Introduction to product management

How would you go about materializing a product that you have in mind? First, you have a rough idea about how you would want it to look and function in the end. Then comes the process of idea formulation and product creation which requires time, effort, resources, a team to work with and a leader to direct things. Every company has to go through several stages from ideation to developing a product to turn the initial idea into a profitable product. This is where product management comes into the picture. Fundamentally project management is the process of planning, developing, marketing and continuous development of the product produced by any company. 

The process of project management has been around for decades, and its roots can be traced back to a memo written by Neil H. McElroy, who was the president of Procter & Gamble in the early 30’s. The memo also introduced the idea of a ‘product manager’, the person who would be tasked with the growth of a brand. Fast forward to the 80’s and product management experienced tremendous growth due to the explosion of the software industry. Ever since the term product management has stuck mostly with companies that create software.

  1. What is Product Management?
  2. How do you become a product manager?
  3. What is the role of Product Manager?
  4. Types of product management
  5. Process of Product management
  6. Objectives of product management
  7. Roles of product management
  8. Responsibilities of product management
  9. Benefits of product management
  10. Skills of product management
  11. Tools of product management
  12. Product management job description
  13. Salary

1. What is Product Management? 

In simple terms, the goal of product management is to bring a new product to market or develop an existing one to release a better version. It is driven by the need of a customer and how they would interact with the product such that it brings value to them. Product development then performs the task of uniting the development teams with the marketing and sales teams to ensure the vision of the company to bring forward the product is realized. In simpler words, project management’s task is to translate the objectives of the business into engineering requirements and vice versa.   

All products are created for a purpose, whether it is solving problems or entertainment or performing a functional role as a cog in the bigger system. It applies to both physical products and software; all products serve some user need. Therefore it is essential that any product that is created through a long process has a purpose and brings value to the end-user. It is pointless to create a well functioning product that no one needs! 

Therefore the task of product management is also to discover products that are usable, valuable and also feasible. To define the terms precisely, the product is ‘valuable’ if it solves or fits a need that somebody has. It is ‘usable’ when the end-users are able to quickly learn how to use it, and the functions are intuitive enough that they will continue to use it without getting frustrated. ‘Feasibility’ means that the product can be created without haemorrhaging money and resources or that it is good enough to outperform the competition in the market. At this point, product managers decide what is worth building and what is not. 

On an everyday basis, product managers need to engage in a number of strategic and tactical tasks. However, they don’t need to take on all the responsibilities, and neither does the product owners. Many of these tasks are divided among the teams or departments in most companies. However, there are certain aspects that are common all product professionals, and they include: 

  • Conducting research: It’s essential to gain insight and expertise in the company’s market to develop valuable features that serve a need that one of the other competing products do or to do it better than others. Research also involves building user personas and analyzing the competition. 
  • Strategy development: The teams will have to pool in their collective knowledge of the industry and the market and drop it into a broader strategic plan for the product. The strategies involve goals, achievable objectives, a generalizing overview of the product being developed and even chart a rough timeline for the first release. 
  • Communicating Plans: A working strategic plan has to be developed using a product roadmap and presented to the key stakeholders within the company. They would include investors, executives, development teams, etc.  There needs to be ongoing communication across the cross-functional teams along the development process and after that. 
  • Development Coordination: Once they receive the go-ahead for the product’s strategic plan, they will have to coordinate with the relevant teams such as product development, product marketing and others to start executing the plan. 
  • Data analysis and action on feedback: Once the product is released into the market after the building and testing, data needs to be gathered from various means and even feedback from end-users.  This will determine what works, what doesn’t, what need to be improved, etc. This feedback is incorporated with the relevant teams for the product’s future iterations. 

Since there is much overlap between different functions, there is often confusion between project management vs product management. There’s a common misconception that product managers own every detail of the product’s development. Therefore it is essential to understand that project management is fundamentally strategic in nature. It deals with the “why” of a product’s creation. 

2. How do you become a product manager?

For those looking into how to start a career in product management, it is first essential to understand what a product manager is, what they do and what are the essential skills set to become one. 

The creation of all tech products requires teamwork between multiple departments in the company, such as engineering, IT, marketing, sales, etc. These inter-departmental teams are led by product managers. While they have little actual authority over the teams, product managers have to use their people skills such as emotional intelligence to harmonize different stakeholders around the vision they have for the product.

The role of a product manager in tech companies strangely requires no skills in coding, adding mystique to the role. While having coding skills won’t hurt, it is more important that they have a vision, a strong sense of direction and why the product matters and managerial finesse. Product managers are always striving to improve what is already in existence and are also required to distinguish valuable ideas from duds while garnering stakeholder support. 

Any aspiring product manager needs to have three essential qualities while scouting for the role: emotional intelligence (EQ), core competencies and company compatibility. Along with having managerial and people skills, it is essential that aspiring product managers work for companies that are right for them. 

Emotional intelligence (EQ) 

Emotional intelligence, like the name suggests, is the ability to empathize with others and understand all the points of view. This means a product manager needs to know the do’s and don’ts of a customer interview and also be very mindful of their expectations, emotions and body language. Product managers who have a high EQ are able to skillfully navigate in both the internal and external hurdles and deliver a great product in the end. High emotional intelligence is a foundational character trait that enables many other essential skills the product manager needs to possess, such as:  

Relationship management: This is one of the most important skills that product managers need to possess. Relationship management is the ability to form authentic and trustworthy connections with stakeholders, both internal and external, to help them reach their full potential. It is a crucial skill needed to manage conflicts, negotiation and working toward the shared goal despite the challenges. When trustworthy relationships are built, it is easier to get support and funding for projects or having people give their full co-operation in times of need. 

Self-awareness: Product managers need to be quite objective and self-aware of their own preferences and avoid projecting it on to the products. Being the super-users of the products themselves, they will have to ensure their love or preference for a feature in the product does not cause others to accept it just because the product manager loves it (false positive feature validation). Lack of self-awareness can lead to the prioritization of a feature that may not have any importance in customer interviews. It would lead to the engineers building features that aren’t adapted by the end users and failed confidence in the product manager. 

Self-management: Product manager role comes with an incredible amount of stress as they will have to deal with all the stakeholders and their conflicting interests or approaches. On top of that, they will have to manage tight deadlines, market demands, revenue targets, resource constraints, prioritization conflicts and more. If they cannot maintain calm and grace under pressure, their constituents will quickly lose their confidence in them. 

Social awareness: Empathy is a foundational trait for social awareness. The means product managers understand customer concerns and emotions about their product as well as they understand the pain points of the engineering teams who build it and the sales teams who have to get the product going. 

Core Competencies

These general core competencies are something all product managers must possess. While some of them are picked up in a classroom, many are developed through experience mentoring and good role models. Some examples include: 

  • Conducting user testing and customer interviews
  • Running design sprints 
  • Road map planning and feature prioritization
  • The skill of resource allocation 
  • Performing market assessments 
  • Translating business requirements to technical requirements and vice versa 
  • Revenue and pricing modelling 
  • Success metric definition and tracking

Company compatibility

You may have all the core competencies and a high EQ, but unless you find the right company to work for which is compatible with your interests, principles and other technical skills, it may not guarantee success. This is the reason why there is no standard definition for a product manager job description as every position is defined by other parameters such as type of product, size, industry and even the culture. 

Getting into the product manager role:

There are three ways through which you can get here: 

  • Through specialized product management training: You can start by taking up any online product management courses or attend training at any reputed institutes offering the course. 
  • Through an MBA: Generally, professionals gather 3 to 5 years of experience before taking up an MBA program. This builds vision and leadership skills which can help you land a junior product management role. 
  • Learning on the job: The third path to the role is by learning on the job and racking up experience to land the position. 

3. What is the role of Product Manager?

If you are working on how to get into a product management role, there are a few essentials that need to be understood about the role of a product manager. Product managers possess both a deep knowledge of the products and the strategies required to deliver it successfully. Here is a breakdown of the roles of a product manager: 

Identifying opportunities: It is up to the product manager to recognize the opportunities for the product, maybe it is to develop a completely new product based on a market need or to develop an existing one and add features that are required. The product manager possesses an in-depth knowledge of the market trends and goes ahead with the support when the company decides to improve a product or build a new one. 

Developing a vision for the product and a strategy: The product manager defines the long term mission for the projects and articulates the business value of a product to the product teams. Then, a clear and realistic plan of how to reach the long term objectives is laid out. In fact, the primary activity of most product managers is to develop a strategy according to one study.  The strategy involves defining a clear roadmap and emphasizing important areas of resource allocation, so the activities important for the product goals are prioritized. 

Stakeholders and team management: It is the role of product managers to ensure the demands of the stakeholders are met by harmoniously uniting all teams to achieve product goals. The requirements have to be clearly communicated to the development team and have the development process run efficiently. 

Marketing activities: Product success depends heavily on how well it is marketed. Product managers will have to collaborate with the marketing teams to assess industry trends, conduct market research, collecting and analyzing user feedback, define pricing and coming up with a marketing strategy. 

Defining product releases: Product managers are required to chart out planned work that has been translated from the product strategy. This means they will define the expected deliveries from the teams and a timeline for the same. The release process will be managed by the product manager, and all the activities needed to bring new features to the market will also be coordinated. All of this requires that the gaps between different teams such as marketing, sales and customer support are bridged by the product manager. 

Prioritizing features: Prioritizing product features is a critical task as a lot of trade-offs will have to be made based on the value the features will deliver to the customer. Product managers will have to rank the importance of features against the strategic goals and initiatives in order to develop the most valuable feature. The product managers will also define the requirements of each feature and align it with the desired user experience.  

Continuous product improvement: Along with developing the vision and strategy for product development, product managers will also have to drive teams to continuously improve existing products to keep it relevant in the market. They will have to constantly work on gathered data by analyzing it and testing on new iterations. 

https://www.aha.io/roadmapping/guide/product-management/what-is-the-role-of-a-product-manager

4. Types of product management 

Product management is a vast and generic subject which cannot be encompassed by a simple definition. If you are just starting out, then your product management skills will eventually be honed in one of these types of product management: 

Tech product manager: People who are technically oriented will find this type of product management role to be quite appealing. The tech product managers have a background in the bare technology of the product they are building. While their main task remains as all the other product managers, they can often get involved in trying to solve engineering problems and end up as engineering managers. The primary role of tech product managers is to define why a product has to be built and what has to be built while leaving the ‘how’ of it to the engineering teams. 

Analytics/Data science product manager: The analytic product manager is similar to the technical product manager except that the former enters product management roles from a background in data and analytics. It is only the strongest of the analysts who can make recommendations that can influence industries that can move into these roles. The analytic product manager has the most information about the product as they have insight into all the testing and feedback data.

Business product manager: These product managers have a background in the fundamentals of business and probably an MBA as well. Others without the specialization can come by working with fast-growing startups and new companies with demanding tasks in multiple business domains. Their main skills are in the business aspect of the organization and have little understanding of the actual technology that goes into the product. 

Marketing product manager: Marketing product managers have an incredible depth of knowledge and understanding of the market and the customer. They know the personas of their customers, why they wish to buy the product and their end goals. These product managers often have a background in marketing areas such as PR or advertising. They will know what feature of the product sells and what is irrelevant. They also have a keen understanding of the impact of proper marketing is adding to the product’s appeal. They are essential members of the product team throughout the cycle. 

Growth product manager: All organizations have problems with their growth. Some can’t generate demand at low cost, and others can’t meet supply after they have generated the demand. Growth product managers step in to solve these problems. However, since the challenges vary from one organization to another, the role has no standard definition.

Visionary product manager: The visionary product managers have their sights on the long term future of the company. They normally come from a background as founders of startups and don’t usually engage with the everyday tactical execution tasks that consume most other product managers. Their expertise is in the company itself, the market, the existing users and potential customers. Their thought timeline extends to over the years and not just months

https://blog.usejournal.com/the-5-different-types-of-product-managers-12a841cae8d2

5. Process of Product management

Product management doesn’t really have a universal playbook. The fundamentals of it, however, are the same in most organizations. It involves participation and contributions from various departments with the product managers harmonizing the things into these seven main processes of product management: 

Idea management: Teams and individuals come up with plenty of ideas, most of which cannot be tried and tested due to time and resource constraints. One way to filter them out is to brainstorm or hold customer interviews or testing it against competitors. If that still doesn’t yield any valuable result, the idea is saved for a future time.

The product management is responsible for idea generation and managing by developing a transparent system to collect, aggregate and store the ideas in case they become relevant at some point. This also means keeping in the loop the originators of the new ideas for products on the state of their suggestion so that they realize there are many other stakeholders who are competing for possible implementation.

Specifications: Once an idea is selected and categorized, it is time to get down to the finer details. The product specification was written should be simple and not overly technical. It should be able to answer what and why of the product being built, what the goals of it are and how the success is measured. The collaborative input of all the stakeholders to answer these basic questions must bring the teams to a consensus before moving ahead. The level of detail that goes into the product specification depends on an individual, organizational style which can vary from the waterfall environments to the Agile workplaces. 

Roadmapping: A roadmap is a birds’-eye-view that shows the steps that need to be taken to meet the product vision over the defined timeline. This visual document shows the stakeholders where the product stands currently, where it is headed and how it is going to get there. The roadmaps are the most updated document one can find on the product strategy are they are frequently corrected to reflect the variables such as market changes, customer needs and desire shift and internal issues with meeting milestones. Roadmaps also offer flexibility in the visualization to the stakeholders when new information flows in as a result of technological advances. 

Prioritization: This is a continuous process what decides which feature of a product should be built and which can take a back seat or get entirely scrapped based on how much value it brings. Priorities have a prominent place on the roadmaps and are continuously adjusted to respond to market changes. Prioritization must balance the most important issues the stakeholders are complaining about and the other features which are known to be essential to the medium to long term strategy for the product. 

Delivery: Delivery in simple terms is where the product specs are handed over to the development teams so the engineers can start building and shipping the product. At this point, the product management takes a step back and hands the control over to the engineers and projects managers while serving mostly in the advisory role. The delivery method can change based on the process employed by individual organizations. Those that go by the waterfall model will have bulk releases that are spaced few and far between and ship the product only when testing is completed. The Agile organizations have smaller releases with chunks completed in sprints and only doing iterative improvements. 

Analytics and experimentation: Once the product is released to the customers or even for beta testing, analytics gives an important insight whether the features or changes that were delivered brought value. Experimentation allows the developers to continuously test a hypothesis about features and make the product better. 

Customer Feedback: Customer feedback is the final test that offers an insight into the solutions that were put into solving problems. Feedback comes through multiple means including usability testing, customer interviews, general conversations, support requests and other sources which must all be captured and organized for a detailed analysis. 

https://www.prodpad.com/resources/guides/product-management-process/

6. Objectives of product management

The function of product management is to manage the products throughout its lifecycle. It is done through planning that is in line with the corporate strategy to maximize customer satisfaction and profit. Its objectives can be divided into these five board categories: 

Planning: The most basic element of product management is planning and developing the specifications for the product such that it can meet the long term strategic plan. Product planning can give companies a significant competitive edge in the market and meet customer needs to boost sales. When the vision about the product’s attributes is clear, a strategy can be charted out to place the product in the market as soon as possible to gain a market foothold. The strategic plan may involve the release of iterated versions or whole new associated products that are set to meet the market demands. It can also be extensions or improvements to the existing product to meet the market demands or outperform the competition.  

Customers: Customer perception and satisfaction is a key element that drives the success of any product. Product managers must ensure that they deliver a product that meets or exceed the customer’s requirements. A happy customer who has been helped to make the right choice can help in growth through recommendations; therefore enhancing their user experience is an important objective. All of this happens through stages of the customer lifecycle, which begins with helping the customer making the right choice and moving to the customer using the product. To do this effectively, product management will have to work with the customers to utilize their feedback and improve the products to deliver more value and improve usability. 

Success: The final measure of good product management is the product’s commercial success. It starts with the revenue indicator and goes all the way to what the customers are telling others about the product. While most product managers do not have the responsibility for the specific loss and profit, the financial results cannot be underestimated. Commercial success can only be achieved with the product managers harmoniously coordinate the activities of different departs and teams to build a robust product that will win hearts in the market. 

Delivery: Product managers have to maintain strict timelines to stick to the product and budget objectives. To respond to market demand and stay ahead of the competition, they should be able to complete product development targets on time and on budget. This also means making tough product line decisions where a product is withdrawn when it no longer serves the needs of customers or adds any value to their process. Doing so helps reduce haemorrhaging resources into dead-end projects and rerouting the same to new or improved products to the market on time. 

Marketing: The objectives of product management and marketing management overlap in most of the areas, which is to maximize profits by meeting customer needs. While some companies combine the roles, others have product managers working closely with marketing managers to best leverage the feedback data to improve the product. 

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/general-objectives-product-management-17376.html
https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/general-objectives-product-management-16248.html

7. Roles of product management

Since product management involves many overlapping demands, there is much confusion over the job titles, roles and hierarchies. Here is a list from the bottom of the Product management roles: 

Associate Product Manager

The associate product manager is an entry-level position for those looking to build a career in product management. In larger companies such as Facebook and Google, the APM is a rotational apprenticeship. They are usually recent graduates who are being trained with hands-on work in real projects to eventually grow to full-time positions. 

Junior Product Manager

Junior product managers are those who are joining the role with some experience in the industry. They normally have backgrounds in engineering, business, design, customer support, business analysis and more. They usually operate under a senior product manager and work on a smaller area in product development. 

Product Manager

The product manager is more of an umbrella term that covers people of different experience levels. What it means is that a product manager at a company like Facebook has a much bigger role and is more experienced than a product manager at a startup. Generally, product managers work independently from the development teams and need to possess a wide range of skills and experience to take up the responsibility. 

Senior Product Manager

A senior product manager is pretty much the same as a product manager, except that their title is recognition for their relative importance or their contributions in the past. They are also tasked with monitoring and mentoring the junior product managers. 

Product Lead/ Lead Product Manager 

The product lead is one of the recent evolution in the roles and refers to a very senior product manager who works on a critical product for the company. However, these managers do not have the task of managing other product managers; they are a separate entity who stay on a more hands-on role with the product and leave people management to others. 

Product Director/ Group Product manager 

The product directors have fewer contributions as individuals at a hands-on level and step back from the everyday tasks to concentrate on leading other product managers to help with their strategies. At this stage, people management and soft skills are the most critical requirements.  

VP Product/ Head of Product 

The VP of product is very similar to a director but is a role that is seen in large organizations with more managerial layers and product offering. In a startup, this is the most senior product person. Their job at this point is also to manage other product managers, and in many organizations, they will also be managing the team budgets. 

Chief Product Officer (CPO) 

These are the senior-most product managers in any organization and represent the product at the C-suite level. They overlook product strategy and team alignment in most parts of the organizations. At the start-up level, The CPO is the same as the VP of product. 

https://airfocus.com/blog/product-management-roles/

8. Responsibilities of product management

Product management plays a critical role throughout the product lifecycle management and shares multiple responsibilities all the way from the ideation phase to discontinuance. Here are the major responsibilities: 

  • Ideation: The product management is responsible for soliciting ideas for improvements on features in existing products or new ideas altogether. The different ideas are evaluated before prioritizing and choosing the one best suited for the market from the rest for development and testing. 
  • Analysis: product management maintains a steady insight into the market and awareness of what competition has to offer. Through this surveillance, they are able to tell the changing customer need. Having a keen understanding of the competition, what they are offering and what they can come up with is also critical to new product discovery and development.
  • Preparation of VOC plan: The product managers are tasked with planning the data collection for the Voice of Customer (VOC) in the early developmental cycle. The plan will lay out how the interactions with customers will go in terms of talking, scheduling investigations, interviewing techniques, market research, focus groups and resources required. 
  • Customer needs and requirements development: Based on all the information gathered, the product managers will have to develop an understanding of the customer needs and the risks around not fully grasping the needs as well. Then the market potential and costs are assessed. Finally, a comprehensive requirement set is generated based on the needs and requirements of the customer. 
  • Value proposition and product positioning: The product requirements will have to be balanced with cost to maximize value proposition. Here techniques such as conjoint analysis or alternate value assessment methodologies are used to maximize product value. The overall strategy, product line plans, customer needs and competitive analysis is used to position the product in the market. 
  • Roadmaps and forecasting: Roadmaps are visual representations of the strategy and are updated constantly to reflect the variables that contribute to it. Product managers then use a reasoned approach based on market data and predictions to forecast customer demands. The process is refined by comparing the forecast with actual numbers to improve the forecasting model. 
  • Product portfolio: Product portfolio planning is done based on supporting analysis, and the product manager engages with management in portfolio planning.
  • Communicate plans and strategy to management and teams: Product managers lay out the strategy to the management to get the go-ahead for their support and minimize surprises. The rest of the teams are also brought up to date to get consensus and ensure complete understanding of the program. 
  • Get customer feedback: Using mock-ups and prototypes, the product manager gathers customer feedback to make further corrections and updates for the project. 
  • Promotion and distribution: The product manager works with advertising, marketing and PR firms/departments to formulate the promotional messages for the product. Then they work with their distribution channels to improve efficiency or get with new channels if needed. 
  • Establish pricing: The market is thoroughly evaluated along with competition and internal costs to develop product pricing that maximizes profit. 
  • Product launch: The product manager is responsible for coordinating the product launch, and the product is promoted proactively to the analysts, social media, customers and press.
  • Manage product lifecycle: Based on analysis of how the product is performing the product management makes decisions about how to improve existing features, upgrade on a continuous basis or even reposition when needed. Towards the end of the product lifecycle, the process of discontinuing a product is also managed. 

9. Benefits of product management

In the modern product development climate, the bottom line is cutting costs and minimizing redundancy in every process. Product management in every organization is the one process that is tasked with connecting business objectives with the market needs while maximizing value. Here are some ways in which product management benefits every organization: 

Build strong collaboration between internal teams: Product managers have the responsibility of weaving together cross-functional teams such that they work in harmony to deliver in the shortest possible time. They are instrumental in managing the ambiguity that exists between the different teams and creates clear boundaries and roles for everyone to perform their best. Product managers are always in tune with market trends and know what to expect. Their use their insight to work with the sales teams to recognize the best opportunities to sell the products. These also help with recognizing potential trends and new opportunities or realize trouble at a distance so the damage can be minimized. 

Lower risk of product failure: Product managers are all about the market data and the preparation that leads up to building a robust business case. With a strong business case, a product has a lesser chance of failure in the market, the chances are never zero, but it is a whole lot lesser. They collect market information and match it with the assumptions to lower failure as much as possible. The business case built by the product managers has to be compelling enough for the stakeholders to invest their resources in a high degree of confidence that most user scenarios are thoroughly examined and even tested to a certain degree. 

Translation of business to technical requirements and vice versa: The product manager has a unique role as a translator of business process layouts into technical information for the teams that work on every product. Due to the translator role of the product manager, the individual teams will have a lesser burden of grasping the higher details of the roadmaps and instead focus on best serving their current role. 

Aligning organizational objectives with market needs: Product managers are completely entrenched in the customer needs and market understanding to the degree that it can solve market problems in a way that is aligned with organizational objectives. Well, before the product is developed, they validate if the market that exists for the product is sizable and can bring value to both the internal and external requirements. To do this optimally, they need to have an intrinsic understanding of the goals, desires, motivations, emotional and functional needs of the customers. 

Future-proofing of organizations: It can be said that product managers have one leg in the market and the other in the organization. Their unique position in the organization offers them complete visibility into the internal functions, and their knowledge of their customers and market trends help them guide the organization to respond to the external stimulus. They are able to well anticipate market changes on the horizon and start a response internally to meet the change such that it is least taxing on the organization when there is a sudden disruption. 

10. Skills of product management

To become a successful product manager, you must possess both the Hard and Soft skills needed to handle technicalities and people. Here is a list of both: 

Business and product knowledge: 

While many of the business skills needed to become a product manager can be picked on the job over the years, it won’t hurt to have a business degree to get a leg up in the concepts and terminologies. Some of the essential things they need to know are revenues, profits, cash flow, budgeting and more. Product knowledge is just as critical as business knowledge. They need to know what they are selling if they wish to sell it well. While they don’t need to know the nitty-gritty details of the product, they show know who needs it and why it would bring them value. 

Research and Analytical skills: 

Product managers will have to be thoroughly aware of what the customer wants and what is out there in the market. That means knowing how to conduct research in the market and extracting useful data. While gathering the right kind of data is one aspect of it, analyzing it correctly to extract meaningful insight requires a whole other set of skills. Product managers should be proficient in catching the right information and predicting trends based on extrapolation. 

Prioritization and knowledge of development principles: The job of the engineering and technical teams is to come up with a multitude of solutions to product-related problems. While they may all be useful, it is up to the product managers to recognize the one which brings the most value and float it to the top. On the other hand, product managers should also be able to empathize with the engineering teams without getting too technical and wasting time on conversations that go too long. While some product managers perform well with a technical background, others do well in handling the development teams without it. 

Amazing listening skills: one of the core traits of successful product managers is their empathy for the stakeholders, internal teams and the customers. This means they are great listeners who can thoroughly understand where the other person is coming from and bridge all worlds to keep the machinery running smoothly. They need to be able to listen to understand openly without personal preferences or biases. 

Excellent communication skills: To successfully get the idea to move, product managers should be able to effectively communicate the strategy to the various teams involved, stakeholders and customers. If they cannot have everyone on board giving their support, there will always be room for failure. Therefore product managers must be able to convey complicated technical information or the business information in simple terms such that everyone stays on the same page regarding the product. 

General organization skills: Product managers will often find themselves interacting at various levels. They could be on a strategy meeting with the CEO and analyst in the morning and interact with the development teams after lunch. Therefore they should be able to switch often between strategic and tactical mindset and roles during the day.  To stay effective at both levels, product managers must have their high-level information at hand at all times for the strategic role and yet stay updated about all product details. 

Ability to maintain enthusiasm: Many products have long development times and the team’s spirit, and enthusiasm wanes overtimes. It also happens that sometimes there are setbacks that hit the team morale hard. In times like these, product managers will also act as cheerleaders to keep everybody’s spirits enough and meet deadlines. It is their job to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize and keep working towards the goal 

11. Tools of product management

Project management tools that can be implemented heavily depend upon the budget available and the size of the organization. While a smaller organization can make the best out of the ‘freemium’ options available to them, the larger ones can afford to pay for full services. That being said, here are product management tools that are designed for every process: 

Prototyping: Prototyping is the most basic of all product creation processes, and you need something that works just enough before you go to the actual thing. Here are some popular prototyping tools: 

Roadmapping: This fundamental product management process requires tools developed specifically to support product managers in the digital realm with a thorough understanding of their mindset.  

Prioritization: While this might seem pretty straight forward, it could get tricky when contending with multiple ideas for multiple features. These tools can add and enhance the skill of product managers in prioritizing: 

Task Management: there’s always growing backlog in any business process. What is needed to improve downtimes is a great tool that tracks exactly what needs to be done to maximize efficiency. Many of the above-mentioned tools also assist in task management. JIRA, on the other hand, is great with Agile teams. 

Sprints: Companies working with Agile methodologies need sprinting tools to maintain their fast, iterative release methods. Here are some tools that are suited for it: 

Data management: Data is critical if any of the managerial skills, expertise and intuition of managers will have to mean anything with regards to the product. Tools that work both as spreadsheets and leverageable databases are the need of the hour. 

Transformation: There are certain tools product managers need to make big and rapid changes to adapt to a new circumstance. These tools are what they will need when they veer off the roadmaps.

User Knowledge: Separating customer feedback from the background noise is no easy task. With the right tools, it is possible to pick up what is valuable and respond to customer feedback. 

https://theproductmanager.com/tools/product-management-tools/

12. Product management job description

A generic product manager job description will tell you about the job responsibilities such as: 

  • Product development through identification of potential products. 
  • Conducting marketing research and generating product requirements.
  • Determine product specifications and production timelines.   
  • Pricing and product introduction plans. 
  • Developing marketing strategies

The product management resume requirements: 

  • A minimum of ‘N’ years of experience as a product manager
  • Proven success in defining and launching outstanding products 
  • More than ‘N’ years of experience in a related job in the XYZ market
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • A bachelor’s degree (preferably MBA)
  • Technical background with experience in XYZ
  • Outstanding teamwork skills
  • Demonstrated ability to lead cross-functional teams without formal authority
  • Must be able to travel frequently 
  • Examples of effective documents delivered in the past

The product management skills and qualifications: 

  • Product and People management
  • Understanding customers
  • Requirements analysis
  • Product development
  • Pricing and planning 
  • Competitive analysis
  • Sales planning 
  • Inventory control
  • Financial planning and strategy

These are some of the Job duties as a product manager: 

  • Determine the needs and desires of customers and specify the necessary research to fetch market information. 
  • Assess competition in the market by comparing the company’s product with competitors. 
  • Review product specifications and requirements and recommend the scope and nature of present and future product lines. 
  • Determine product market share and develop product sales strategies by working with the sales director. 
  •  Assess product market data gathered through field salespeople calling customers and evaluate sales calls results. 
  • Analyze proposed product requirements, prepare return-on-investment analysis 
  • Establish time schedules with engineering and manufacturing.
  • Develop time-integrated plans with production, advertising and sales to introduce new products.
  • Product pricing determination through review of production and sales costs, market research data, anticipating volume and customized orders. 
  • Product management staff recruiting, training and management. 
  • Stay up-to-date with the current trends and maintains technical knowledge by attending workshops, seminars, establishing personal networks, participation in professional groups and reviewing professional product management books and publications. 
https://hiring.monster.com/employer-resources/job-description-templates/product-manager-job-description-sample/
https://280group.com/what-is-product-management/roles/product-manager-job-descriptions/#:~:text=The%20Product%20Manager%20is%20responsible,ensure%20revenue%20and%20customer%20satisfaction

13. Salary

According to PayScale, the average base salary in India is INR 1,700,131. The base salary can vary between INR 710k with experience levels starting around 1 year to INR 3m for managers with 20 years experience.  

https://www.payscale.com/research/IN/Job=Product_Manager%2C_Software/Salary

Conclusion

To sum it up, Product Management is a highly dynamic role that primarily concerns with planning and strategy. Going by numbers, the marketplace failure of new products is 85! While there are many underlying factors to it, the major one is that most products aren’t prepared well enough for the market. This is where the role of product management becomes critical right from the ideation phase all the way to the testing and release. To build a successful career in product management, it is critical to have outstanding people management skills at the top level and have technical skills if you wish to stay hands-on with the product. 

If you wish to learn more about Product Management, our 6-month online PG Certificate Program in Product Management with IIM Indore is the reflect option for you! Check it out today.

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