Introduction

A product manager is in charge of the development of the products in an organization and performing the other tasks involved in product management like business justification, planning, verification, forecasting, pricing, product launch, and marketing of a product at all stages of the product lifecycle. There is a growing demand for product managers due to the emergence of numerous digital companies that never existed before. A study carried out by Neal Iyer for Product Management Insider deduced that the number of product management roles in the US grew by 32% from August 2017 to June.

The new technological discoveries and enhancements have generated a demand for innovative product managers with industry experience and an understanding of the new technologies. A product manager job description involves discerning the why, how, when, where, and what of the product developed by the engineering team. It involves making tactical and strategic decisions in order to manage and control cross-functional activities.  

  1. What are the roles and responsibilities of a product manager?
  2. What are the duties of a product manager? 

1. What are the roles and responsibilities of a product manager?

A) Strategy

Setting the product strategy or vision is one of the most important tasks of being a product manager as it is directly related to the success of the product. The product manager should carefully devise a plan that will allow him and his team to meet the strategic goals and initiatives behind the product. He/she should ensure that business value or the intent behind the product or product release is communicated to the product team efficiently to ensure the smooth flow of activities.  

B) Releases

The product manager’s responsibilities also entail determining the release process and coordinating all the activities required to bring the product to market. It is the duty of the product manager to assign tasks and deadlines to the employees involved in the release. The product manager should also ensure a smooth flow by aligning and bridging the gap between the activities from various functional departments. 

C) Ideation

The product manager’s role also involves generating, developing, and curating new ideas. He/she should analyze the list of ideas and choose the one that is feasible and in line with the primary and secondary objectives of the product line and business. The ideation process also involves communicating the status of the product ideas to the important stakeholders of the company like the customers, partners, internal members, other departments, etc. The product manager must take into account the feedback for the various stakeholders and integrate it into the product planning and development processes. 

D) Competitive Analysis

Product managers should study and analyze the behavior of the competition in the industry. Monitoring the performance, strengths, and weaknesses of the competition will give managers valuable insights on how to prevent competition from entering the market and help the company be at par or ahead of the competition.

E) Market Analysis

Along with a competitive analysis, a product manager needs to conduct a market analysis in order to identify and understand consumer needs and trends. Market analysis is essential in order to sustain in a dynamic business environment. This will help the manager act promptly and forecast upcoming trends in the industry.

F) Managing the Product Lifecycle

A product manager tasks also include identifying the stage of the product in the product lifecycle and determining the course of action that needs to be taken in order to ensure an extension in the lifecycle, to maintain or improve the position of the product in the market, and to maximize the revenue generated. For example, the product manager should introduce new features to the product when it is at the peak of the growth stage and heading towards the maturity stage.

While in the initial or introduction stage the company has to spend a lot of money on advertising in order to create awareness about the product in the market. Other strategies include lowering prices to maintain interest, new advertising campaigns, finding new markets, etc. Different strategies need to be used depending on the stage of the product in the life cycle. 

2. What are the duties of a product manager

A) Developing Product Positioning Strategy

The product manager should integrate the company’s overall strategy, product line plans, competitive analysis, and customer needs into an effective product strategy and position it in the marketplace.

B) Pricing Strategies

The role of a product manager includes coming up with an appropriate pricing technique by conducting a detailed market and competitive analysis in order to maximize the market share and profit.  

C) Conduct Market Tests

A product manager’s job includes conducting market tests to understand the viability of the product in the market and the challenges associated with the product. 

D) Gathering Customer Feedback

The product manager should gather customer feedback from prototypes or mock-ups and communicate the results of this feedback to the appropriate team members. The feedback gives the manager a lot of perspective about consumer behavior and consumer needs which should be incorporated while making decisions. 

E) Management Reporting

The product manager needs to keep the rest of the management informed about the progress and new advancements. He/she should ensure that all the activities are in line with overall organizational goals.  

F) Monitoring Product Results

The product manager should monitor the performance of the product in the market by studying key performance indicators like revenue, cost savings, margin, market share, customer feedback, etc. This is a very important step as it provides several important information that will aid the decision-making process and help deal with shortcomings.    

Conclusion:

Some other product manager duties include enhancing the value proposition, developing distribution channels, analysis of product portfolio, ensuring the conversion of product strategy into detailed requirements and prototypes, refining promotional and marketing messages, coordinating and managing product launch, etc.      

A product manager should have excellent interpersonal, communication, and project management skills. He/ she should work well under pressure, be a multi-tasker, problem solver, and should be a team player that enjoys collaborating with others. Strong leadership skills and the ability to persuade and influence cross-functional teams is a must for a product manager. Other qualities a product manager must possess include curiosity, drive, initiative, positivity, creativity, etc.

References:  

http://www.sanandres.esc.edu.ar/secondary/Marketing/page_114.htm

https://www.appcues.com/blog/product-manager-skills

https://www.aha.io/roadmapping/guide/product-management

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