What is Product Manager?
Have you heard about Google Glass? Google Wave? Google Notebook? Windows Mobile? Windows Vista? All these products are failed. Few of the reasons of these products failed is because they are lack of vision, resources, insight and focus. As you can see, building products that fail is easy, but building a great product that solved the right problems is very difficult.
That’s why we need someone to stand in the center of it to focus on the real user and the real problem to bring the team to the right direction. Product manager play an important role to identify and defining the problem of the user and the team of what problem should they solve. It seems like easy, but it’s very challenging tasks. Product manager needs to solve an unlimited numbers of a problem with limited of time and not all the problems need to be solve, but it’s more important for them to ensure they are solving the right problem.
Many people misunderstand about the product manager are responsible for the questions like how are we building this product. The fact is product manager doesn’t responsible for it. The reason is simple, product manager isn’t work as a role of an engineer or designer of those product but they are concentration on a product management that build the right product that solving the right problems with questions like:
- What are we building?
- Who are we building for?
- Why are we solving this problem?
- When are we building this?
The Role of a Product Manager
Talking to the role of problem manager, we might think it seems like an easy job, right? Unfortunately, it is not that easy like you think especially in a tech company the product manager required lots of communication to work at the center position in between the business, design and technology.
Design – product manager need to be understand about the user needs, user motivations and work as user advocate.
Business – Product manager needs to understand the business goal and aligning product to achieve the goals.
Technology – Product manager need to understand the complexity, risk and tradeoffs of how the product is built.
The product manager is responsibility to ensure that the team is building the right thing with solving the right problems and building a products that people really want. Since all the company have limited resources, product manager is responsible for working on prioritizing.
There role of a product manager can be vary depanding on the company size, company goal and focus. Here are the several example of types of product manager that works on different specialization field.
- Software Product Manager
- Hardware Product Manager
- Growth Product Manager
- Internationalization Product Manager
- Data Product Manager
So what did the Product manager do and who did they work with?
Product manager almost work with everyone through the entire product development cycle. Product manager works a center hub with all designers, researchers, engineers, technical product managers, QA, data scientists, marketers, PR, sales person, support team, policy, legal & privacy, Ops, i18n and many more.
Product manager job are also covered on these area
- Market and User Research
- Product Testing
- Identify and define the problems
- Prioritizing tasks that should be concentrate on
- Write product requirements documents and roadmap
- Help the team to deal with emerging issues
- Respond questions about the products
- Keep track of competitors’ new products
- Understand what others product managers are working on
- Communicate out about the product
- Coordinating development and launch
- Stay up to date with latest information
- Identifying Requirements
- Identifying Opportunities
- Understanding the market
Skills of a Product Manager
As you can see that product manager works with lots of different team. Communication skills is one of the most essential skills they can’t leave without it. They need to prioritizing all the task and keep get in touch with all the others team to works together in order to build the right product that solve the right problems. It’s needs to have a good leadership skills and right attitude that work as a middle man to build a successful product.
Other than communicating, the most important things is to active listening on what your user needs and did they say about your product. You should never forget that the purpose of communicating is to getting feedback and listening of the user and the market so you can identifying new requirements and opportunities.
Building a great product that solving the right problems is challenging. Fortunately, we have a specific job for that, but it doesn’t mean having product mangers in your team will be successful. It’s just helping you to get your product towards the right direct.