A career in Product Management has been booming for people in the tech industry. Be it fintech, EdTech, or crypto, and product manager opportunities are abundant.

If you are a person who is good with collaborating with people, crunching numbers, and technical knowledge, it will rain job offers.

Product Manager is ranked at No. 3 in the Glassdoor survey of 2021’s 50 best jobs as we speak.

If you’re keen on pursuing a career in product management, you should know what Product Managers do and their roles and responsibilities.

Who is a Product Manager?

Product Manager is a role in Product Management that defines the role as a strategic to Product and is market driving. The Product Manager connects the business strategy, design, and Product potentials to the user’s needs to build a relevant, feasible, and valuable product to its customers. This role is named differently in different available Agile frameworks.

This role focuses on optimizing the value of the Product to attain the business goals and user needs while maximizing the returns on the investments.

Roles and Responsibilities of Product Manager

Product Manager aspirants don’t have clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities of a Product Manager. Therefore, it is essential to understand the job nature of a product manager so that there’s no ambiguity and misconceptions.

 Here’s a list of the roles and responsibilities of a Product Manager-

  • Analyzing and deciding the ideas – Collects data to brainstorm ideas for new products and features, including archiving ideas and choosing the ones to work on
  • Market Research – Analyzes market data and competition to determine how to create better products that have a competitive advantage
  • Product Strategy –
    • Sets the product vision, product roadmap, product planning, and product positioning
    • Draft, maintain and edit the product/product line strategy and release schedules
    • Explains the product vision to the product marketing and sales teams to gain market share
  • Requirements Management – Writes the product requirements for the engineering and customer support teams to develop new products or improve existing ones
  • Product Operations and executions –
    • Maintains equilibrium between customer needs and stakeholder defined restrictions
    • Monitors product performance in the market
    • Manages the product development lifecycle
    • Keeps the customers in the loop for their feedback to improve Product
  • Represents the Product and the team members in front of the management
  • Product Quality – Oversees quality, testing to see product bugs are fixed to ensure improvements
  • Coordinates with various stakeholders for product launch

Take the first step towards becoming a product manager- Enroll in the SAFe® Product Owner/ Product Manager (POPM) Training

Skills required to become a Product Manager

Becoming good at any profession requires skill sets unique to that profession. Product Management is no different. Here is a list of the skills needed to become a Product Manager-

1. Basic business acumen: A product manager needs to be well aware of the business basic terms that are important for the business. They don’t have to be a degree in finance or business, but just the working knowledge would suffice. For example, they should know the difference between profit and revenue, cash flow, budgeting, P&L account, and balance sheet.

As a product manager, one should monitor the details of the product development process. You should be aware of the factors that affect product development, however trivial it may seem.

2. Product Management Expertise: Product Management is a pool of knowledge, but knowing frameworks, processes, and methodologies will help you excel as a Product Manager. Product Management involves research (market and user), strategy, funding and budgeting, product development and operation, pricing, launch, communicating plans, coordinating the development, and reflecting on feedback and data analysis. Agile, Scrum, and SAFe are popular frameworks that support the process and tools for Product Management.

3. Prioritize according to business value: As a Product Manager, one will have to practice saying ‘No’ to many desires. Only requests that meet customer needs and offer business value should be prioritized.

Since a product manager is an interface between engineering, marketing, sales, and design teams, you will have to say no to many wishes, even at the cost of antagonizing yourself. 

4. Pro in research and analysis: Making data-driven decisions should come second nature to a product manager. Most interviewers have reported that product manager candidates make decisions based on gut instincts and not data.

Here are some of the skills that you as a product manager should build-

  • Conducting market and user research
  • Use tools to gather and analyze data
  • Interpretation of data

5. Technical proficiency: Technical skills hold great prominence if you’re to become a product manager. But, at the same time, technical skills differ from firm to firm and industry to industry.

Here are a few technical skills that a Product Manager is expected to learn-

  • Write use cases and flowchart
  • Dig deep into product analytics and identify the source of user issues
  • Develop and use wireframes and prototypes
  • Boost SEO efforts
  • Conduct A/B testing
  • Chart out the technical specifications of the Product
  • Understand the SDLCs

Knowing how to code is not necessary, but additional knowledge will help you perform better.

6. Emotional Intelligence: A high degree of emotional intelligence is what makes great product managers. Product Managers with a high sense of empathy can turn customer pain points into requirements to create a product. Product managers in the 1% can find their way out of extrinsic and intrinsic problems and build a great product.

Connection management is one of the critical competencies a product manager is supposed to have. They deal with external and internal stakeholders and help bring the best out of the team members.

It also helps in conflict resolution, negotiation, and working with others to achieve a common goal.

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

Product Manager vs Product Owner is a search term that has seen sharp interest in the past decade. We often get questions like ‘Is Product Manager and Product Owner the same?’ and ‘What’s the difference between Product Manager vs. Product Owner?’

Here’s a table outlining the difference between Product Manager vs. Product Owner-

Product Manager

Product Owner

The Product Manager has a razor-sharp focus on building a revolutionary product. They are strategic and farsighted  The focus of a Product Owner is short-term. Their expertise lies in building products that satisfy the customer needs in the present
The Product Manager role lies at the intersection of Product, engineering, design, and marketing. They are in charge of product vision, customer search, cross-functional collaboration, and feature prioritization in the sprint backlog  The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the development process, translating product vision into the product backlog, and representing the needs of the customer in front of the development team
The Product Manager is instrumental in creating the product roadmap and minimum viable products The Product Owner takes ownership for creating user stories, backlog, and epics and implementing them as per the roadmap
The Product Owner looks after the metrics like Net Promoter Score, conversions, revenue, innovation index, churn rate, etc The product owner measures success using successful sprints, time to market with cycle time, and lead time,etc.

 

Conclusion

Product Manager is a role that requires both product management and soft skills. Since they are at the intersection of engineering, marketing, sales, and design, they need a 360-degree view of the Product and its development process.

As you now know who Product Managers are, what Product they do, their roles and responsibilities, the distinction between Product Manager vs Product Owner should be clear.

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Author's Bio
Agilemania

We are a team of Professional Scrum Trainers (PST) and Enterprise Agile coaches actively working as Scrum Trainers, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters/Product Owners aimed at delivering quality and consistency for our students across the globe.