What Does a Career in Product Management Involve?

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If you are looking for new challenges, explore a career in product management

With our increasingly digital world, there is a need for organizations to pay attention to how the customer interacts with their product, service and brand digitally. Building the right product is therefore the need of the moment. And this, in a nutshell, is the main cause of the rise of the Product Manager.

This person is the glue that binds diverse cross-functional teams, which touch a product from concept to launch and beyond – design, engineering, marketing, sales and customer success, to name a few – and ensure that collective efforts come together into products that users love. According to the recent Group 280 survey, a fully optimized product manager could increase company profits by 34.2%.

Why is this role important?

The process of creating an end-to-end product and selling it successfully requires key contributions from many specialist departments such as engineering, sales and marketing, operations, customer support. The product manager represents the voice of the customer while making key decisions throughout the product lifecycle to ensure that the implementation does not deviate from the main vision as a vehicle for solving problems client.

Different types

Strategic product management: This applies to those who lead the introduction of a new product or a new product category. Here, most of the time is spent on strategy, innovation and developing business models. Key activities involve (but are not limited to) identification of consumer issues, ideation, product innovation, target market selection, segmentation, positioning, buy-build choices – partnership, competitor analysis, SWOT analysis, etc.

Management of technological products: For deeply technical products, product managers end up spending most of their time activities such as requirements mapping, creating user stories, product mapping, prioritization of features, driving the agile product development lifecycle, etc.

Business-oriented product management: This category focuses more on owning specific business metrics and optimizing the performance of those KPIs by fine-tuning the product line.

Required Skills

Strategic spirit: Product managers should have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the business and its competitors. To meet consumer demands, they need business analysis and critical problem-solving skills.

Consumer-centric approach: When designing and developing the product roadmap, a product manager should always keep the end user in mind. To do this, they must constantly interact with consumers by setting up a feedback loop.

Leadership and interpersonal skills: Product managers must have excellent leadership qualities. They need to be able to influence team members (even if they do not report directly to them) and help them align with the central vision of the product.

Mastering product management is both a science and an art. While the “science” part of it deals with areas such as ideation, innovation, implementation, industrialization and continuous improvement of the product (5i product management framework), the side “Art” requires going through as much end-to-end full product life cycle as possible in one’s career.

The author is Program Manager, UNext Learning, also a member of NASSCOM Product Management SIG

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