Let’s refresh what we are aware of and learn the unknowns about Product Management.
What is a Product?
A product is a bundle of utilities consisting of various features and services. It is a collection of solutions for a bunch of problems or a single problem.
Who is a Product Manager?
A PM is one who creates internal and external product vision and leads product development from scratch, handling it based on the – NEED, WANT and DEMAND, mitigating the risks.
PM defines customer’s aspirations, work with stakeholders and teams, creating the required product. Product Manager is needed where the development is heavy and needs to carry the vision, mission, strategy, and overall product success.
What is Product Management and where it originated?
Product management is a vast domain, and its meaning can differ for different organizations, and people. For simplicity, it is the process of effectively managing and guiding the development of the company’s product.
The concept of product management originates from a 1931 memo by Procter & Gamble President Neil H. McElroy. Who requested for additional employees to focus on brand management, needed “Brand Men” who would take on the role of managing products, packaging, positioning, distribution, and sales performance.
What are the Roles & Responsibilities of Product Manager?
It’s a role at the very heart of an organization that needs to balance the need to deliver value to the company (profit) with what customers want and what’s technically and operationally possible.
Product managers are critical in driving a company’s growth, margins, and revenue. They are responsible for the business case, conceptualizing, planning, product development, product marketing, and delivering products to their target market. More responsibilities include research, prioritization, defining and assessing the problems, pricing, building roadmap and prototypes etc. It also includes managing a company’s product line on a day-to-day basis with the changing market and its needs.
Depending on the company size, industry, and history, product management has a variety of functions and roles.
What is the Journey to be of a PM:
Associate PM -> PM -> Senior PM -> Director of Product -> Vice President of Product -> Chief Product officer (CPO) and beyond.
What are the Product Manager Challenges: (Applies to Product Owner as well!)
‘A day in and a night out – life of a Product Manager’ is understood while we experience the reality of Product Management, evolving in this modern classic world.
To be the face of a product manager – One must be an effective communicator, strategist, innovative, organizer, researcher, and more. With diverse responsibilities, living and dealing the Product Management is sensitive and varies depending on the product that is being built, with the team (People) that we work with, and the organization we are in.
To reframe – Product Management is an ‘Alchemy Furnace’ – combining magic, mysticism, wisdom, self-discovery, inspiring, and elixir.’
Challenges provide the best opportunities to learn. It is vital to work on identifying the Seen/Unseen challenges and turn them into opportunities and overcome the challenges.
Below listed are few challenges, but not limited:
- Miscommunications and Misunderstandings
- Deadlines and Team Alignments
- Keeping up with the Latest trends and technologies – Time management for Research and Trainings to balance with the competitive market
- Satisfying varied customer needs with different topologies
- Data Management – Maintaining the Vastness, Privacy and Security of data
- Team Budgeting
- Underpowered PM
- Overworked with Varied Product workflows – Switching roles at dizzy speeds – Insufficient time
- Balancing strong relationships with stakeholders, cross-functional teams, customers
- Identifying and working with the right tools for PM
- Roadmap, Product Strategy
- Prioritizing Product Backlog and regular Backlog grooming aligning to the roadmap
- Distancing – Collaborating with teams in Different Time Zones
- Dependencies on collaborations and Risk Assessment
- Proxy roles – Means a placeholder for the other roles and responsibilities
- Diverse culture having multiple product committees with no single owner
- Acceptance and adaption to changes
- Availability of right skilled team – Hire with care
There are few more challenges related to interpersonal and emotional intelligence skills and varies from person to person, product to product, etc. However, Product Managers are not to shy away from the challenges but must thrive the unique challenges within the fast-paced varied agile product workflows.