As someone who's likely had a fulfilling career in product development, you probably understand the important role that the product team holds within your organization. That's because you're part of a team that dreams, designs, and develops unique products and features for your company.
Having a deep love for products has probably made you want to take on more leadership. You may enjoy executing product designs but want to play a larger role in managing these projects and understanding how these products impact your customers.
A natural progression in your career path might lead you to consider applying to be a product manager. In this post, we'll break down what a product manager does and what you can expect when fulfilling this role at your company.
What Does a Product Manager Do?
Product managers are typically involved in three main roles: strategizing what products to build, overseeing the execution of these products, and following user reactions to the products. Some organizations have senior executives or marketers who handle strategy while product managers focus on execution and user research. Other organizations hire project managers to handle product execution while product managers focus on strategy and user research.
The point is that a product manager's day-to-day responsibilities aren't set in stone. However, in general, a product manager can expect to be in charge of setting a long-term vision for products, setting a path to achieve that vision, and communicating that strategy to others on the team. Whether the product manager holds all, some, or none of the power in completing these tasks depends on the hierarchy within the organization.
Product Manager Job Description
Product managers create a roadmap for the development of a new product or feature. They ensure that the product fulfills the desired concept and is developed and released on time. Product managers are responsible for conducting market research, developing product specifications, and creating a project timeline that's shared with the entire development team.
Product managers must be an excellent researcher and listener, able to understand customer needs and determine pain points that customers experience with their products. They must also be able to communicate the product direction to members of their team and other teams across the organization.
This job description is laid out clearly in the following list of responsibilities of product managers.
Product Manager Responsibilities
Communicate a vision for the organization to guide product development.
Create a market strategy based on the vision.
Communicate the strategy of the products to the rest of the organization.
Recommend new product designs based on the strategy.
Determine timetables, pricing, and specifications for the products prior to release.
Analyze the results of new product releases.
Use market research to understand customer needs and desires for the products.
Handle all managerial tasks for the product management team.
In order to efficiently complete these tasks, product managers are typically chosen based on their traits. You need to be cognizant of the needs of others while also trusting their intuition on product decisions. To ensure that you'll be able to fulfill these responsibilities, ask yourself if you embody some of the following traits that are found in successful product managers.
Product Manager Requirements
Firm decision-makers who know how to prioritize customer needs with company resources
Strong communicators who can break down the strategy to any stakeholder
Efficient at delegating tasks and trusting of their team members to get their work done
Excellent leaders who know when to have the final say on decisions
Effective researchers who can make conclusions based on customer observations
Multi-taskers who can balance working in different stages for different products at the same time
Flexible about revamping or scrapping ideas if they prove to be ineffective down the road
In SaaS businesses, product managers are tasked with ensuring that the company's software ends up looking and functioning as expected. This includes working on the software's interface, navigational features, and structural code. While the job is similar in a lot of ways, software product managers, however, have to deal with unique responsibilities that are specific to their industry.
Software Product Manager
A software product manager ideates, designs, and owns a software product within their organization. Just as with a typical product manager, software product managers align the vision of their software product with the goals of the business and the strategy implemented by the product management team. Experience in technology is more relevant to this role as you will need to have a basic understanding of how to design and code your software product.
Now that you're familiar with some of the responsibilities of a product manager you may be wondering if the work is worth the investment. To help you weigh that decision, we listed the average salary for product managers in the next section.
Product Manager Salary
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a product manager is $113,886 per year. The low end of the range marks at about $78,000, while the high end is about $154,000.
After all this, you may be wondering, “Why should I go into product management?” To some, it certainly seems like a tough job —ou have to constantly balance strategy with management and research. To others, that type of demanding balancing act is what makes the job so fulfilling.
Money aside, there are plenty of reasons to get a job in product management. It's an exciting field that businesses rely on to be successful. However, if you're still on the fence about sending in that application, keep reading for a few more reasons to work in product management.
Why Work in Product Management?
Product management gives you the opportunity to combine product design with business strategy. It's the perfect position for someone who wants to use their knowledge of business and consumer behavior to create something that makes all stakeholders satisfied. People choose a profession in product management because it's the perfect balance between logistical strategy and creative design.
Product management finds itself at the unique intersection of business, technology, and user experience. Every product that's developed should be chosen and designed with the intent of achieving some business goal for the organization. By deeply understanding the customers' and business's needs, product management ensures that the product not only achieves business goals but is also well-received by their customers.
For another important role in product development, read about the responsibilities and job requirements for a product owner.
Originally published Apr 9, 2019 8:45:00 AM, updated October 29 2019