Product management refers to the organizational role that deals with overseeing the entire process and lifecycle of a product. From conception to development to getting the product on the shelves, the product management process ensures that everything runs the way it’s supposed to.
This entire process takes place in multiple stages and spreads across various roles and departments within a company. In the end, however, the goal of product management is to ensure that the product that the customer gets is the best possible version of itself. Accomplishing this goal will also help the company reach its objective of maximizing profitability.
A Definition of Product Management
The main objective of product management is to develop new products that are more competitive than what is already available on the market. This can be achieved by providing better value to customers, or by solving problems more efficiently than current alternative products. Often, a unique selling point will also help a product stand out from the crowd.
The customer’s reaction to the product, along with sales figures, will ultimately determine its success. Every product has an objective, and every organization has a product manager to ensure these objectives are met.
Bear in mind that product management is not just about what features to include. Knowing what to leave out is just as important. As a result, the job also involves many elimination decisions throughout the process.
Product management is a multidisciplinary field that involves a lot of collaboration and communication. The journey from the creation of a product to its distribution into the market is a complex process. It requires the coordination of multiple departments, teams, data, and business systems.
In order for this process to run as efficiently as possible, it needs to be closely monitored. Everything needs organizing and planning ahead of time.
The primary focus of Product Management is the end user. In order to create a competitive product on the market, the needs of the customer must be considered. Solutions must be tailored to them every step of the way.
The 4 Stages of Product Management
There are 4 stages in the product management process, each one with its own set of objectives:
- Vision Development: The strategy development begins at this stage by discussing an idea that might develop into a new product. A product vision answers questions like: What are the problems that can be solved by the product? How can the success of the product be measured?
- Strategy Development: Product managers create a realistic strategy for achieving a vision. A product strategy defines the key product features, the users of the product and their needs, along with the key performance indicators (KPIs) that should be met by the product.
- Product Development: It begins by defining the product’s technical specifications, developing prototypes, and creating a mock design of the final product. The technical specifications are written by the Product Manager, whose aim is to identify the needs of the users and communicate them to the development team.
- Sales and Marketing: Once the final product is ready to enter the market, the plans concerning marketing, launch, and advertising are finalized. The success of a product can be determined by parameters like sales, customer satisfaction, and feedback. The Product Manager keeps track of these metrics and analyzes them. The findings are reported to the Product Marketing Manager to further improve sales.
Careers in Product Management
Product management is a growing field that pays well, depending on your specific role. Some of the most common titles in Product Management include:
- Associate Product Manager
- Senior Product Manager
- VP of Product
What Does a Product Manager Do?
The responsibilities of a product manager will vary by company. Usually, there are four factors that will impact the responsibilities that a product manager has:
- The size of the company
- The industry the company is in
- The type of products the company is selling
- The product’s target market
All these elements work together to help a product manager determine their responsibilities. If a business is larger in size, they will usually have the resources to set up a product management team. If the business is smaller, the role may be limited to one person who ensures the process runs smoothly.
For the most part, however, a product manager will focus on the following tasks:
- Conducting research on subjects like the target market, the competition, and user preferences
- Using this research to develop strategic plans for the product, like a product roadmap along with a rough timeline
- Communicating plans to key stakeholders in the organization
- Coordinating with different teams once the strategic plan is approved
- Data analysis and taking action on user feedback once the product has been launched
How Much Do Product Managers Make?
Product management is a growing field that is highly sought-after. Fortunately, it’s also a job that can pay very well. The salary of a product manager can depend on a variety of factors:
Generally, the pay range for a product manager in the US is anywhere between $67,315 and $124,420.
What Skills Does a Product Manager Need?
Being a product manager is a difficult job that requires an extensive set of hard and soft skills. The good news is that both types of product management skills can be developed, either through schooling or personal development.
Hard skills: Hard skills are those measurable skills that are job specific. Some hard skills that product managers need to have include:
- Data analysis
- Market research
- User testing
- Road map planning
Soft skills: Soft skills refer to your personality traits that determine how well you work by yourself and with others. Some soft skills that product managers need to have include:
- Attention to detail
- Time management
- Teamwork and collaboration