You must come across the word "Product Manager" way too often if you are part of the tech community. Especially more if you are reading this in 2022-2023. If you don't already know, you must have wondered,
What do Product Managers do?
Who hires Product Managers
Or if you should become a Product Manager?
This article will explore the answers to these questions and many more. In addition, we'll also touch on the basics of what product management is and the core skills needed to be a great product manager.
Product management has grown to be one of the most oft-coveted positions in the Tech World today. Growing from a trade solely carried out by internal company employees to a position often hired externally, the field of Product Management has changed rapidly in recent years. In 2022, Product Manager jobs is one of the highest paying jobs in India.
The job of a product manager simply put is to manage a product. To understand product managers, you need to first understand what do we mean by product. The Internet gives several different answers to this question. Anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy the desire or need of a customer can be called a product. An item or service offered for sale is also a product. Some says a product is a vehicle to deliver value. While all these answers are correct, we have a better answer.
We say that, a product is a promise of value to all parties involved. The value promised to the Consumers is that the product will help them get a job done, fulfils a desire or meets a need. And the value promised to the company building the product is that the product will help it generate revenue, get recognised.
Now that we understand what product means, we can easily define who a a product manager is. A product manager is the person who fulfils the promise of value the product offers for all the stakeholders. A more descriptive answer will be a Product Manager is a person who -
The role of Product Manager is central to most products. He is the person who helps ship the product (usually by working directly with clients) and keeps it running smoothly. Regardless of who develops the product, there needs to be communication between the various departments and the team as a whole during a product development cycle. A product manager is a critical person who coordinates and communicates to implement changes efficiently and effectively.
From the above paragraph, you must have realised that the role of a product manager is not an easy one. A product manager needs to create an harmony or balance between different departments in the organisation, most importantly the Design, the Engineering and the Marketing departments. As most organisations transition from Sales and Marketing led growth to Product-led growth strategies, the role of the product managers become increasingly more important as well as difficult.
Broadly speaking, Product managers are hired by companies who need someone who can help develop and launch new products. They are typically responsible for overseeing the engineering aspects of projects, though they may also be tasked with other duties like Analytics and Marketing. While doing a market survey we found out that there are over ten PM specialisations in the tech industry. Although the product managers are managing the product in each of these specialisations, but their KPIs, their broad responsibilities and their work are quite different. You can read more about Product Management Specialisations in this article.
An organisations expectations from a product manager also vary depending on the industry the product is catering to, whether it is a B2B or B2C product and the customer demographies. If I have to summarise, the roles and responsibilities can be represented using the following picture.
Becoming a product manager is the ultimate goal for almost every programmer who wants to work in the software industry. As this position is responsible for creating the features and functionality that a product will deliver. Many consider becoming a product manager the next step after completing a few years as a software developer.
But becoming a product manager isn't easy. It does require plenty of preparation. It would be best if you took the time to consider your goals, learn about the industry, and network with other awesome people. Product management involves the whole team working together to achieve a common goal. This goal can be anything from nurturing early-stage startups to running a company after being bought out. Being a product manager requires being detail-oriented, having excellent problem-solving skills, and having an innate understanding of user emotions. People often decide to go for an MBA before they move into product management. An MBA helps them prepare and eases in the transition. If you are not sure about MBA, you can opt for APM fellowships or Product Management crash courses. There are several academies for that today.
Well if you decide to become a product manager, below are some of the skills that you need to master.
Remember, being a Product Manager isn't just about being an expert in product development. It's also about understanding your role as a business owner and getting involved with the entire process of building and growing a company.