What is Product Management, and What Does It Take to Succeed?
Product management plays a very vital role in an organization. It is practically impossible for a company to deliver winning products without getting it right.
However, it might sometimes get a bit confusing trying to grasp it, which is why some people ask, “What is product management?” We attempt to explain what it entails in this article, along with what it takes to succeed.
1. What is Product Management?
Product management takes in many things or activities that are key to the existence of a business. , you can think of it that as that structure or role that manages and holds up all activities related to a product. It involves strategically organizing the planning, development, launch, pricing, marketing, and periodic improvement of products.
In many cases, the definition of Product depends on a particular organization. The role may not imply the same thing in two different organizations. A product manager’s responsibilities may be more, less, or mostly different from those of another.
The responsibilities involved in Product in the majority of cases, however, include:
- Carrying out market research to know more about customers, their needs, and competitors
- Putting together a product strategy that takes research and the vision of the company into consideration.
- Writing product requirements
- Coordinating the work of teams toward successful execution of the strategic plan
- We are acquiring user knowledge to aid future releases.
Product Management is NOT synonymous with Project Management. They are related and should go together, but they are different.
A Product Manager sees to high-level strategic duties, while a project manager oversees the low-level tasks involved in development. The latter mainly controls the day-to-day development tasks, including assigning and managing workloads. This allows a product manager to focus more on his high-level strategic responsibilities.
2. Important Product Management Skills
Certain skills are critical for effective product management. The following are some of the, especially vital ones.
a. Business skills
Product managers play a pivotal role in the determination of what to produce and why. As a CEO is to the company, so is a PM to products. PMs need skills that enable them to come up with the right methods to achieve a company’s goals and vision through products.
b. Communication and collaboration skills
A product manager needs to be able to encourage collaboration across teams. This increases the chances of success. It demands the ability to communicate effectively with teams and other stakeholders, including customers. Product managers also need to show empathy in their work.
c. Technical know-how
It can help for a product manager to have some technical knowledge to handle the process they oversee more effectively. This doesn’t mean PMs have advanced technical skills. First, it’s about knowing enough to be able to discuss smartly with experts or specialists involved in development.
3. Feature Projects, Backlogs, and Roadmaps
Feature projects, backlogs, and roadmaps are integral to product management. They are useful tools for PMs to communicate plans and to prioritize work.
A feature project refers to one that is valuable enough to users to warrant inclusion in the roadmap. It includes several requirements or user stories that mark out the limits of a solution.
The product backlog contains all requirements, including those for feature projects, to guide the teams. It makes it easier for a product manager to determine what conditions to tackle first given available resources.
Product Management depends on a product roadmap to present a strategic overview of a product and its goals to stakeholders. It helps to justify and prioritize features and determines the essential feature projects in a product backlog.
4. Communicating with Consumers
Product management is mainly customer-focused. PMs, therefore, need to spend quality time interacting with customers.
These interactions offer good opportunities for getting useful feedback. Product managers get inputs that can drive improvements of existing products and delivery of winning results.
It is possible to get customer feedback through sales, marketing, and customer support teams. But a product manager should gather inputs directly, when possible, for an unbiased understanding of the needs of customers.
5. Managing Time
Product management entails a lot of responsibilities. A PM can easily become overwhelmed if care is not taken. The role requires proper time management.
To be effective, product managers can benefit from paying attention to the strength of team members. This will enable them to divide tasks into smaller bits and delegating them appropriately.
Effective time management also requires finding a way of getting decisions quickly. In this regard, it will help if teams know what they are responsible for.
As a product manager, you can save more time by limiting the agenda at meetings. There is also the option of reducing the number of people in attendance.
Proper time management allows more room for strategic thinking.
6. Product Management: B2C vs. B2B
While they work in seemingly different contexts, product managers in both B2C and B2B companies have some things in common.
Product management in both types of companies involves identifying buyer and user persona. In the case of B2C products, the buyers are usually also users. The individual buying a B2B product, on the other hand, is usually not the same one that will use it.
Both B2C and B2B products should ideally have more than one value proposition. Buyers typically prefer to have multiple reasons for buying a particular product.
A person that oversees product management in either situation can transition to the other with little changes.