In simplest terms, the product manager is responsible for prioritizing what to build next.
Some of the activities of the product manager can be grouped in the following categories:
- Discover what users need by conducting user research and unveiling critical insights.
- Create the product’s long-term vision and strategy.
- Align the team around a cohesive product roadmap.
- Decide what features to build next.
- Deliver features that function and delight customers.
- Champion the team, partners, and external stakeholders to ensure alignment around overall strategy and direction of the product.
The product manager is a holistic, high-level role with responsibilities that encompass the entire product lifecycle — from customer discovery to product delivery. The product manager drives the product strategy by understanding customer needs, the product, and the overall market.
A good product manager is expected to be a customer spokesman, product visionary, team champion, and strategic leader.
Due to their multidisciplinary role and strategic focus, product managers are often called “mini-CEOs.” Although from my personal experience, I believe the role may sometimes require the PMs to become the CIOs (Chief Information Officers), and in some unprecedented situations, even Product Janitors.
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