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Blog

The Role of the Product Manager in 2020

by Stella Shkreli

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If you read our recent blog on The Rise of the Product Analyst, you may have noticed another new job title appear in the discussion: the product manager. 


In the past six months, the product manager role has jumped 110 places on the UK’s most in-demand tech positions, and it’s showing no signs of slowing.


To explain more, we’ve invited new team member and Product Consultant Stella Shkreli to this week’s tech chat. 


Hi Stella, thank you for talking to us today. Can you tell us more about the responsibilities of a product manager and why they’re in such high demand?


A product manager oversees a product from its initial conception through to final delivery, to ensure it’s delivered on-time and in line with budget, while being a successful hit with the end-user. It is the job of the product manager to ensure that the product is as good as it can be from a customer experience and technical stability point of view while also ensuring that the needs of the business are met.


As part of this journey, a product manager works closely with a variety of stakeholders, from designers and developers to clients and even potential users. 


We are continuing to see huge growth in demand which can in some way be attributed to  three principle reasons:


  1. The accelerated pace of the technology market means companies must act fast when developing and releasing new products. 
  2. Increasing customer expectations make it crucial that end products meet the demands and needs of end-users. 
  3. The boom in new businesses means it’s more important for companies to deliver successful and popular products that stand out from the growing competition. 

The pandemic has also had seemingly little effect on recruitment activity in this area. Companies are continuing to rapidly develop and release products with many needing to adapt to their customers' needs during the pandemic and while the role of a PM is to sit within the middle of multiple teams, working remotely has proven relatively successful thus far.


What type of products do product managers typically work on?


One of the best things about the product manager niche is that the products you work with can vary entirely. For example, you can work on a B2B SaaS-based platform or a B2C app, depending on the sector you’re in and the companies offering.

What does a typical day for a product manager involve?


Product managers manage the end-to-end life cycle of a product, so no two days are the same. At the beginning of a project they work on the strategy, roadmap and budget. Throughout the project they conduct testing, run experiments and do everything they can to ensure the end product meets the brief, is fit for purpose and exceeds customer expectations. 


What key skills does a product manager need to be successful?

Product managers tend to come from a range of different backgrounds but most commonly Engineering, Data, Marketing or User Experience and have experience with scrum and a variety of software, including Google Analytics and Confluence. 

However, the top skills for success centre around collaboration, communication and organisation. Product managers must work with and coordinate different teams, some of which are in different countries and working on multiple products at the same time. A successful product manager is one who can confidently instruct designers and developers, deliver feedback to stakeholders and engage end-users. 


What sectors are you seeing the biggest demand for product managers?


Currently, there is an enormous demand for product managers in FinTech and retail, especially with the rise of online banking and shopping. 


However, product management is still a niche, making talented candidates in high demand across all sectors. 

If you want to know more about the companies hiring product managers, or you want to expand your product management team, get in touch with our specialist product team to find out more.