Businesses have evolved from old operating models to really customer-centric digital enterprises, and the global pandemic has hastened this inevitable transition. Product managers, who sit at the crossroads of consumer wants, company strategy, and technology, are crucial in ensuring that their organisations’ digital fluency allows them to grow and alter their products to meet market and customer demands.
PRODUCT MANAGER ASSOCIATE
Individuals with some prior knowledge of the business, product, and/or customer base frequently move into associate product management jobs from within or outside an organisation to begin a career in product management. While we believe that anyone can start as an associate product manager, we frequently see analysts, software engineers, designers, project managers, or product marketers move into this position. Product managers learn to use data to make decisions, influence without authority, and comprehend the balancing act of prioritising during this point of their careers.
Product managers develop a variety of skills dependent on the product they manage, their responsibilities, and their expertise. Product managers in charge of a new product or feature may place a strong emphasis on R&D. Product managers tasked with improving the quality and efficacy of an existing product or service, on the other hand, may place a greater emphasis on data analysis to better understand what drives a better experience. Squad leadership is crucial in ensuring that everyone understands the goal they’re aiming towards and what success looks like. In a large firm, product managers can concentrate in a single domain or work with their managers to rotate ownership of product domains to get a broad range of expertise and skills. As their teams iterate quickly to establish product-market fit and the correct set of features for their product, product managers at startups will likely get to see all of these skills in rapid rotation.
SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER
At the level of senior product manager, product managers begin to distinguish between becoming “craftmasters” on the individual contributor road and people managers in the leadership path. While craftmasters must still inspire those working on the product, they frequently become experts in a certain product domain, such as product growth and analytics. A people manager in this position, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with team management abilities. In either case, this is an important stage in a person’s career since it allows them to practise defining and expressing a product vision with their team, as well as dealing with more moving components to direct people toward that vision. Understanding and prioritising these shifting pieces is a crucial ability to master in this situation. In addition, the responsibility for making product-growth-related decisions rise. This is a product manager’s chance to show that they understand how business, market, and product connect to inform the product’s direction and clearly express how that product will impact the company’s financials.
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT
Product directors are transitioning from manager to leader at this point in their careers. They must tie the product strategy and roadmap together, as well as assume ownership and accountability for their decisions and consequences. The Director of Product also begins to take responsibility for the financial aspects of their decisions — in certain firms, this can even extend to P&L responsibility for project and product expenses. They progress to managing a product portfolio and connecting the dots between how they function together for users, as well as guiding teams through complicated problems in order to establish goals on a longer, future-oriented schedule.
VP OR HEAD OF PRODUCT
When a person reaches this degree of leadership, they have mastered the product’s essential functional competencies. They’ve become the key link between the rest of the company’s leadership goals and the product team. They must go beyond “product speak” and help other leaders and employees across the company connect the linkages between technology, customers, and business goals. To move the strategy forward, a significant amount of work is spent synchronising resources and strategies with other leaders. As product leaders, they are also accountable for driving new thinking and are in charge of either the entire product or a substantial financial portfolio for the organisation.