies and analyses customer feedback by conducting interviews, surveys and other data. It tells the team what should or shouldn’t have been done and what the changes to keep in mind for future.
Product improvement: The product management, after the launch of the product, is consistently involved in improving the product, fine tuning the defects, analysing customer response and testing the results. This role of the product management is the key to ensure maximum satisfaction for the customer and thus, better reception for the company.
Product Management - Skills Required
Interpersonal skills: A product manager should have a good interpersonal skillset which includes having problem solving skills, being decisive, having an insight into the minds of their clientele and being a good communicator.
Strategic Thinking: Product Managers should be able to think strategically and devise plans with a proper understanding of the product life cycle, sales, customer segmentation, goal orientation and, marketing and development process knowledge.
Active listening: Listening more than speaking and having patience are core qualities required for a product manager. Listening to what your customers want, what your stakeholders want, more often than not, results in the success of your product management.
Presentation skills: Product managers have to give a lot of presentations. They have to present their strategy to the executive team, to the stakeholders, sales team, marketing team etc. they may also have to hold webinars and conferences to promote their product.
Leadership skills: For a product to become successful, it has to be backed by a team of professionals, coordinating and working together. And as a product manager, leading that team, having skills like cooperation, compassion and diplomacy are essential.
Oratory skills: A product manager should have a way with words. They have to converse and deal with both internal and external stakeholders. They also have to understand the needs of the clientele which may or may not be culturally and linguistically diverse and adapt with the language accordingly.
Negotiation skills: Since the Product Manager has to manage and work with different departments and teams of professionals along the life cycle of the product, they should know how to and when to negotiate and get things done the best and the fastest way with minimum wastage of resources.
Product Management - FAQs
Do product managers need to code?
No, product managers do not necessarily need to code but having some basic knowledge can help with the work.
Do product managers need to have an MBA?
Having an MBA in the field of product management can help tremendously but it is not a prerequisite to the job.
Do product managers work long hours?
Yes, it is usually common for product managers to work long hours as there are a lot of responsibilities attached with the job.
Do product managers get paid well?
Yes, as it is a managerial position, the salary of a product manager is a highly sufficient one.