A typical project needs a designer to develop designs, a development team to develop software based on designs, a Sales&marketing team to eventually market and sell the product and a project manager to ensure everyone is following the schedule, budget and scope. So where is the need for a product manager?
Product management is a new field that has come up very recently to handle products from a different perspective. The “CUSTOMER” perspective.
The success of the product is not on the delivery of the product but the response it gets from the customers/market. So you need someone that represents the customer and hold all the pieces together with clear success metrics for the product.
The product manager is responsible to understand the customer pain points and expectations.
They then prepare the product’s vision based on data around consumer research and competition benchmarking etc. The product’s success metrics is then defined. They work closely with development teams to ensure that the right product is built.
Finally, they work with marketing teams guiding them on how the product is meeting the customer needs and has a real edge over the competition. This helps the marketing and sales team to prepare better customer propositions.
I believe you now understand the difference between Product and project manager.
So the obvious question is how do you become a Product Manager? While there are no definite educational requirements to become a product manager but if you have the following qualities then you can develop yourself into a great product manager
- Strong customer obsession (UI/UX, consumer research)
- Affinity toward innovation
- Soft skills
- Analytical abilities
- Amazing documentation skills
Here is a typical diagram that the internet throws up when you search for product management
While most of you shall think that product management sitting in the middle must have knowledge of all the three circles. While is partially true but the main role in the middle is to provide a shared & common understanding of the product.
The product is successful if all the three elements viz Business, tech and UX have the same understanding! Hence product managers with knowledge and empathy towards the three elements lead to a great product.
Every year, there are multiple product launches with multiple product failures due to poor product offerings. As per articles in review42.com, more than 90% of startup fail. One of the key factors that lead to success is the sound understanding of the market and target audience. This where you first feel the need for a PRODUCT MANAGER!
Do, let me know in comments if you want me to write on any new topic. My old & new blogs are available here – My Little Blog!