The distribution of a product manager’s responsibilities are split fairly evenly between invention and innovation. They manage costs, price, production, and promotion - keeping companies within budget and protecting profit margins. All this while still processing continuous feedback and making regular improvements to product features.
What is a Product Manager?
Product management is considered a task that comes hand-in-hand with overseeing the launch of a product. Although this role certainly plays a part in the majority of job descriptions - it’s just one segment of a bigger picture.
In fact, over 80% of product managers are involved with product development from the very beginning: helping conceptualise and design the product from an initial idea into a prototype - long before it’s ready for the market (Source: McKinsey & Company). Product managers even undertake a variety of competitor and customer research in order to identify the perfect target audience, working closely with stakeholders, sales and marketing teams to ensure the success of a product’s future.
Product Design and Development Process
Product design and development is a complicated process that involves teams from different departments to work together. For example, in the case of mobile application development, software engineers and user experience designers would need to come together to create a platform suitable for end-users.
Product managers oversee these communications, leading conversations and organising schedules to allow R&D to keep ticking forward. This is a time-consuming process where many individuals are distracted by other projects, making a product manager ever more important.
They create and follow a product vision, roadmap, adhering to strict deadlines and business goals to plan how a product should progress during its lifetime.
Competitor and Customer Analysis for Products
Product managers have to ask themselves a series of hard questions and collate the right product information when researching competitor and customer data, researching what is already available on the market, what works, and what could be done better. They also have to identify the perfect price-point to encourage customers to adopt a new product when there might already be substitute goods available.
Product managers are excellent mitigators of risk by involving themselves in every process and ensuring teams work in harmony. High levels of communication are essential between development and sales teams, and managers aim to keep investment into R&D low to achieve a positive ROI.
Market Launch and Growth
After preparing a product for the launch stage, product managers still have work to do.
They explore key data points to help boost market growth and analyse customer feedback using CRM tools to improve their offering. They need to consider the number of purchases (or downloads in the case of a mobile application), usage times, devices used, and retention rates. Their purpose becomes driving further product acquisition to expand the “growth” segment of each lifecycle.
(Source: Harvard Business Review)
Product Strategy and End-User Delivery
Product managers have to understand customer needs and requirements. They review the product from the eyes of a customer, and this is done through:
Conducting stakeholder interviews.
Developing user stories and case studies.
Market research and focus groups with real people to identify user personas.
Researching and analysing reviews.
Delivering the best possible product.
Through development, product managers have to balance the needs of both the end-user and the business. This is a fine line to walk that takes care and attention to those around them.
The Scope of Product Management
Product managers working in a typical organisation should prepare themselves for a dynamic work environment where they operate closely in cross-functional teams with product owners, developers, designers and data scientists/engineers. The scope of their work stretches from product creation to end-user satisfaction.
What Skills Do Product Managers Need?
You only have to look at a selection of product manager job descriptions to realise that the role comes with a whole host of responsibilities, and there are over 36,000 open UK positions advertised on LinkedIn alone (Source: LinkedIn).
It is not a position for just anyone and requires a keen eye for detail and an incredible level of accountability. Product managers are often placed in the firing line, and, when something goes wrong, they are the brain that finds the solution.
In addition to being strong at decision-making, they need to be experts in:
How to Get A Job in Product Management
The average product manager in the UK earns £53,012 per year (Source: Glassdoor). This is an attractive salary for job seekers who want a challenging and innovative job environment where they are able to use a range of interpersonal skills to make an impact on the world. From the sample size of 5,000 salaries, around 4% work in entry-level positions.
Aspiring product managers should have some experience across either engineering, design, testing, business analyst backgrounds.
Recruiting Product Managers with Xcede
As product managers need such an extensive range of skills from a variety of sectors, choosing the perfect product manager for your team can be a difficult undertaking. Data, Digital, Technology, Cyber, and Embedded firms are recommended to contact Xcede.
We are global technology recruitment specialists who source employees, selecting the top talent for every single one of our clients looking to fill jobs in product management. Our dedication to finding experienced candidates with the right skills allows your business to concentrate resources elsewhere while we fill the gap in your workforce.