A 10-Minute Introduction to Product Management

Parul Saxena

Parul Saxena

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: March 3, 2021

Introduction

Before any company rolls out a new product, a specialist has to supervise the entire production cycle. This specialist is commonly known as the product manager and their roles vary by industry.

But can a company function without a product manager?

In theory, yes. But the consequences are dire, including a potential loss in revenue for the company. Currently, product managers can affect any business significantly, which is reflected in their average salary worldwide.

Product Management

In practice, companies need product managers because they develop ideas, realize goals, and come up with a consumer-oriented product with market viability.

Let’s find out more about product management and why every modern company must pay attention to this aspect of their business. 

What is product management? 

As the name suggests, product management is a consumer-first process that involves bringing a product into existence or ‘managing’ its life cycle. This process ensures that a company provides market-relevant products that consumers need.

Looking for Product Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best product management software solutions.

As a result, a product manager (PM) must curate the teams, resources, and processes focused on the product. In essence, product management always starts with an idea and ends with a sale. 

But other responsibilities and activities exist between these two endpoints. Here are some key functions of a product manager.

1. Crafting a product strategy

Before creating a new product, the PM must conduct in-depth market research to gather useful information on potential consumers and market trends. These insights help to facilitate a coherent and cost-effective product vision and strategy.

2. Management of teams

With various teams working on realizing the product, a centralized monitoring system must be in place to curate the process. Product managers help to eliminate bottlenecks in the organizational workflow.

3. Managing marketing campaigns 

Familiarity with the product and the target audience is essential for crafting an effective marketing campaign. Since product managers are integral to the process, they can oversee the product’s marketing strategy.

4. Exploring new ideas and improvement opportunities

Ideation and innovation are essential in product management because your company needs fresh ideas to stay competitive. So, PMs always strategize on new products that align with the company’s goals.

It is also essential to note that product managers can take on extra responsibilities in different companies. In this guide, you will find out more details about the duties of a product manager.

What skills does a product manager need?

Every product manager requires some irreplaceable set of skills to distinguish themselves from other employees. Most companies prefer appointing product managers from within, usually a highly-skilled brand marketing manager or a product engineer, depending on the industry.

So, here are the skills to consider when appointing a candidate to lead the product management cycle.

1. Excellent storytelling ability

Storytelling is necessary for creating convincing user stories for the product roadmap. As a result, a product manager needs to gather information from potential users to craft a captivating user story. Simultaneously, this skill helps them empathize with customers and understand their interaction with the product.

2. Excellent (market) research skills

Product managers should understand the consumers and the market. Nowadays, the natural progression in most companies involves the promotion of the head of marketing to the product manager. This system is foolproof because it enables continuity and uniformity in the product’s life cycle. 

3. Outstanding marketing skills

The research skills and consumer insights gained from experience as a marketer are invaluable to product management. Extensive knowledge of the consumers helps to eliminate redundancies and ineffective marketing practices regarding the product.

4. Leadership skills

Product management positions are often senior positions in a company. So, PMs need to take responsibility for the performance of those under them in the hierarchy. 

Moreover, these leadership skills will come in handy when making administrative and mid-level financial decisions. 

Product managers also resolve workflow and creative conflicts between teams working on the same product.

5. Organizational skills

Product management involves so many moving parts simultaneously. So, your ability to organize a smooth-flowing workflow sets you apart as the perfect candidate for the product management position.

6. Diligent analytical skills

Data analysis is the bedrock of product management. You need diligent analytical skills to monitor the consumers, teams, product, and market at the same time. 

As a product manager, you should look at a Gant Chart or product roadmap and determine gridlocks and profitable areas. In addition, you need to figure out the most relevant key performance metric for the product.

Tools needed for product management

In the current tech world, apps and software are available to ease the burden of product management. Here are the essential tools every product manager should add to their arsenal.

1. Performance tracking tools

Data analysis tools are essential when monitoring key metrics affecting the product. Besides, product managers need to monitor the performance of individuals and teams.

2. Communication apps

Messaging apps and other collaborative tools like Slack allow teams to collaborate and communicate smoothly.  

3. Online survey tools

Software like SurveyMonkey uses cloud-based technology to gather user insights without unnecessary stress.

4. Product management apps

Applications like Jira and Trello are essential to workflow organization. They also allow teams to collaborate seamlessly in the product management cycle. Every PM should download product management plugins for Jira for smooth operations.

5. Roadmapping tools

Roadmap software is an essential addition to product management. Find intuitive tools specialized in optimizing the product’s performance.

Key takeaways

Product management is an interdisciplinary function that involves meticulous research and curation of a product during its life cycle. As a result, product managers need to possess essential skills to maximize the product’s performance. To this effect, companies prefer promoting marketing managers and brand experts to product managers. 

Also, modern tools eliminate stress and organizational bottlenecks that often appear in product management. And most importantly, product managers must maintain clear communication channels between the consumers and the product.

Parul Saxena
Parul Saxena is a writer and editor with experience in various genres of writing in various industries. A content creator who loves to write on the latest technologies and their impact on businesses and everyday life.

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