In 2023, the profession of product manager is rapidly gaining popularity. Many serious companies, especially in the IT sector, need qualified specialists responsible for creating a product and promoting it on the market. But, since this specialty has appeared relatively recently, there are periodically misunderstandings about what duties a product manager performs. In addition, this position is often confused with project manager or product owner.
Let’s try to understand what skills and competencies you need to have in order to master this profession, because product managers are not trained at universities. What areas of business, apart from IT, you can work in, and how to become a real pro at it.
Product manager is a strategist who manages all the processes involved in the creation of a product. He is involved in its planning, development and launch. He continues to work on the product after it is released on the market, developing it, providing technical support. This is not only a manager, but also a creative, programmer, marketer, analyst, designer. He generates ideas, ensures their implementation, makes reports on the product to analyze and improve business processes. The nature of his tasks and responsibilities directly depends on the specifics of the company’s business.
If you are applying for the position of a product manager, be sure to pay attention to the list of requirements for the position in each specific case. For example, in one firm, this person is responsible for generating ideas on his own, while in another, he only monitors the implementation of the chosen strategy.
The career of a product manager starts at the bottom rung of Associate Product Manager, which is most often occupied by developers, project managers, marketers, and system analysts working in an organization. People “from the outside” and newcomers without relevant experience are reluctant to take the position. Therefore, a number of large companies organize specialized courses to train product management specialists from scratch.
In the process, junior product managers solve the problems assigned to them. For example, a manager notes a low conversion rate for paying for an order in a food delivery app (compared to similar products on the market). The reason behind the problem: inconvenience in entering card data. It can be solved by implementing payment via Apple Pay or Google Pay. The task of the product manager is to develop a convenient interface together with the designer, control the development process and implement the new solution in the software product. In principle, a project manager performs similar tasks, but his competence is limited to releasing updates to production. An Associate Product Manager solves the problem set before him. Therefore, after the release, he monitors analytics and makes sure that the task has been solved correctly, conversion has increased, and users have no difficulties in using the application.
As the Associate Product Manager accumulates experience in the course of solving various business career tasks, he “grows” to a real product manager. He is well versed in his chosen field and the characteristics of the product. He is aware of all the work processes taking place in the team, knows in what direction the team is moving and what goal it is trying to achieve. Independently makes decisions concerning the product. A project manager always acts according to an approved plan. For example: a company plans to erect a building. He is obliged to build a house with the characteristics specified in the plan by the specified deadline.
Significant differences between a product manager and a project manager:
|Responsible for ensuring that new product is fully compliant with customer requirements.
|Manages team activities, plans sprints, writes the terms of reference.
|Role in the team
|A startup who is well versed in his field.
|Coordinator, managing deadlines.
|Stages of work
|Develops, tests, launches new product.
|Provides intermediate and final work results to the customer.
|Daily to-do list
|Resolves ongoing issues related to product release, troubleshoots problems hindering business development, discusses new challenges with the team.
|Evaluates the current status of the project, identifies development issues.
|Launching the finished product into production with further refinement after release.
|Creating new work methods and processes.
Product and project managers work together to accomplish tasks in teams to get the best results. Only the former are different in that they focus on the product itself, while the latter deal with resource management, scheduling, and budget allocation.
It is the responsibility of the Product Manager to be actively involved in every product development cycle:
A product manager works closely with developers, designers, copywriters, management and investors of the company. It is important for him to have certain knowledge, qualifications and skills to perform his duties successfully. Get an idea of what a product manager does from the hard skills and soft skills of the profession.
The soft skills of a product manager include:
In addition, a product manager should develop such qualities and character traits as curiosity for everything new, desire to learn, develop outlook, responsibility and creativity. He should be disciplined and organized in work and life. For this purpose, it is necessary to master the best techniques and methods of time management.
The work of a sales manager is evaluated by internal and external criteria. Internal factors include the interaction within the team: how its members communicate with each other, how satisfied they are with their work, and how communication between performers is structured. If there are favorable partnerships in the team, everyone is committed to the common achievement of goals, and they perform their duties at a high level, it means that the product is doing its job well. Various metrics are used for external evaluation (profit, financial results, customer satisfaction and other parameters). For example, in the IT industry, a big indicator of a product manager’s effectiveness is user retention.
Planning and organization of work in a team are important skills for any product manager. It’s convenient to use LeaderTask app to create, distribute tasks between performers, organize work on Agile projects. The service includes a necessary set of tools and techniques for effective teamwork. It’s a convenient, functional planner, organizer, and task manager designed to support any project.
In the app you can control the execution of tasks, track the progress of performers, monitor the progress of the project on informative kanban boards. Rationally distribute time, unite, motivate employees. Analyze the achievements of each performer to make the right staffing decisions. Receive notifications about upcoming events and changes in tasks. Competently prioritize tasks. The application synchronizes with all digital platforms, works online and offline without an internet connection.
So, we have dealt with the question of what a production manager does. This is a specialist who generates new ideas and implements them in production, who is not afraid of difficulties and is always moving forward. To succeed in this interesting, in-demand and highly paid specialty, you need to have well-developed communication, planning, strategic thinking skills. General entry into the profession is possible only with a university degree. The profile category of a vendor can be obtained at specialized courses, which are organized by many large IT schools.