PRODUCT MANAGEMENT: Definition, Types and Skills

product management

The job of product management has recently grown dramatically and gained traction. In the previous five years, online interest in this profession has more than doubled. This is mostly due to the growing importance of data in decision-making, as well as an increased emphasis on the audience/customer and design. Its expansion has also been spurred by the progress of software development processes.
Is this the right position for you? Sure, if you enjoy learning about your customers, why they behave the way they do, and what they require. If you can check all of these boxes, then product management is your calling. But what exactly does a product management job entail? What responsibilities or skills are required? As you continue reading, we will address all of these questions.

What is Product Management?

Product management is an organizational function that directs every stage of a product’s lifetime, from development to positioning and price, by focusing first and foremost on the product and its users. To create the greatest product possible, product managers advocate for customers within the firm and ensure that the market’s voice is heard and heeded.
Product teams consistently offer better-designed and higher-performing products as a result of this customer-centric focus. In the technology industry, where entrenched product lines are quickly displaced by newer and better alternatives, there is a greater need than ever for a deep understanding of clients and the capacity to offer customised solutions for them. This is where product management comes in.

The fundamentals of Product Management Processes

There is no one method for product management. That is why this section refers to “product management processes” (plural, not one).
Product managers typically go through the following stages:

#1. Identifying the issue you wish to address

The first step is to identify which user pain points your product could address.
User feedback, challenges with the tools you offer, holes in the market, or business objectives and goals can all inspire new ideas.
Many project managers also uncover significant issues through listening to many stakeholders, such as business departments and other product teams.

#2. Putting the issue to the test

Product managers begin to consider business objectives at this point. They conduct user interviews and competitive analysis to see how solving the problem identified in the first stage might help their product satisfy user goals—such as customer delight—and organizational goals—such as profitability.
Product managers try to answer questions like:

  • How huge is the opportunity for this problem?
  • Will people pay for solutions to this problem?
  • Exist existing solutions? Do they have any effect?

#3. Putting potential answers to the test

Once the right problem has been identified, product managers collaborate with their teams to produce product solution ideas.
Before determining which solution to focus on, they will conduct additional user research, gather feedback, and possibly show wireframes or models to explore the potential value and viability of several concepts.

#4. Defining a solution

When a feasible solution has been identified, it’s time to create a clear product vision. Product managers should also establish KPIs to track development and develop a clear plan.

#5. Get cross-functional support

Convincing stakeholders from other departments to support and allocate resources to your product ideas is an important aspect of product management.
Before moving forward with the product plan, product managers typically submit their vision and roadmap to CEOs and other decision-makers for approval.

#6. Create a Minimal Viable Product.

Making a minimum viable product is the next step (MVP). This entails developing a basic version of the product and releasing it to the market to test its functionality.
PMs can change the solution and tweak the product positioning based on feedback from the product’s early consumers.

#7. Execution direction

The product manager then guides the development and engineering teams as they carry out the product vision.
Most product teams employ agile methodology, which implies this won’t be a single fixed procedure, but rather a number of discrete product sprints and iterations with testing in between. Once a finished product is released, the product management function switches to presenting the product in the market, obtaining user input, and prioritizing work in the product backlog to ensure problems are resolved and new features are implemented.

Product Management Skills.

PMs face numerous product management issues due to their numerous diverse tasks and responsibilities.
To meet those challenges and excel as a product manager, you should develop the following five skills:

#1. Deep Research

To be a successful product manager, you must be able to analyse and integrate enormous amounts of information.
Begin by building a solid knowledge base: keep up with tech advances, understand the market, and learn about your typical user models.
Then go even further. Develop an interest in your users and the product space, and devote time and resources to learning why users behave the way they do.

#2. Understanding where to place your priorities

Product managers must make difficult decisions. Given limited time and resources, as well as requests from various stakeholders, it is hard to complete everything in the product backlog.
You must assess your options and determine what is most critical for your team to focus on. Make data-driven decisions to streamline your backlog management while remaining linked to key user and business indicators.

Even if you’ve eliminated low-priority jobs, as a product manager, you’ll be dragged between multiple sorts of work in a single day.
Frequently moving back and forth might interrupt concentration and waste time.
Arrange related tasks, such as research or report writing, in blocks or chunks to avoid context switching and maximize cognitive resources.

#3. User empathy

To product managers, user needs are important.
Have a regular dialogue with your customers—but the quality of the conversation is more essential than the number. Countless user interviews won’t help much if you don’t care deeply about your people.

Develop a keen interest in what your customers are thinking and feeling. Begin by examining user experience, then delve beneath the surface to uncover their underlying frustrations, desires, and needs.

#4. Storytelling

Crafting interesting, relevant tales about your users and products is a crucial part of product management.
Weave your main user insights into a compelling narrative. Then, utilize it to persuade stakeholders and get your team invested in the product roadmap.

Maintain a balance between particular user stories and the big picture.
It’s easy to become engrossed in a single compelling user experience narrative and lose sight of patterns. It’s just as simple to get caught up in the numbers and miss the emotional draw of user tales, which can show you where the actual value is.

#5. Leadership that inspires

Motivate and motivate your team by demonstrating how the product they are developing contributes to company goals. Engage your team in important product decisions and spend time learning how your product team works best.
The best product managers trust their team. They enable each team member to take control of their tasks and ensure they have all the resources and support they require

What Product Management Is Not?

Many people confuse product management with project management. Product management is responsible for setting the product vision and strategy, defining the release process, and overseeing a product throughout its entire lifecycle. While product management is a strategic discipline, project management focuses more on the tactical details — resource planning, overseeing cross-functional dependencies, and making sure that deadlines are met.

Which Roles Support Product Management?

Product managers lead the cross-functional product team, which typically includes representatives from innovation, product management, project management, product marketing, engineering, and operations. Beyond this core product development team, product management also works closely with members of marketing, sales, and support teams. Depending on the type of organization, product managers may also work closely with scrum masters, release managers, product operations managers, or technical product managers.

What is Agile Product Management?

Agile product management, inspired by agile software development approaches, brings the concepts of continuous improvement to the work of creating and delivering products. Instead of sequentially (and often slowly) planning products, agile product managers respond rapidly to user feedback, engage directly with engineering, and frequently deliver fresh customer experiences. This agile strategy gives you additional flexibility – you can continuously prioritize features and focus on providing more value to customers.

Different Types of Product Management Roles

While the primary tasks of a PM are largely the same across all sorts of product management jobs and product teams, there are some differences that correspond to distinct titles and role descriptions.
You will come across titles that identify different levels of experience in product management, such as chief product officer, product owner, and associate product manager.
Some examples of specialist product management positions include:

#1. Growth Product Manager

A growth product manager is primarily concerned with advancing a certain metric that their organization has established to assess business growth. Growth PMs typically collaborate closely with product marketing and traditional marketing teams to ensure that their initiatives are growing their product reach.

Most growth product managers do regular short-term experiments to assess the performance of their new feature or project, and they pivot to new efforts swiftly to suit business demands. Everything from copy to pricing is up for testing, and they may aid in designing go-to-market strategies.
Experience or education in digital marketing, psychology, or advertising would be beneficial for growth product managers.

#2. Technology Product Manager

A background in engineering or development is nearly always required for technical product management roles, as these PMs collaborate with engineering teams to improve things like a product’s fundamental functionality, a company’s tech stack, security, or other aspects of its digital infrastructure.

These PMs are less concerned with the appearance of a product and more concerned with ensuring that its internal workings are sound.
Technical product managers are frequently career changers who began as engineers.

#3. Data Product Manager

If you enjoy working with numbers or were a math whiz in school, a data product management position could be a good fit for you. Data PMs collaborate with business analytics teams and data scientists to develop use cases that organizations use to gauge the performance of their new product and feature releases.

They are frequently in charge of ensuring that customer interactions are properly tracked across the product interface so that other PMs or stakeholders can gain valuable insights into how users navigate the product.
Any prospective data PM would benefit greatly with a degree in mathematics, finance, or data science.

What Does a Product Manager Do?

The day-to-day tasks of a product manager vary across different types of enterprises. Nonetheless, many universal duties that are crucial to the advancement of a product development lifecycle are shared by all product management roles.

#1. Research

A PM’s major emphasis is the end-user of their product. Hence, most of a product manager’s time is spent performing and reviewing both market research and user research. This is either in conjunction with specialist research teams or on their own, depending on the size of their firm.
PMs must analyze customer needs and product-market fit and advocate for these data points to be included in the company’s prioritization discussions. Gathering customer feedback is essential to the success of a new product.

#2. Defines Roadmap, Product Requirements, And Success

After completing research, project managers contribute to the development of the organization’s product roadmap. This effectively specifies the workflow for when and how each feature or product will be launched.

Working with project management teams, each new product build will be divided into numerous incremental steps. These steps will be carried out over a specified length of time based on available resources and are commonly divided by a quarter.
PMs are responsible for ensuring that the engineering team they work with manages a backlog of ideas, prioritizes the correct things, and is aware of all of the requirements and actions required to accomplish the product’s vision.

#3. Launches and Testing

Once the development process is complete, PMs lead the testing of the new feature, generally by setting up experiments and iterations. Large undertakings are sometimes divided into smaller parts, such as a “beta” launch.

#4. Analyzes and Presents Findings

When a new feature is live and in front of real customers or users, the product manager is often responsible for reporting the accomplishments or shortcomings of the product to business leadership. They use a variety of analytics tools and data to guarantee that the product meets the expectations set during the research process.


Our final response to the question “What is Product Management?”

“The problem is that the role is all about strategy.” Initially, product managers create and effectively explain the product’s strategy. Then they guarantee that all development, marketing, and other decisions reflect and support the plan. Product managers work at the crossroads of technology and business executives, ensuring that new products are successful for their organization and their consumers.

Product management could be an incredibly satisfying career choice for those who enjoy teamwork, strategic thinking, and creating amazing experiences for others. It differs between firms due to differences in their products, methods of operation, and organizational structures. The goal of Product Management, however, remains the same in every company: to increase product sales and, eventually, the business.


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