Product development is not an altruistic activity: the only reason you develop a product is to create more profit than if you hadn’t done so.
Who is a product manager?
A product manager is the person who identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill, articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality. After more than a decade of working in this field, I managed to acquire a complex understanding of how products work and what it really means to be a product manager.
What does a product manager do?
The product manager is the person responsible for defining the why, when, and what of the product that the engineering team builds. This means they lead cross-functional teams from a product’s conception all the way through to its launch. Product managers are responsible for guiding the success of a product and leading the cross-functional team that is responsible for improving it.
A regular day for the product manager often involves being bombarded with requests from clients, questions from team members, instructions from the boss, and a hundred tasks to juggle and decisions to make. There’s a lot of work to deal with as a Product Manager, but it will also end up rewarding when everything comes into play.
Delegating and finding what tasks can be prioritized and which initiatives are the very best in a sea of good ideas is a crucial aspect of the process.
Product Manager Responsibilities
Specific responsibilities vary depending on the size of the organization. In larger organizations, for instance, product managers are embedded within teams of specialists. Researchers, analysts, and marketers help gather input, while developers and designers manage the day-to-day execution, draw-up designs, test prototypes, and find bugs. These product managers have more help, but they also spend more time aligning theses stakeholders behind a specific vision.
With newer products, such as those about to launch or recently launched, the team is often focused on shipping a minimum viable product (MPV). PMs focus on cutting non-essential features to strip the product down to just the essentials. This allows them to launch faster and to begin the process of learning what customers really want.
A good product manager will spend his or her time on a handful of tasks.
- Understanding and representing user needs
- Monitoring the market and developing competitive analyses
- Defining a vision for a product
- Aligning stakeholders around the vision for the product
- Prioritizing product features and capabilities
- Creating a shared brain across larger teams to empower independent decision making
There are different variety of tools out there that are used during usability tests as well. But lots of brands including me use some of those tools depending on where am currently working on - referring to the project or what I am trying to achieve. One artifact might be better than others depending on the project. Below are some different types of artifacts that have made my testing more efficient and successful!
As a product manager, I am the advocate for the customer. My job is to learn their needs and translate those needs into product goals and features. Then I’ll make sure those features are built in a cohesive, well-designed way that actually solved the customer’s needs. I have learned to lead my team without authority, influencing them with my vision and research.