Product management encompasses a wide-ranging area of responsibilities, and the role itself means very different things in different companies and organizations. It is the practice of strategically driving the development launch and continual improvement and support of organizations’ products.
It can be viewed as an organizational function that guides every step of a product life-cycle: from development to pricing and positioning through focusing on the product and its customers at the foremost. To build the best possible product, product managers take feedback from customers within the organization and make sure that their voice is heard and considered.
Because of this focus on the customer, product teams routinely roll out higher performing and better design products. In tech, where well-established products are quickly uprooted by better and newer solutions, there is more need than ever for a detailed understanding of customers and the ability to create tailored solutions for them.
This is where product management comes in and is vital.
The ins and outs of product management include a variety of tactical and strategic duties. Most product managers or product owners don’t take all these responsibilities by themselves. Most companies have teams and departments working under a product manager.
Product management’s customer focus is also something that informs marketing efforts. Instead of sticking to the brand idea and using previously established techniques, product management teams often integrate the customers’ language into their product. The ability to stand out and vast knowledge of the competitive landscape is what pays dividends in the long run. Here are five tips for successful product management, which can help your company thrive.
Communication skills are an essential but top tip when considering what it takes to be a successful product management team. There are various aspects of the job that rely on the prowess of this ability. Product management teams need to be great listeners to solicit and gather feedback, and they must also know how to work these relationships and practice customer empathy.
A vision, goal, and roadmap should be defined, after which product managers must socialize these factors of the product to the entire organization. It is about creating alignment and getting the whole company on the same page.
This is where the product development organization comes in once the product managers have a concrete plan for the product to begin taking shape. This includes collaborating with engineers, architects, and quality assurance teams.
Finally, there should be another round of communication and coordination as the product gets ready to launch. This is where product management must educate and edit marketing plans for the development while also providing the same sales team with the necessary training.
- Technical Skills.
It isn’t a debate that a product manager or management team should have some level of technical understanding. According to Digital Authority, companies mostly work with software products, and that requires some fundamentals for a meaningful dialogue with engineering. Know-how of whether or not a certain amount of technical debt is being created with their decisions is essential and manages to keep down existing debt.
They should also have enough knowledge about the product and be able to relate to the customers they intend to serve. However, it is not a hard and fast rule that product managers must know how to code or run an SQL query. Though these are some practical skills, a product manager won’t be doing these things on a daily basis and can delegate it to the team or hire a technical product manager.
- Organisational Skills.
One will find that you often have to shift between tactical and strategic focus during product management. Going from discussing your product with industry professionals or your CEO in the morning to diving into detailed discussions with your developers after lunch.
If a management team wants to be effective in all of these contexts, you need to stay organized at all times. You should be able to keep your high-level strategic information handy at all times as well as keep up to date on the news about features and other product details.
According to surveys, some of the most common product management complaints about the roadmaps were that they do not contain enough key information or do not help the project product managers prioritize effectively. This leaves stakeholders with outdated information.
The product roadmap is often the central and the most crucial document product management uses to help drive its development. Using a product roadmap software designed just for this purpose is one of the best ways to get and stay organized. This is how one can always easily refer to update and communicate the right information to the appropriate parties.
- Business Acumen.
Product management may or may not carry responsibility for the product’s revenue, but they are integral to ensuring that the product is strategically and financially successful.
While defining a vision or goal for the product may come from the founder or executive team, product management must own it once established. Other duties such as assessing requests from customers and prospects and finding product-market fit are also things that require keen business smarts.
To do so, the product management team must think strategically as no choice is small or inconsequential. They must actively consider all possible consequences to avoid a negative impact on the customer experience of sales.
- The Ability to Evangelise your Product.
Successful product management includes serving as the product’s ongoing cheerleader and reminding all parties that their work will be worth it when the product hits the market and makes a real difference for the company. Products often have a lengthy development cycle, and while all of the teams involved might be enthusiastic initially, that enthusiasm can deter with time.
In other words, one of the most useful product management skills is the ability to keep everyone’s eye on the prize, especially when they might lose sight of it.
Ultimately the answer to “what is product management” is that it is all about strategy. It is the job of the product managers and the management team to develop the product strategy and persuasively communicate it. Then they ensure all decisions concerning development, marketing, etc. and reflect and support the process.