What is a Product Manager? Role definition and skills required

A product manager plays a critical role in an organization. The manager is in charge of recommending and making an evaluation of a company’s product. As a manager, you are responsible for the blueprint and strategy of that product.

The head of product combines various expertise such as design knowledge, strategy, and customer needs to realize a valuable product. The manager will study the competitive market conditions and create a product based on the customer’s demand.

A product manager guides his/her team and motivates them to achieve their goals and success in selling a product. The manager should understand and coordinate the different abilities of his/her staff. The objective of a manager is to optimize sales and increase profits for a company.

Roles of a Product Manager

The head of product is responsible for the product in its whole life cycle. Two significant roles of a head of product are:

Setting strategy

The head of product should set the product strategy and develop a road map to help implement the vision of the company. A manager does extensive research about the market, the customer, and the problem you plan to solve.

You analyze the available information, including statistics, customer feedback, and research. As a result, you develop a vision that you share with your company.

The manager should then develop a product strategy. It entails the customer base the product will serve and how it will benefit them. Additionally, product strategy establishes the company’s goals for development in its entire life cycle.

During the development of a product, some issues come up that distort the plan and development of the product. A clear product strategy is essential as it acts as a reference to you and your team, allowing you to adjust accordingly. And make intelligent strategic decisions in case unexpected changes crop up.

Defining Releases

A product lead handles product release, which essentially means launching a product. Together with his/her team, the manager turns the product strategy into a working plan against a timeline. It requires planning work phases, identifying risks, and meeting clear expectations.

A successful release requires meticulous coordination of tasks, dates, and people. Customer feedback and evaluation of product progress goals help achieve successful freedom. It is crucial to have a release roadmap to help the team track milestones and dependencies. As a result, the stakeholders are aware of the progress and well informed about the plan.

Essential Skills Required by a Product Manager

The following are the essential competencies required by a head of product for him/her to excel at work:

  • Strategic thinking: As a manager, you need to possess strategic thinking to develop a product vision. Then, it would help if you created a roadmap on how you will achieve it.
  • Empathy: A manager must engage his/her customers and develop a solution to their needs. It takes skills to be able to relate to your customer’s needs.
  • Leadership: As the term dictates, a manager has the leadership qualities to lead a group of teams. A good leader is diplomatic and compassionate and can handle his/her team without being a dictator.
  • Communication: Without a doubt, to be an exceptional manager, you need to possess excellent communication skills. A manager should effectively and pass critical information to different stakeholders, including customers, salespeople, developers, and executives. No information should be lost when giving information across the board.
  • Research: A good manager should be able to understand your customers and market. You should carry out extensive research to not miss out on anything that will help you actualize your product vision and bring customer satisfaction. A great manager then consolidates all the information and shares it with his/her team to reference.
  • Technical: A manager should have basic tech knowldege. You do not have to be at the level of an expert, but you need a handle of the basic technological knowledge. These skills come in handy, especially in making release plans. IronHack has ample programs that can boost your technical expertise.
  • Financial: A manager should analyze several financial elements such as operational costs, pricing, and generated revenue. Part of your team includes the accountants and the salespeople. Working together cohesively and sharing information across the board will help you gain some financial knowledge.
  • Analytical: Data analytics is crucial for product development, especially in strategic planning. Data analytics analyzes raw data to look for trends and metrics on a dataset. A manager should have the tremendous analytical skill to find patterns and understand the metrics. The designs and trends found once data analytics help improves a business’s efficiency and performance.
  • Project management: Developing a product and launching it takes a lot of coordination. A manager coordinates a team that has different personnel from different departments. You need to bring them together cohesively to develop and launch a product. Through IronHack, you can boost your career by learning superior product management expertise.
  • Presentation: A manager is responsible for giving demos and presentations at conferences. Realize you need to provide presentations to your customers, your production team, and the management. Presentations should be concise, engaging, and relevant for your audience. A manager ensures a presentation has passed the information it should give.

Conclusion

At times the managers’ job descriptions may appear to overlap. However, each role adds distinct value to an organization. You offer strategic directions that help in achieving product goals. Moreover, you oversee the efficiency of the tech team. As a product lead, you will also act as the organization’s link to external customers, end-users, and partners.

Product heads can join IronHack’s global tech community to sharpen their technical competencies. Or if you're thinking of a career change, Ironhack can help you develop the required skills on an intensive bootcamp, or studying remotely throughout the year. Find the course that suits you today.

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