What does it take for a product to succeed in any market? There are plenty of theories with multiple metrics to take into account that can be very helpful but all around it but it comes to a few basic elements like the usability of the product, its efficiency, the user experience, and the satisfaction of the client or end-user.
But behind all of these elements and KPIs that operation management requires to determine the viability and success of a product there is a key role that cannot be overlooked: the product manager.
This role emerged from the need of having someone that will be exclusively responsible for the ideation, the creation process, the strategy phase, and release, to be aware of the feedback and how the product is doing beyond the point of execution. All of these items mean that the role of a product manager is not exactly easy.
Commonly people think product management is more of a marketing task or just for marketing companies, but the reality is that tech companies need these types of managers as well and with very specific knowledge too since they will have to report to an engineering head, these product managers will be forced to focus on engineering details like technical specifications and requirements.
Now, what is the role of a product manager?
According to TheProductManager.com, “a product manager is someone who can make soup out of stone. If this is being vague, it is because the role is not easy to pin down. Product managers have influence over cross-functional teams, and are often leaders, not managers, in the sense that they have no direct authority and no large teams assigned to them.”
Since they play a crucial role in every stage of the product life cycle and have to know just enough about a lot of different areas and topics since they are a jack-of-all-trades in an organization. That's why sometimes people get confused between the roles of a Project Manager and Product Manager but make no mistake, these roles might work together but their goals and tasks serve very specific purposes.
For example, while a Product Manager is focused on defining key metrics for product success and understanding consumer needs, and relaying them to the product team, the Project Manager is determining key goalposts like project scope, timeline, and budget estimates and collaborating and communicating extensively with leadership and stakeholders. Let's say that the Product Manager is the thinker and the Project Manager is the doer.
But ultimately the end goal of the product manager is simple but incredibly complicated as well: deliver successful products. And in order to achieve it they need to be quite skilled in certain areas:
- User Experience:
A few courses in UX design can make a great difference! Here are a few courses that I can recommend, they are excellent for developing basic and intermediate knowledge of UX/UI:
2. Product Strategy:
Product strategy is important because you have a high decision-making power in the face of a new update or add-ons to the project.
3. Project management:
Either you work with one that really knows what they're doing o you’ll be in the need to learn to use project management tools like ClickUp, Trello, Asana, etc. to manage tasks and workflows
4. Stakeholder management:
Always have in mind the importance of maintaining good relationships with the people who have the most impact on your work. Good communication is key to keeping projects afloat.
True, it is not an easy choice if you want to become a product manager, but the end result of a job well done, is no better reward!