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Product Management is a highly strategic role in any organisation. A Product Manager  acts as an interface between the market and the organization by delivering insights to multiple departments that need market facts to make decisions.

This is why it is not surprising that 8% of the Product Managers report directly to the CEO, acting as a representative at the product level.

Through this article we will try to understand in brief about the Product Management hiring and its related aspects.

What is Product Management?

First-Few-Days-as-a-Product-Manager

 

Product Management is the process of addressing consumers’ needs and fostering a firm’s performance through effective product development and product marketing.

It’s the process of managing a product successfully through the various stages of its lifecycle.

Types of Product Managers:

Ø  Product Marketing Manager

Ø  Technical Product Manager

Ø  Product Owner

Ø  Outbound/ Inbound

What Product Managers typically do  in an organisation:

Product Managers are a combination of 4P’s + 4C’s (in short called the Marketing Mix)

4P’s 4C’s
Product Consumer needs
Price Cost to satisfy
Place Convenience to buy
Promotion Communication

The most important aspect of Product development is the requirement gathering stage and it broadly involves the following:

  1. Market Understanding.
  2. Market-based Product strategies.
  3. Relevant, reliable, usable documentation.
  4. Products In and out of the Market.
  5. Customer Relationships.
  6.     Interface with departments that cater to the Product lines (Product suites).

Traits of a Good Product Manager:

Ø  Knows the market, the customer, the product, the development, and the competition better than anyone.

Ø  Listens to the client and the market.

Ø  Inspires and clearly communicates the vision of the product to teams and stakeholders.

Ø  Has excellent time and prioritization management skills.

Ø  Removes barriers. Empowers others to do their best work.

Ø  Takes responsibility/ ownership.

The Product Management hiring can be viewed from three perspectives in the following order:

  1. The Organizational perspective
  2. The Personality profile perspective
  3. The Career perspective

Let’s talk in brief about each perspective:

Organizational perspective – Product Manager is the one who takes care of product planning and product marketing.

In order to excel in performance, Product manager needs to be well versed in many areas likeR&D, Sales, marketing and more. He/she is expected to draft business case, have know-how on available set of technologies, resources in-house etc, while working in synch with HR, Procurement and CFO office.  That’s why Product Managers are often called as mini CEO’s.

Product managers act as Integrators.

Personality perspective – In short Product managers should have excellent communication skills and need to exercise the objectivity to achieve customer perspective.

Career perspective – This is one very important aspect which I would like toexplain to my readers. Broadly, there are two tracks which leads into a Product Management profile:

  1. Engineering path– Any Product Manager in a software firm will Typically be from a Software design/development background (hands-on) and then moves up the ladder within the organisation to pick up Product Management skills; during this stage many decide to pursue their Management degree from premier B-schools (like ISB’s, IIM’s, or reputed US Universities), post which they start their career as Product Managers.
  2. Marketing path– These product managers are usually from a non-tech background.They might have started career as  Business analysts/ Analysts or, in a role which does not involve hands-on participation in the SDLC. Theylearnthe domain knowledge while advancing through their career and transform into  Product Managers. Typically a they are called “product Marketing Managers”.

An Important Highlight: Product Management and its complexity varies from company to company largely depending on the domain, types of products and the types of customers. So ideally when I recruit Product Managers for large e-commerce companies, the traits that I would look for will vary compared to those for large product companies.

To Summarize

Good Product Management is all about building and delivering products that customers love. This reminds me of a quote “A market is never saturated with a good product, but is very quickly saturated with a bad one”.

Product Managers use logic, insight and a degree of creativity in defining, developing, deploying and maintaining these products.

They must guide and collaborate with other parts of the business and multiple stakeholders (external and internal).

Product Managers have a duty to deliver financial benefits to their organisation.

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Incase, you plan to take your Product Development career to the next level, please free to reach out to me at vinay@wengerwatson.com