Product managers are increasing in numbers and importance around the world. However, there is a significant lack of clarity regarding what they do. What is a product manager? Why do you need a product manager? What are their roles and responsibilities?
Before we jump into these questions, let's clarify what we mean by “product.”
In the context of product managers for software companies, “product” means an online service, a website, or a mobile application. The primary value-creating substance of your business is your product.
Depending on the size of your organization, a product manager is responsible for an entire product (such as your website) or an aspect of your product (such as the payment system or the content).
Now, let's dive in and look at why product managers are essential and their roles and responsibilities.
They Analyze the Market
Depending on the stage at which the product of your company is at, a product manager's first responsibility may be to check whether there is a market for your product. It would be best if you did not go headfirst into launching a new product without doing market research.
This market research will tell you what the needs of the consumers are, how large the market is, what the problem your product needs to solve is, and so on.
These are all significant questions, and if you have a product manager, then it is the product manager's responsibility to answer these questions. Check out the job description of a Facebook product manager.
They Define the Product
Based on the identified problem, product managers ensure that the product meets the needs of consumers.
They look at who the product's target consumer is, the measure of success for the outcome, whether the product is feasible considering the costs and risks involved, and communicating the consumer's needs to the product development team.
The product manager plays an essential role between the teams that execute the goal and the management that creates the vision. It is the product manager's responsibility to ensure that the product meets the requirements set for it.
They Plan the Development of the Product
The development of the product is the most crucial stage in the lifecycle of a product. The development stage needs to go well to ensure that the product adds the value that it was built for. A product manager's role in this stage is to set clear goals.
They need to know which are the product's essential features, how the product will deliver value, what the revenue model is for the product, how the rollout of the product works, and so on.
The product manager needs to keep a check on the progress of the development of the product. They are responsible for ensuring that product development deadlines are met and that the work remains within budget. They need to plan for unforeseen contingencies, if possible.
They Launch the Product
They strategize how the launch of the product will work.
They set a deadline for the product to be launched, then they work backward. How will the deadline be met? What are the deliverables that need to be met? How will the marketing of the product work? What is the price point at which we will enter the market?
A product manager needs to have the answers to all these questions. They do not have to come up with the solutions themselves or alone, but they are the final point of control concerning everything relating to the product launch.
They Monitor the Product
Once a product has been launched, a product manager needs to ensure that everything is going well.
They check whether the product has been made according to specifications, whether the product is working as it should, whether the company is ready to scale the product to reach more customers, and the rollback strategy for the product.
The product manager needs to communicate with all teams responsible for the product to ensure that all goals are being met. They need to set clear guidelines relating to the rollout of the product.
They Measure the Results
The product manager needs to measure how successful the launch of the product was. Have the market goals for the product been met? Are consumers buying and using the product? Are they satisfied with the product they have purchased?
If the product is available for free, the product manager needs to monitor the advertisement revenue. Are the advertisers satisfied with the number of clicks they are receiving?
If the product is not being received as well as planned, then the product manager needs to find out why. It is the product manager's role to come up with solutions for the problem.
They need to update the product so that it works as well as hoped. For example, if users are not happy with the website's interface, the product manager needs to identify pain points and fix them.
They Act as the Knowledge and Decision Hub
The product manager is concerned with all things that are related to the product.
There must be only one product manager for a product. Or if there are multiple product managers relating to different aspects of the product, they all report directly to a single product manager.
This ensures that there is a single person who is looking out for the product. Every concern is related to the person, and they are aware of the broad vision of the product.
This means that the product can be effectively managed. If there are multiple control points, then the development and launch of the product will be subject to communication and coordination problems.
They are Responsible for Ensuring a Product-Market Fit
Product managers are concerned with both the product and its market. They analyze the competition and build market data relating to the product.
They see what aspects of the product are more likely to work according to market validation. They divert resources in a way that optimizes results. You can see the salary of a Senior product manager who has the previously mentioned responsibilities.
A product manager simultaneously acts as the vision for the product and the ground-level controller of the product. They ensure that a market-driven approach is followed to maximize the chances of success for a product.
A product manager is a jack-of-all-trades to put it simply. An organization needs to have a single person responsible for a product, and that person is the product manager.
They are the go-to person who makes the final call regarding different aspects of a product. Every primary communication regarding a product goes through them.