What Exactly is a Product Manager’s Responsibility?
By Arijit Banerjee
This one joke about Product Management sums it up:
Q: What is the hardest part about being a Product Manager?
A: Explaining what you do, to your parents.”
Jokes aside, there is no clear answer to the question, ‘What is a Product Manager’s responsibility?’ There is no clearly defined standardized set of responsibilities as it covers a broad spectrum. Moreover, each organization has its own specific set of responsibilities, based on its product and business. Following is an attempt to list out the main responsibilities of a product manager.
- To be the company’s ‘product’ expert and stay up-to-date with technological advancements – The product manager is required to be knowledgeable about the product and advise not just management about the product, but also all the other departments involved in the process. This also includes reconsidering the future of the product if it does not align with the company’s vision.
- To be the customer’s representative – It is imperative that the product manager keeps the interests of the customer in mind throughout the product development process and is the expert on how customers interact with the product.
- Define and execute the product roadmap – It is the job of the product manager to communicate the vision for the product throughout the organization and keep the stakeholders updated on the standing of the product in relation to the product vision.
- Manage and communicate effectively between cross-functional teams – Different people and teams have different ideas for the future of the product. The product manager is required to be the glue that connects and unifies various stakeholders in line with the product vision.
- End-to-end management of the product through the entire lifecycle – The product manager manages the product right from the idea generation until its launch into the market. He/she also takes care of the after sales services (if any). He must study the market and ensure the best for the product, through its every stage.
- Develop and implement the launch strategy – The product manager must synthesize all the input and introduce it into the iterations of the product until the best version of the product is finalized. The strategy for the product launch should be determined by considering the product markets, customers and competitors by factoring in the sales and distribution channels and even the marketing strategies the company plans on implementing.
- Identification of new opportunities – Out of the many hats the product manager wears, he/she must also constantly look for new opportunities for the product. This could be enhancements to the existing product, introduction into new markets or even extension of the product line.
In addition to the above, a product manager is required to document the entire process and provide constant feedback to the company. All of this, while he/she continues to be an evangelist, business analyst, strategist, relationship manager, etc. for the product. The role of a product manager stretches far and wide and is definitely not an easy one, but certainly a dynamic, challenging and interesting one.