I know that product managers can be working in software development companies, but I’m not sure what their role is and what exactly they do?
Product Managers come in many flavours. Just like a “Data Scientist”, a Product Manager’s job varies greatly between companies and even within different teams in the same company.
From my experience I would say a Product Manager generally takes on a combination of the three key responsibilities below. Depending on the company, they may do this for one or many products.
- Prioritising the product’s development backlog
- Managing the release/launch of new products and features to customers
- Defining product strategy (short to medium term goals) and assisting in defining product vision (long term goals)
Also - It is extremely important that the Product Manager fits culturally with your entire technology team and also agrees with the company vision that your CEO has set.
Hope that answers your question!
It’s a great question. The Product Manager role is a training ground for becoming a CEO really.
As a fellow Product Manager for the past few years working at various SAAS companies, I will list out some of the tasks:
Empathy for customers:
This includes visiting new and existing customers to understand their jobs to be done and listening to their problems. A lot of travel time, phone calls and relationship building.
Drawing out customer journey maps, impact mapping and jobs to be done stories.
This step is critical and helps shape up the pain vs gains, user delight etc.
Build a vision for the future on 1 / 2 / 5 year horizon for the respective industry.
Stay on top of technical and competitive landscape.
Understand the latest trends and challenges for end users.
Strategic fit: Understanding Target market, Where do we play? Why now?.
Pricing and Finance
Build out revenue / pricing models
Return on investment projections with break even models
Pitch new business opportunities in the way of new products using lean canvas / business templates to show how they will help with the company’s vision.
This is actually the most critical part of product management. It is all about making a big impact to the end user and usually that’s done by creating new products that will solve some key problems for a market segment.
Also the ability to make big bold decisions based on how well you understand the market, customer, opportunity and problem.
Product Delivery (some companies have product owner’s for this):
Working with a delivery team to convert jobs to be done and customers pain points into shippable software or hardware.
This includes prioritising and maintaining the backlog, scheduling sprints and go to market tasks.
Work with the wider engineering teams as required
Managing the release of items (jobs to be done, enhancements, bugs etc)
Data driven decision making: Perform usage analysis to either kill or grow existing products
There’s more to this but as you can see the Product Manager role is a very busy role. There’s a really neat article from McKinsey&Company that’s worth a read.
Hope this helps. Also check out my blog on Agile etc .