Roles and Responsibilities of a Product Manager

What Does a Product Manager Do?

Want to learn more about what a Product Manager is responsible for? Let’s explore their role and responsibilities that set organizations up for success.

Today, product management is one of the most in-demand roles because more companies see the value of having one on board. A study by the PM 280 Group revealed that having a product manager increases profits by 34.2%. So imagine the revenue when establishing product management in your organization. 

A product manager’s primary focus is providing strategic product decisions considering direct competitors and the market. Also, they help create the vision for products that will impact their chosen market.

Product managers align marketing, sales, development, and customer support teams with the product vision to make that a reality. But what makes their job so challenging?

First, let’s explore their roles and responsibilities. Then, let’s uncover some best practices in product management.

The Product Manager: Roles and Responsibilities

Product managers are visionaries who set specific goals, strategies, and features of a product. They are the ones who formulate the product development plan.

Product managers must define the specifics of a software product before handing it over to separate teams. Doing so allows them to work interdependently in fulfilling the product vision and goal. Let’s discuss the responsibilities of a product manager

1. Develops the Product Vision

Product managers define the product goal. Without a solid vision, keeping stakeholders and teams aligned would be difficult. Their responsibility is to help everyone understand why they are building the product.

They also ensure that the product goals and objectives align with big business goals. One example is Google’s mission statement that says, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Imagine if they made online games instead of useful personal and workplace tools. They would be doing their organization a disservice by moving in that direction.

In this sense, Google product managers have to ensure that their products stay true to their mission. One purpose of creating products and services is to make them relevant in the real world. Today, Google provides user-friendly tools to bring data with just one search query.

2. Advocate for users

Besides formulating the product plan, product managers coordinate with the research team to make strategic decisions based on user insights. This ensures that any product functionalities and improvements remain relevant to its users. 

Software products exist to provide solutions to their target users. Product managers are responsible for delivering and conceptualizing the products we use today. They are also responsible for:

  • Product updates
  • New features and tools
  • User experience

Moreover, product managers maintain usability over time. They do that by keeping up with user demands and needs. They keep users top of mind through relevant feedback and data with each iteration.

3. Leaders for Innovation

To support the product vision, product managers have to do their research. This allows them to set strategies and priorities in place. Usually, they gather data from the following sources:

  • Competitor study – includes products, features, marketing, and target market. This will help product managers plan out the details from development to launch.
  • Users and target market research – determine the target users who need the product or service. Product managers need to know this before creating the product plan.
  • Compilation of user reviews, requests, and feedback – strategize on bringing new features to help most users.

New ideas presented by these valuable data can solve most users’ challenges. By keeping updated with what users need, product managers help increase customer retention. 

4. Design an Actionable Product Roadmap

Part of the product development process involves making stakeholders understand the goal clearly. Project managers are responsible for building and maintaining a product roadmap that will include the following:

  • Product strategy
  • Development requirements and priorities
  • Changes through development and user feedback
  • Development milestones

Product managers need to communicate these items to all stakeholders, including the development team. Remember, one of the main goals is keeping teams aligned.

The product roadmap is a guide for everyone involved in the development process. This encourages better collaboration to launch the product successfully.

5. Handles the Product Release Planning Process

There will be many things product managers need to handle when it comes to a product launch. At this point, it’s essential to bridge efforts from cross-functional teams. Product managers need to make sure teams can follow the product roadmap.

To do that, they need support from project managers to help coordinate timelines before a product launch. Product managers should prepare to handle challenges from product development until launch. Some of the most common challenges include:

  • Providing innovative solutions to failures in development
  • Communicating with stakeholders, project managers, and team members
  • Leading teams to fulfill requirements before the target launch date
  • Finding resources needed in product development.

Product managers should focus their efforts on results for their customers and the business. They need a bird’s-eye view of progress, challenges, and how the product performs after launch.  So what are the best practices that make product managers effective in their roles?

Best Practices in Product Management

Whether you have a seasoned product manager or a new one, it is best to implement product management best practices. The roles and responsibilities can be a bit overwhelming. So, here are some tips for effective product management:

1. Strategize first

Every product decision should start with strategy. This is to prevent significant development changes that might drive you away from the primary goal. Avoid making impulsive decisions and hold the goal paramount in developing the product. 

2. Know your target users

Spend time doing thorough research about your customers. You can sit in during sales calls or talk to users. By listening to their concerns and challenges, you can develop products they will surely use.

3. Build relationships between teams

You need the support of the whole organization to develop the product. You must build genuine connections with product developers and the marketing & sales team members. Not only does this create a happy work environment, but this also fosters transparent and effective communication that is essential for collaboration.

4. Learn how to say “No.”

Suppose a sales team member requests a feature to close a client. At the same time, customers complain about a bug that you need to fix immediately. Which one should you deal with first?

Saying “No” or “Not now” might be challenging to do. In this situation, it’s essential to set expectations for the sales rep on what you can or cannot do.

As for the software bug, it would be best to fix it as soon as possible. Creating a prioritization framework will help you set expectations for your internal and external customers. 

5. Embrace the process

Learning to be comfortable with the new role will take some time. A good product manager embraces change, challenges, and lessons behind every successful product. With all these combined, you will become the go-to product expert in the organization.

Hire a Product Manager with Full Scale

Product management requires a level of expertise to lead and make strategic decisions. Meeting a candidate with the right amount of experience is quite challenging to come by. That’s where we come in.

At Full Scale, multiple candidates have gone through a skills assessment. We want to make sure we hire the best ones. Our rigorous hiring process lets us choose the most qualified candidates to fit our clients’ needs.

You don’t have to go through the hassle of hiring one yourself. All you have to do is choose from a pool of product managers and set an interview. It’s that easy!

Contact us to learn more about how you can hire from us to achieve the right business results.

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