Product Manager Responsibilities
Product managers and companies keep asking us, what are the product manager responsibilities? What is to be done when? Why do I have to do this and that?
Let us first ask ourselves: Why is this question asked so often?
As we have noticed time and again, most product managers have previously worked in engineering, marketing or sales. One day they suddenly become a product manager in their company because nobody else is there.
If the company is very technically oriented, the product manager responsibilities are usually called user stories, requirements and technical specifications. In companies in which sales and marketing are very pronounced, market statements and sales support are often mentioned.
Discussions with managing directors, on the other hand, often show a lack of confidence in product management because the information that management needs for decisions is inadequately delivered in both cases. Thus, management does not have a sufficient basis on which to decide on investments and long-term strategies.
In the end it always leads to product management being completely dense with operational and tactical responsibilities, having no time, being quite dissatisfied with one's own situation and one's own job.
But why doesn't anyone in a company really know the responsibilities of product managers?
As we noticed at the beginning, almost all product managers come from other departments, but nobody had a real product management training in which is explained what, when and how to do.
Nurses, bricklayers, policemen, all receive trainings and everyone knows what his responsibilities are and what he has to do when.
The work of a product managers has a considerable influence on company decisions amounting to hundreds of thousands or even millions of euros. Everything without training and with the missing knowledge of the responsibilities.
Therefore product managers are trained in our Product Management courses, learn with the help of the Open Product Management Workflow™ as well as its tools, what the product manager responsibilities are and how these are to be completed professionally. In addition, they learn what the goal of the individual work steps is, how they are related, and how they provide fact-based decision templates for management and all other departments.
Define & complete Product Management responsibilities with the help of Open Product Management Workflow™
In order to be able to explain the responsibilities of product managers more simply, we use the Open Product Management Workflow™ to help. By the way, the Open Product Management Workflow™ was developed by us because in our practical work with product managers in companies we have experienced time and again that our colleagues always find it difficult to perform tasks and work in the correct order precisely at this point
Open Product Management Workflow™
- Course: Strategic Product Management
- Course: Technical Product Management
- Course: Successful Go-To-Market
Let's take a look at the workflow. At first glance, many boxes are noticeable which contain the individual product management responsibilities. These task boxes are divided into three colors. Each color stands for a task section that simultaneously describes the activity and role of the respective product manager.
The blue section contains all strategic, innovative and business responsibilities of product management. For this reason, this section or activity is also referred to „Strategic Product Management“.
The goal of all product management responsibilities in this section is to help derive market-based strategies and create decision templates.
Everything that is done in this strategic section also creates the basis for all other activities and sections such as Technical Product Management and Go-To-Market.
The time that the product management invests in the responsibilities of the strategic part reduces the wasted time for tactics.
As a product manager, you start where you get the most information, at the customer. The task is now to find out which problem costs the customer time and/or money and whether he is willing to pay money to solve this problem.
A balanced relationship between the company's own customers, the customers of the competition and the potential customers has to be found.
For easier orientation, the individual responsibilities in Open Product Management Workflow™ were grouped into phases again - see bottom bar.
Thus, the phase interview is always followed by the phase of identifying the problem, persona and scenario. This is followed by the analysis phase, which is important for the subsequent derivation of the individual strategies.
The phase check helps to determine business success with the help of key performance indicators and to check the type and value of innovations. The phase check also helps to answer the questions Build, Buy or Parnter?, i.e. develop yourself, buy or partner. Buy, Build or Partner does not only refer to technology, but can also affect decisions regarding markets, sales channels and communication channels.
From all information, which resulted from these product management responsibilities, one can derive now all strategies.
The last step in strategic product management is the consolidation phase, i.e. the summary of results and derivations in the form of a business plan with calculated figures, the business case.
To ensure that only market facts that can be continuously and dynamically adapted are consolidated in the business plan, product managers receive templates and tools in our Product Management courses the "Agile Business Plan™ " developed by us. With these templates and tools, it is possible to execute each individual product management responsibilities in such a way that the results lead to a fact-based decision template.
Technical Product Manager Responsibilities
The orange section of the Open Product Management Workflow™ contains all the responsibilities of a technical product manager or the responsibilities of a product owner.
This section begins with setting up and convening of a technical product team.
With this point, the product manager's responsibilities expand abruptly, because in addition to the product, the product manager is responsible for forming, informing and managing virtual teams. The virtual teams are the technical product team and the Go-To-Market-Team.
Experienced product managers know that they do not manage a product, but that a very important task of the product managers is to form, inform and manage the virtual product teams.
The technical product team jointly performs product management responsibilities such as the definition of user persona).
In order to set up use scenarios, to evaluate requirements and work packages for a 100% marketable product with the help of our requirements scheme, all responsibilities of strategic product management must be fulfilled.
If the strategic product management responsibilities have been insufficiently completed, there will always be requests from the development department, the prioritization will often be changed by the management or sales department or the product manager will be pushed into it. This leads to dissatisfaction in development and with the product manager himself.
Responsibilities Go-To-Market and Product Marketing
The green section of Open Product Management Workflow™ contains all the responsibilities that need to be fulfilled for a Successful Go-To-Market.
In Go-To-Market, the product manager is also the first manager of a virtual team again, namely the manager of the Go-To-Market team. For most tasks, the product manager will provide the information and message. The design of packaging, advertisements and technical demos will be carried out by specialists who are dependent on the input of the product manager.
The results from strategic product management also serve as a prerequisite for a successful Go-To-Market. Without these results it is impossible to formulate and deliver the correct market message, i.e. the added value for each buyer persona of the respective market segment. The result of product management responsibilities from the strategic part, is also reflected in the sales materials and on the company's website.
Do you want your sales force to be able to conclude deals more quickly and prevail against the competition? Then he needs the arguments that show the buyer-persona which problem is solved for her and how she saves time and/or money.
From whom does the sales department receive the arguments for the individual buyer persona?
I think you know.
As you can see, the product management responsibilities are versatile, above all not only business management or technical. If you want to have a deeper insight into the responsibilities of a product manager and want to learn the tools that enable product managers to complete all tasks professionally, then visit our Product Management courses and get trained as a professional leader of your product.
About the author
Frank Lemser is a trainer and founder of proProduktmanagement. He has been a market-driven evangelist since the beginning of the 2000s and since then has also been methodically involved with product management. He has developed the Open Product Management Workflow™, numerous tools for product managers, written and published books free of charge and was involved in the development of the Product Management Dashboard for JIRA. His personal goal is to solve many everyday and work problems for product managers, to professionalize and simplify the work for product managers.