pm, gpm, product leader

context is internet product roles. in a large internet company. this might not be true for a startup or a non internet company

product manager

create the best product

  • are decisive — take decisions keeping user experience, tech complexity & business complexity in mind. Strive to be up to date on user experience, org, tech & business
  • are influential — good with stakeholder mgmt; can navigate org. hurdles
  • execution ownership/make it happen — not stop at 99% but strive & go to 99.9999%; push other stakeholders to do that as well.
  • drive oneself to give the best — ownership, problem solving, decision making, influence
  • understand & align with org/product culture

group product managers

  • drive PMs to be the best
  • hire the best PMs, designers, analytics, marketing managers
  • manage the product & team management complexity
  • unblock challenges related to that product (across tech, ops, mktg, design)

product leader

  • drive GPMs to be the best
  • influence product culture through GPMs
  • unblock challenges across all products
  • manage executive complexity
  • able to take org culture debt & structure the product org for maximum effectiveness (to be the best catalyst to drive things forward & better)

the higher up you go, the higher the complexity that needs to be managed around user experience, tech complexity & business complexity.


  • most of the online articles have a bias towards startup product management role which is very different to what is explained above. they also talk a lot about managing the org. cultural complexity to make sure things happen & there is product market fit etc… They are not necessarily a PM role responsibility. ← I am open to hear alternate perspectives here
  • if someone has created a great product in their prev role, it just means that they are a great PM. It needn’t necessarily mean that the person is a great GPM or a product leader.

P.S: This article has been written to structure my own thoughts & hear your feedback based on your own experience. Feel free to comment or write to me.

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