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Why Product Management is an Awesome Work?


Map of jaisalmer fort engraved in stone

Recently, I have been learning a lot regarding product management. It's a field that fascinated me for quite a long time. I have been in the role of managing products & projects with a long stint with entrepreneurship, have put me in a position to have some relevant experience in it, and is quite amazing.


The unprecedented rise of digital products and consumption for the last decade has given rise to a very unique job role in the tech world as Product Management - which is an amalgamation & somewhat lies in the center of technology, design & business. Though it has the word manager in it but ironically you are not managing anybody other than the product.

The overlapping field of Product manager

A few of the product managers who eventually become CEO of their companies are Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai of Google, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Susan Wojcicki of YouTube, and Indra Nooyi of Pepsico.


As you can see (in Image 1) the kind of fields this role encompasses you can realize how tough this role can be and how come a person intends to have knowledge in all. So the proverb that rightly fits this role I would say - Jack of all trades and master of none! Achieving that is mastery in itself. So what exactly do they do;

Product management is the process of turning that idea into a reality and making it successful.

A product manager is like the captain of a ship. They oversee every aspect of the product's journey, from understanding what customers want, to planning how the product will be developed, to ensuring it gets to market and meets people's needs.

  • Market Research and Customer Insights: Product managers conduct market research to understand customer needs, market trends, and competition. They gather insights through user feedback, surveys, and data analysis to identify opportunities and make informed product decisions.

  • Product Strategy and Roadmap: Product managers develop a strategic plan for the product, defining its vision, goals, and target market. They create a roadmap that outlines the product's features, functionalities, and milestones over time.

  • Requirements Gathering and Prioritization: Product managers work closely with stakeholders, including customers, engineers, designers, and business teams, to gather requirements. They prioritize features and functionalities based on business objectives, customer feedback, technical feasibility, and market demand.

  • Cross-functional Collaboration: Product managers collaborate with various teams, including engineering, design, marketing, sales, and customer support. They facilitate communication and coordination among these teams to ensure the successful development, launch, and ongoing support of the product.

A man with sticky notes!

  • Product Development and Iteration: Product managers work closely with engineering and design teams to translate requirements into tangible products or services. They oversee the development process, ensuring timely delivery, quality control, and adherence to the product vision.

  • Product Launch and Marketing: Product managers plan and execute the go-to-market strategy, including product positioning, pricing, and promotional activities. They work with marketing and sales teams to generate awareness, drive adoption, and achieve business objectives.

  • Performance Monitoring and Improvement: Product managers track product performance, collect user feedback, and analyze data to measure success and identify areas for improvement. They iterate on the product based on insights gathered, addressing issues, adding new features, and optimizing the user experience.

Throughout the entire process, the product manager acts as the bridge between different teams, making sure everyone is working together and staying focused on the common goal of creating a successful product.


What's with PM?


PM stands for a hell lot of positions as Product Managers, Project Managers, Program Managers, Product Owners, etc. And all are different from each other in terms of work & responsibilities. For a PM i.e. Product Manager

  • He is not a manager of anybody

  • He is - Communicator | Prioritizer | Researcher | Presenter

  • He is responsible for the ultimate success of the product

Product Managers Vs Project Manager

Product Manager

Project Manager

The success of the product i.e Goal

  • Defined by KPIs / Metrics

  • The working method is not defined

Accomplishing a project

  • Timeline & Budget

  • Defined process & skill


construction manager on the site

The product manager works in ambiguity as he estimates & experiments that something - the product developed will work in the market whereas the project manager works with specifics as with the construction of a building, he is sure of the blueprint, and how it will be constructed on time & budget. And I hope he won't experiment on the go, that would be quite a risk.


Types of Product Managers


There are majorly 3 types of product managers and they are differentiated based on the stakeholder they cater to like users, shareholders, lawyers, marketing, etc. It's the people who have input into what you are building;

  • Internal Product Manager

Builds internal tools for the company and is the least riskiest PM profile with less difficulty and with a decent learning curve. It generally has less no. of users and a lot of project management activities take place here.

  • B2B i.e Business to Business product manager

The PM interacts with the sales team of the company and works for the client's requirements from other companies. A medium-risk & medium-difficult PM profile. Here the PM has more leeway for being flexible & creative but most priorities are weighed against budget. It too has tight deadlines for delivery.

  • B2C i.e. Business to consumer product manager

It's the most common PM role that comes with high pressure and the most risk with millions of users. Here the client is the average consumer and aligning with their requirements needs a ton lot of vision & creativity. The PM has to get extensive feedback from users & analyze the data in order to adapt the product. The company can lose a huge chunk of money if things didn't turn out as expected.


There is another pretty fascinating take on types of PM discussed in this article;

  • The User-First PM

  • The Business-First PM

  • The Technology-First PM

As you can see stakeholders play a very important role in developing the product. I have found a very interesting research cum article published in Harvard business review on identifying the key stakeholders, a summary of which is listed below.

Yes or no poster in the wall

5 Questions to Identify the Key Stakeholders

  1. Do the stakeholders have a fundamental impact on your organization's performance? [ Required Response - Yes ]

  2. Can you clearly identify what you want from the stakeholders? [ Required Response - Yes ]

  3. Is the relationship dynamic - that is, Do you want it to grow? [Required Response - Yes]

  4. Can you exist without or easily replace the stakeholders? [ Required Response - No ]

  5. Has the stakeholder already been identified through another relationship [ Required Response - No ]


And the final question...

What is a Product?

A product could be anything!

For PM, he is not always in charge of an entire product but certain sections of it.


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Source:

Image 1: The map of Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, India by Raj Khandelwal

Image 3: Man with sticky paper By Luis Villasmil, Unsplash

Image 4: Construction manager at the site, Wix Media

Image 5: Yes/No from Unsplash


Reference:






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