MBA students at business colleges worldwide have identified product management as their ideal career. Due to growing demand, colleges are beginning to offer new majors and programs devoted entirely to product management.
“How do you become a product manager?” you might wonder.
A product manager is similar to a marriage counselor in many ways. They both gather people in a room and force them to talk and listen to one another until the problem resolves.
It’s funny, but it’s crucial to remember that it’s all about confronting a problem head-on and making it go away with all necessary parties.
Since product managers are in charge of everything, they must guarantee the treatment of any issues as promptly as possible. To do so, they’ll need to gather all of the necessary parties in one place.
Engineering, design, customer success, sales, marketing, operations, finance, legal, and other functions touch a product, and product managers are the glue that holds them all together.
Product managers in the past were primarily concerned with execution and were evaluated based on the timely completion of engineering projects.
On the other hand, today’s product manager is gradually becoming the product’s mini-CEO (and they certainly are!)
They not only make the decisions about what develops, but they also have a say in every element of its construction and launch.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at What a Product Manager Is and What They Do.
A product manager finds the consumer demand and company objectives that a product or feature will meet.
Articulate what success looks like for a product and rallies a team to make that vision a reality.
In other words, a product manager discovers market problems that need to be addressed and then leads the team that will address those issues.
PMs are responsible for optimizing a product to meet business objectives and user requirements while maximizing the return on investment.
They integrate company strategy, design knowledge, the client’s needs to build a relevant, viable, and valuable product.
Pro Tip: A good product manager makes an effort to meet deadlines, but a great product manager recognizes that deadlines are far more complex.
The responsibilities of product managers differ based on the size of the company.
Product managers, for example, are embedded within teams of specialists in larger firms.
Researchers, analysts, and marketers aid in gathering information. Whereas developers and designers oversee day-to-day operations, drawing up designs, testing prototypes, and identifying flaws.
Product managers in smaller businesses, on the other hand, spend less time persuading everyone to agree and more time doing the hands-on labor that comes with developing and carrying out a vision.
A good product manager will spend the majority of their time on a small number of tasks.
Let me tell you that every successful product manager lives by the adage, “The value is in what is used, not in what is developed.“
You can imagine how complex product management would be in a world without product managers.
A Day in a Life of a Product Manager:
Let’s take a look at what a typical product manager does daily.
A product manager’s day includes research, analysis, and strategic planning time.
Connecting and communicating are the most crucial aspects of their day. This entails holding regular core team meetings and meeting with support regularly to ensure that they assist customers and extract any critical market input they may have.
Their day also includes:
- Checking in on the development team’s progress
- Reviewing demos
- Answering queries
- Assisting dev teams with user story grooming if necessary
They must also remember to follow up on campaigns, discuss product marketing strategies, and evaluate the success of the marketing KPIs.
With only a few hours left in the day, the PM has accomplished a great deal. After all, developing a successful consumer product isn’t a walk in the garden.
They spend time learning and evaluating the market by reading analyst reports, influential blogs, competitors’ product literature, news about the market, and so on.
This involves analyzing new features, functionality, or adjustments to the product’s user experience’s adoption data.
A significant portion of a product manager’s day includes recording critical takeaways from meetings (support-team meetings) and ensuring that those data points reach the appropriate stakeholders.
PMs also devote time to formulating issue descriptions and hypotheses, which they distribute to the appropriate parties.
As a PM, they maintain a backlog of short, mid, and long-term product feature ideas.
It’s critical to consider whether or not these concepts make sense in light of recent market movements or data assessments.
As you can see, a lot happens during the day in a product manager’s life.
Challenges Faced by Product Managers:
Product managers face so many obstacles daily that covering the breadth and depth of issues in one sitting would be impossible.
As a product manager, you must also navigate market shifts, sales volatility, and employee turnover.
Your job is one-of-a-kind in a company, and as a result, it’s one-of-a-kind complicated.
Choosing the Correct Product for the Right Market
The difficulty of finding the correct product-market fit for a new product is an age-old one in product management.
According to successful product managers, it’s always been the greatest difficulty in startups.
One of the reasons is that they do not have product-market fit even though they believe they do.
The Temptation To Be a Reactive Product Manager Rather Than a Proactive Product Manager
It’s easy to fall into a habit of dashing from fire to fire, quelling emergencies as they arise, with so many diverse team members tugging your attention in different areas.
To be a good product manager, you must focus on your overarching goals and objectives. These are the things that will have a significant impact on your company and your future.
A reasonable rule of thumb is to focus 80% of your time on the 20% on activities that will significantly impact your product’s and organization’s success.
Identifying the Business Issue You’re Attempting To Solve
Most companies do not precisely describe the market/business challenges they aim to solve while developing new goods or processes.
Such businesses reach fast decisions, squandering resources, missing opportunities, and pursuing projects that aren’t in line with the company’s objectives.
As a result, it’s critical to identify and articulate your company’s problem.
There’s a Conflict Between Your Short- And Long-term Product Management Goals
Effective product managers function with a forward-looking product strategy and a short-term tactical plan. They use these strategies for dealing with more immediate challenges to achieve top results with their goods.
Be aware that short-term tactical tasks have shorter deadlines and a higher sense of urgency. This diverts your time away from the crucial, more comprehensive vision and long-term target work you must vigorously pursue.
It is essential to learn how you can balance your time and commitments as a fully engaged product manager and build strong collaboration and conflict resolution abilities.
When the stakes are high and deadlines loom, these will come in handy.
You understand how multitasking works and why it is so important. This is a talent that every PM should possess.
Even though multitasking is a common talent among product managers, most successful innovators, singers, filmmakers, and entrepreneurs emphasize the necessity of singular tasking. This means giving one task your complete attention.
While a product manager may feel that managing stakeholders, multiple prototype tests, and budget planning can work simultaneously, this is not the case.
In actuality, one may be accomplishing less than one desires.
How Can You, as a Product Manager, Overcome These Difficulties?
Some things, as product managers, you have to learn by experience. As a result, joining an expert community is a fantastic method to share your knowledge, thoughts, worries, problems, and, most importantly, your experiences.
Slack communities, Facebook groups, and various other platforms are available. Some of these resources are tailored specifically for product managers, while others are more general but useful.
Product managers worldwide eagerly share their experience, wisdom, and encouragement on these beautiful product management forums.
Mind The Product
Mind the Product is a Slack group for product managers’ main community-driven website.
It is one of the most extensive product professional networks in the industry.
The group aims to assist product people in “pushing our craft ahead together.”
Today, they essentially do it through member meetups around the world.
It began as a ProductTank meetup for product managers in London.
The ProductTank event is now held in over a hundred places worldwide, making it the most popular international product management community.
With over 277 channels, there’s a place for anything related to product management, including getting a job.
It’s a tech-business school that offers a unique curriculum for the next generation of product managers, with 20 schools worldwide and an extensive product management community.
A network of over 62,000+ product managers will support your quest for a successful career.
Membership in Product School gives you access to a network of hiring managers, tech professionals, and mentors. The Product School community offers a massive resource network too.
The Product School Slack channel has over 30,000 members.
The administrators hold weekly AMA sessions where you can pick the brains of PM thought leaders from companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. It’s one of the most popular features in this Slack community.
If you’re an aspiring product manager or just curious about the evolving product management industry, join the Product School Slack group.
It hosts the world’s largest free product management community and publishes Medium’s most popular product management blog.
The community highlights thousands of articles on PM subjects, and thousands of product managers exchange ideas daily in a busy Slack channel.
You may even contribute your content for possible publication on ProductCoalition.com.
The Product Coalition’s crew manages a Slack community with over 5,000 members and its successful Medium website.
Nearly half a million product managers, designers, developers, and entrepreneurs read articles on The Product Coalition.
Product Manager HQ
Product Manager HQ is a community dedicated to helping you advance your product knowledge, network, and career. This community serves as your training ground, complete with product mentors who are always available.
They work together to help you learn more quickly and progress effectively.
There’s a place for you in the world’s largest Slack product community, whether you’re an inspiring product manager hoping to shift from a dull job to a product position or the product manager of Google.
Product Manager HQ has put together a plethora of resources for PMs.
Give it a shot, and you’ll see what I mean.
Women in Product
Women in Product is a group dedicated to ensuring that women have equal access to and representation in product management positions.
It’s an online community where women in product management at all levels can connect, share advice, and perhaps find work.
“Almost every product woman has a collection of stories like ours. When we talk about women in technology, women who work in product roles are rarely mentioned,” says the creator Merci Grace.
As a member of Women in Product, you’ll have access to the community’s dozens of conferences and other live events throughout the year.
You’ll also have access to the official community newsletter, which includes conversations on important product management themes and success stories from other women in the profession.
The purpose is to recognize one other’s achievements, exchange expertise, and develop abilities to advance your careers.
The Rands Leadership Slack
The Rands Leadership Slack origins “to enable long-serving, new, and aspiring leaders to learn from one another through dialogue and idea-sharing.”
We placed this Slack group on this list because being a successful product manager entails more than just creating unique products.
Product managers that have a lot of experience also manage and lead employees.
We strongly recommend joining this community to improve your people management abilities and network with senior executives.
Product management networks are a lifesaver.
Simply put, the product manager’s role is to communicate two essential points.
What game are we playing?
How do we keep track of our progress?
And if you want to be a successful product manager, the above communities will teach you how to do it.