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Product Management 101

Photo by eniko kis on Unsplash

What does a product manager do?

  • Identify customer needs
  • Identify market opportunities
  • Develop a product vision
  • Develop a product roadmap
  • Defining and prioritizing product features
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams specially product design, user research and engineering to bring the product to life
  • Work with marketing to develop go-to-market strategies and launch plans
  • Analyze customer feedback and market data that will guide adjustments to the product
  • Manage the product life cycle, including end-of-life decisions
  • Act as the internal and external advocate for the product with different teams and stakeholders

Main responsibilities of a product manager

  • Product Strategy: Develop and maintain a clear product vision and strategy aligned with the company goals.
  • Market Research: Conduct market research and stay up-to-date on industry trends, as long as customer needs and competitive landscape.
  • Product Roadmap: Create and maintain a product roadmap that outlines the product development and launch plans.
  • Feature Definition: Define and prioritize product features based on customer needs and market opportunities.
  • Cross-functional Collaboration: Work closely with engineering, design, user research, marketing, sales, program management and other teams to bring the product to market and ensure its success.
  • Go-to-Market (GTM) Strategy: In collaboration with the marketing team, develop and execute go-to-market strategies and launch plans.
  • Metrics and Analytics: Use data and metrics to track the product performance and make adjustments as needed.
  • Customer Feedback: Gather and incorporate customer feedback into the product development process working very closely with cross-functional teams especially the user research team.
  • Budget and Resource Management: Manage the product budget and resources to ensure the product is developed and launched on time and within budget.
  • Product Lifecycle Management: Oversee the entire product lifecycle, including end-of-life decisions.

How do we get into product management?

  • Related field: Many product managers start their careers in a related field such as user research, engineering, design, marketing, or sales. Gaining experience in one of these areas can provide valuable skills and knowledge that can be applied to product management.
  • Getting an MBA: An MBA can be a great way to gain the business and leadership skills needed for product management. Many MBA programs offer courses and electives specifically focused on product management.
  • Intern or entry-level roles: Some companies offer internships or entry-level roles in product management, which can provide an opportunity to gain experience and work your way up to a full-time product management role. Look for Associate Product Manager (APM) roles as well.
  • Joining a startup: Joining a startup can provide an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in product management and have a direct impact on the success of the company since you might need to perform many different roles. It’s an accelerated way to learn about product management.
  • Networking: Networking with people in product management roles can be a great way to learn more about the field and get your foot in the door.
  • Taking a training program: There are many product management training programs and certifications, both online and offline, which can provide a great introduction to the field and help you to build a strong foundation and knowledge needed for product management.
  • Gain experience: The most important thing is to gain experience and develop the skills that are important for product management, such as customer research, problem-solving, communication, and strategic thinking.

Where are the product manager opportunities out there?

  • Tech companies: Many technology companies have product management roles. These companies are often at the forefront of innovation and are constantly developing new products and features.
  • Startups: Startups often have smaller teams and more flexible structures, and can provide an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and have a direct impact on the success of the company.
  • Ecommerce companies: Ecommerce companies typically have a wide variety of products and features, and PMs play a key role in developing and launching new products and features, as well as optimizing existing ones.
  • Consulting firms: Some consulting firms specialize in product management and work with clients across different industries to help them develop and launch new products.
  • Large enterprises: Many large enterprises have product management roles. These companies often have established product lines and well-defined processes for product development and launch.
  • Non-profit organizations: Product management roles can also be found in non-profit organizations, particularly those that have a focus on technology or innovation.

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Thaisa Fernandes

Problem solver and perfectionist in recovery willing to stretch myself and risk making mistakes to achieve innovative solutions and validate my learnings