With technological innovations rapidly popping up to the fore, there arises an urgent need for companies to restructure their product management strategies so as to launch innovative and pioneering products in the market. It is this need to constantly innovate new products and recreate old products with a new dimension that is pushing the magnates of the business world to invest in highly trained and skilled product managers. Also, with the industry inclining towards data-driven decision making and laying an increasing stress on customer experience and product design, product manager jobs are on the rise.
In the past, product managers had two core responsibilities – planning and executing the product development and management strategies and ensuring that all the projects deadlines are met with efficiency. However, today, the product manager job has become much more versatile and complex at the same time. According to a McKinsey report, product managers are now evolving as “the mini-CEO of the product.” In fact, the same report opines that product management has become the “new training ground for future tech CEOs.”
What Does A Product Manager Do?
A great product manager is someone who has extensive knowledge about the industry and business associated with their line of work. By combining design, development, marketing, and customer support, a product manager strives to innovate such products as will create optimum utility for the end consumer. While functioning as the advocate of the consumer, a product manager must always keep an eye out for the latest market trends and advances in technology and must try to find ways to incorporate such necessary inclusions in the company’s product management strategy.
So, what exactly does a product manager do?
Conduct Market Research To Identify Target Audience
Every product is created to serve a particular purpose and to cater to the needs of a particular audience segment. It is a product managers responsibility to devise strategies to help identify the primary customer segments that can be targeted and to understand the pain points of the various customer segments. This requires extensive research on the market and consumer behaviour by both qualitative and quantitative techniques such as leveraging data, conducting surveys, employing MVPs (minimum viable products), and so on. Once this is completed, a PM needs to carefully design the value proposition for the product, clearly stating the purpose of the product, how it can generate value for the end customer, and listing the reasons why people should purchase it.
Since the end goal is to create products that can optimize customer satisfaction, PMs need to conduct competitor analysis of your rival firms to better understand your strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, they can reposition the entire product management strategies to boost the utility quotient of the various products.
Build A Product Roadmap
Developing a well-designed product roadmap is one of the primary prerequisites for all product manager jobs. A product roadmap imparts greater transparency and visibility to the product development team, thereby allowing them to build quality products. The product roadmap has to include things like the value proposition of the product, metrics and KPIs, the complete list of deliverables, and their timelines and launch dates.
Also, while underlining the product roadmap, PMs must never lose sight of the financial aspect of the product. To ensure that a product is sustainable for a company, that is, it is continually creating value for the business, a PM must develop a concrete financial plan for the product. He/she has to ensure that all the set goals are met and monetized adequately.
Enhance User Experience
Optimising the user experience (UX) is essential for a product to stay relevant in the market. A part of a product manager’s job responsibility is to chalk out the desired customer experience by correctly identifying the buyer personas, describing their features and demands, gathering and elaborating on the user interaction, and building the visual design of the product by building and collaborating with a cross-functional team. Thus, a PM should be adept at creating various business scenarios, flowcharts, diagrams, consumer story maps, and user interface mockups, etc. Also, a PM should possess the requisite skill set to conduct product demos, A/B tests, usability tests, and all such UX testing processes associated with product development.
Increasing Demand For Product Managers
As we mentioned at the start, companies across various parallels of the industry are now increasingly investing in top-notch product managers to add value to their organisations. Product manager jobs have now taken a broader turn and are now entrusted with the responsibility of handling not only the product development side of things but also in seeking out key business partnerships, enhancing the entire developer ecosystem, and bringing in a certain level of ingenuity to the overall functioning of a firm. Here are the top five companies that have a highly creative product management team to thank for their success:
Amazon’s speedy delivery and well-curated list of products aren’t magic – it is the results of the efforts of Amazon’s super efficient product management team!
Qualifications Required for Product Management Role at Amazon –
Master’s degree in Business Administration/Management, Finance, Marketing, Engineering with nearly 2 years of experience as a Business Analyst, Product Manager, or any such related job role.
At PayTM, product managers are expected to take control of every minute detail of the product development strategy. Also, they are expected to be obsessed about technology and product innovation with a flair in communicating not only with the insider team but also with the outside world.
Qualifications Required for Product Management Role at PayTM –
Bachelor’s degree in Engineering with over five years of experience in product management and at least 2 years of experience with the Internet.
Online fashion platform Myntra is supported by a team of dedicated and passionate product managers who strive to maximise consumer satisfaction by creating a solid product roadmap and product development strategies that never fail.
Qualifications Required for Product Management Role at Myntra –
Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/MBA with over 7 years of experience in product management (specifically supply chain). Should possess excellent written and verbal communication skills as well as analytical and data mining skills.
At Microsoft, the product manager essentially focuses on the ‘big picture’ of things by collaborating with the entire developer team to assess and streamline the best course for product development and UX.
Qualifications Required for Product Management Role at Microsoft –
With a serving network of over 600 cities across the globe, Uber has come to be a premium cab service today. Product managers at Uber are required to chalk out heavily data-driven product development strategies in sync with the mission and vision of the company to continually expand its market reach.
Qualifications Required for Product Management Role at Uber-
Degree in Computer Science or Engineering with at least 5 years of experience in product management. Apart from this, a candidate should possess excellent communication and collaboration skill as well as strong technical and analytical skills, such that he/she can transform data into an actionable roadmap.
Product managers indeed play a crucial role in driving a company towards success and glory. They are the link between the product development team and the management, IT, and other small teams that together comprise an organisation’s core. Due to the ever-changing infrastructure of the market and the dynamic evolution of consumer trends, today, product managers have to juggle with advanced technologies and business models alike. UpGrad Product Management course is a great way to kickstart a career in this field.