Chapter 1 — What is Product Management & What does a Product Manager do?

 

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With the growth of tech companies and non-tech companies foraying into digital space, (Digital) Product Management has evolved as a separate function.

Furthermore, in a world, where a user has tremendous choices, has low switching cost and is influenced from the social network (through rating, reviews, and recommendations); making a great product matters more than ever. Therefore, that’s the key function of Product Management.

So, what does a Product Manager do?

In simple terms, they are the critical link between Business, Design, and Engineering.

Source — © 2011 Martin Eriksson
Above Venn diagram might not provide an accurate illustration of the scope of Product Management. You can refer to the following illustration where I’ve tried to capture the scope (mind it this is Non-Exhaustive).
Scope of Product Management
Product Manager Focus Areas

At a high level, we can classify the focus areas of product managers into 3 types as shown below.

product management
Source – https://productlogic.org/2014/06/22/the-product-management-triangle/

Although the responsibilities of a Product Manager has wide variations in various companies, we can still summarize the primary role of a PM as follows:

  1. Identifying Profitable Opportunities — by understanding the market, overseeing the products already in the market and researching into user’s needs
  2. Defining the Product — deciding which features to be present in what releases based on market, target users, and impact of each features on different user groups
  3. Guiding the development — by writing requirements, user stories and prioritizing features based on effort and impact
  4. Scaling the product — defining Go to Market Strategies, understanding the user interactions, experimenting and focusing on what’s working and leaving out what’s not, deriving and using market insights
  5. Product Strategy — Managing road-map as a function of the market, keep product goals aligned with company’s goals
Product Manager Role

The following illustrations explain the core skills and roles of a Product Manager and the immediate function that each of the roles touches. With a fair idea of what a PM does, let’s move on to the next chapter where we’ll understand how to develop a thorough market understanding.

Next Chapter — Chapter 2: Developing Market Understanding — Idea Conceptualization, Incubation & Validation

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