What is the Product Manager and what activities do they perform? The figure of the Product Manager The Product Manager or Product Director is the
The Product Manager or Product Director is the figure that has the responsibility of identifying the needs of consumers and satisfying them through the development and delivery of products. This includes the research part prior to the development of the product, the strategies and the marketing plan after it so that the reception by the market is as optimal as possible.
The PM (Product Manager) is a position found between the business, technology and user experience departments, working as an intermediary and bridge between said teams.
Additionally, the PM must have good contact with the development department. This is because the PM must be able to understand what problem to solve (what) and why (why) it has to be done. It will be their function to coordinate with the product development teams and programmers (if the product is digital) to understand how the product has to be created (how).
Traditionally, the Product Manager has come to be defined as the CEO of the product, since this will be the one who outlines the objectives and projects in coordination with the rest of the teams and departments in order to achieve the objectives of launching and constant improvement.
We have to take into account that the demand for Product Managers has increased sharply with the arrival of technology companies and the digitization of the rest of the business park. In a world where technological barriers are close to 0 and where the greatest competitive advantage is having a product that solves your consumers’ problems flawlessly, this position is more important than ever.
In this sense, the functions of the Product Manager are summarized in:
In addition to those previously described, Product Managers will also have some functions such as:
Now, this is the general structure of the work of a PM but there are many other variables that we have to consider in order to analyze what the day-to-day life of a Product Manager is like:
As we have said in previous points, the PM’s job is to identify the needs of potential customers and develop products that cover them. This will vary greatly depending on the sector in which the company operates. It will be very different to work in the pharmaceutical industry than in the automotive industry or in the Software as a service industry.
Therefore, the best PMs are those who have previous experience in the world in which they will work.
The size of the company will also be another of the variables that makes the work of a PM radically different.
For example, if you work for a small business or a startup, chances are that as a PM you will have more autonomy integrating more verticals that affect the product. From coordinating the development team to drawing up marketing strategies. However, they will be more incipient, small products that will require a higher rate of change and iteration.
On the other hand, if you work for a large company or corporation with much larger products and a large customer base, your share of control over the product will be much more limited. That is, you will dedicate yourself to optimizing a small part of the product. However, the final impact on the consumer can be enormous. Think that improving billing by 1% due to better onboarding in a product used by millions of people is a very high impact on the company’s accounts.
Product Managers or product managers must complete adequate training before they can be considered for hire. In general, this professional profile usually has at least a degree in business administration or related. This, plus a complementary postgraduate training such as the Master in Product Manager will help you have more opportunities to be chosen.
After gaining some experience in the sector we want to dedicate ourselves to, PMs usually also complement their training with an Online MBA to have a more global vision and specialize in aspects such as business leadership, finance, strategy and operations.
At this point, we are going to analyze what are the key skills that a good Product Manager must have:
The Product Manager is the profile responsible for making things happen. In order to achieve this, it is crucial that as a PM you are able to communicate with the different departments, people and stakeholders that are directly or indirectly involved in the product. When different parts of the organization do not understand each other, information is lost, there are errors in execution and, worst of all, it affects the quality of the product.
This ability not only includes effective communication but also negotiation (perhaps a department has to delay a deadline due to work overload and you have to avoid it), conflict resolution or the motivation of the work team on the toughest days.
A PM should be a catalyst for internal and product innovation by helping teams brainstorm ideas. However, what is important here is that the PM will be responsible for maintaining a holistic vision without ever losing sight of his main objective: the delivery of value to the final customer.
It is of little use to have planning and data analysis skills if we are not able to integrate it into the development of the product. This skill is execution. Being able to bring the plans to their actual development. But, in addition, it is not simply executing these plans, but it will be necessary to prioritize which product features to work on first and which to leave for later.
Within the job of the Product Manager you will have to meet frequently with users of your product and with potential users (they do not use it yet and this will also give you important information). The best PMs have the ability to empathize during user interviews and other research methodologies so they can gain insights.
Finally, we will highlight emotional intelligence as another of the key skills that a good PM must have. Many times things will not turn out as we hope they will and this can make it a very stressful job at times. For this reason, it is important to have the ability to control emotions and continue to transmit a positive and optimistic image to the teams (always realistic) so as not to decrease motivation levels.
Now yes, the time has come for you to know what types of Product Manager exist so that you can choose which one (or which ones) best suits you:
Acquire the management skills necessary to develop your professional activity successfully.
This profile is the perfect match for the Growth Hacking professional, which we will talk about later. It could be said that they cannot live without each other, and later you will understand why. Both work in product management applying technology and psychology. What sets our community builder apart is its ability to create a group of people working around a product. From customers to partners, going through all areas of the company. The good management of a product will only be possible if all the actors that participate in the process know how to take care of it. For this, a culture of community is also needed.
The added value that defines this type of Product Manager is his vision and desire for collaboration. You should never put aside the main objectives of the company such as financial gains or work on Customer Experience to position yourself above the competition.
Its own name says it, it is a profile specialized in technology. For example, if a business has a mobile application, this profile is responsible for promoting it so that it can profitably position itself in a competitive market. His added value is that he has business acumen, is good with data and has endless technical knowledge. You can work your way up the ranks to become the CFO of the company.
Every data specialist should have knowledge of Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Today’s businesses can no longer afford to do without specialized profiles in big data and other technological skills. Its added value is the ability to analyze and read data, it knows how to interpret it to make decisions about products with the information gathered from users.
This profile is directly related to the data specialist, since one cannot work without the other. The metrics professional knows how to treat the data to apply it to different metrics and discover, for example, how users are behaving, how much time they spend on the product, if they are satisfied or the revenue or customer acquisition costs. They have analytical and customer retention and conversion skills.
The Growth Hacker is the profile specialized in the growth of the company. In increasing your benefits and the number of users and conversions. They are highly sought after by companies that have high volumes of buyers where the buying journey is a long way to go. Its added value is that it knows how to work conversion flows very well and helps consumers find what they are looking for.
This profile is the most creative among all the types of Product Manager that exist. He knows very well how, aesthetically speaking, to show the company and the products. As added values, it works very well on the brand image and makes the products attractive to customers.
One of the most indisputable needs of the digital age is the application of agile methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, Agile), which streamline team tasks and facilitate communication between them. In addition, you must know all the digital tools to carry it out. His added value is his ability to Problem Solving (problem resolution) and knows how to coordinate teams.
Product Owner Vs Product Manager
For those of you who have heard of the existence of Product Leads and do not understand the difference between the two profiles, we are going to see the functions of this other professional.
Product Leads are the main people responsible for new products within a company. When large corporations launch an entirely new line, they need experienced and trusted professionals to lead the way.
That is, these professionals spend most of their time liaising between different departments and communicating, in turn, with senior management. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that the final product is delivered on time and on budget, which means that schedules and targets are central to their lives.
Well yes, it remains to be defined what activities a Product Manager carries out in his day to day. Among these, the great external activity that it develops stands out. Whether it is with advertising agencies and suppliers, with the sales network, with clients, whether they are opinion leaders or minor clients, etc.
Of course, it does or should do a lot of internal activity, not only to ensure the implementation of marketing plans, but to develop its own “internal marketing”. That is, to make presentations and, above all, to attend many, many meetings, which unfortunately, in many cases, are of little value to Product Managers, but which they must attend because they are a figure within the organization. It is important.
Chapter apart, they deserve the trips. Product Managers must travel to establish joint outings with the sales network, attend congresses, attend training courses, etc. Today, the need for personal contact is basic, contact with the sales network, regional managers, customers, etc.
Seeing first-hand what is happening, “living” the day-to-day of the sale, hearing first-hand what an opinion leader proclaims, in short, “being” involved in the product, requires that a Product Manager journey.
With all this, are we done with the activity of a Product Manager? Well no, what we are living every day remains, and it is the stressful activity that is experienced on a day-to-day basis due to the progress of the market, due to daily sales, because every day small problems appear that must be solved so as not to become big problems, etc. You must be attentive to the happy email, in which messages do not stop entering, and which must not only be read, but act.
The fact that the majority of Product Managers are professionals trained in these disciplines is due to the fact of the technical complexity of the products that must be managed. Although if we take a look at the consumer market, the majority of professionals come from university degrees that have nothing to do with their basic training.
On the other hand, Spain is one of the countries with the least training in languages in Europe, especially English. Well, perhaps this point is as important as basic training, given that most of the companies that operate in Spain are multinationals. It is also important for national companies since contacts with foreign leaders are frequent and the survival of national companies depends on extending their activity beyond the Spanish state.
Therefore, not only should one study, but also be able to communicate, understand what our interlocutor tells us and, above all, be able to transmit the same thing as if we were doing it in our language.
Since most of the people who choose to be Product Managers or Product Directors have dedicated themselves to studying university disciplines that have nothing to do with marketing, we will have to do something. For this, there are MBAs and those specialized Masters, such as the MBA Online or the Master in Product Manager.
The problem begins when we think that having studied a university degree already gives us the knowledge to be a Product Manager. We may know what the products are and how they work, but what we don’t learn in universities is how to sell them. Therefore, these further studies are essential. We can draw a parallel with doctors, once they finish their university studies, they must carry out specialization, because in our case it is the same.
There are several reasons to train to be a successful Product Manager. One of them is that it has positioned itself as one of the most sought after profiles by recruiters. A report from the Randstad company published that the average salary of the Product Manager is about 41,000 euros gross per year, placing it in fifth position on its list of most in-demand jobs in the areas of Marketing and Sales.
In this field, in addition, the forecasts continue to be positive since the profiles related to the Customer Experience continue to grow. For both physical and digital businesses, customers increasingly seek to live experiences during their purchase, and the Product Manager must be a specialist in this. In fact, the rise in demand for customer experience jobs has seen a significant increase over the past two years.
What is the Product Manager and what activities do they perform? The figure of the Product Manager The Product Manager or Product Director is the