Product Management Philosophy
There are many opinions about the role of a product manager. Very often, the role depends on the company’s industry and of course its structure, the senior management and the product manager itself. In order not to confuse the reader on these pages, we are going to focus on companies in the internet sector.
A product manager (or product owner), manages one or several products. If only it was that simple… Naturally the product manager (from now on we say “PM”) is supposed to deliver the right product at the right price in the right time-frame as one can read in many definitions. But what is actually the role of a PM in an internet company?
The role of a product manager
Rather than “just” managing products, the role is much closer to being a mini CEO: Taking care of EVERYTHING around a product and putting the product into context of the company’s strategy. With everything, we mean all product-aspects related to other departments such as development, sales, the board, legal, finance, support, marketing, research and most important: the customers.
Main product management tasks
The basis for a successful business will always be the profound understanding of the market and excellent communication skills. Having this in mind, the PM can start working on the main tasks which are described below on a very high level:
- Analyze market needs and competitors services
- Prepare business case (and budget)
- Write requirements
- Monitor development
- Train other departments on the product (e.g. marketing, sales)
- Deliver the product
- Support sales
- Analyze performance
- Manage the P&L
Characteristics & Skills
For being able to manage all of these tasks (not just once, but over and over again) and to fulfill the above mentioned role perfectly, a product manager has to combine multiple characteristics. A PM or a team of product managers must be able to cover technical, business and marketing aspects and to have a strategic vision – like a mini CEO.
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