If you've ever wondered what the role of a product manager is, you're not alone. While an organization is filled with teams offering advanced business and technical skills, what expertise does the product manager have? From the outside, it may seem that they possess limited specialized knowledge in any particular area, which often leads to common misperceptions of the role.
Global manufacturing companies are complex organizations that require a variety of teams to develop and create a finished product. A product manager is a bridge between the fundamental elements of the business, including business development, product design, engineering, marketing, and sales. It is their job to manage the strategic framework from which the organization can create finished products.
The common misconceptions lie in the fact that the role is an all-encompassing one. Rather than rely on one or two specific skills to get the job done, effective product management requires a much larger skillset.
At Gocious, we work closely with product managers to understand exactly what they do. As the connection between the product idea and the finished product, managers must lead their teams by defining and communicating the strategy and overseeing its execution.
So what does the job of a product manager entail? Let's start by addressing the misconceptions of product management and then correctly defining what it is.
Misconception #1: Product Management Doesn't Require Specific Skills
While a product manager may not need specialized skills pertaining to any specific department, it would be false to think that they do not require any.
As the "quarterback" in charge of developing the strategic framework and managing product development, the product manager is involved in every aspect of product development. They need to have a strong working knowledge of every department and be able to manage each one effectively.
Successful Product Management Requirements:
Efficient organization and multitasking are vital to managing the complex global manufacturing process and all the stakeholders involved in that process.
From verbal to written communication, a product manager must relay the company vision and regularly collaborate with stakeholders. Understanding how to talk to all the teams is an important skill.
Strong Analytical Skills
Analysis takes place on a variety of levels. What are your teams doing, and how are they accomplishing their tasks? Is there a more efficient way of doing things? How do your product features compare with those of your competitors? Should you be focusing on one feature over another? Analytics is an ongoing process that allows a product manager to check alignment with the company vision and adapt the strategy when necessary.
A product manager needs to build strong relationships with all of their teams. Promoting cross-collaboration and encouraging feedback are great ways to build morale and align all stakeholders to the company's vision.
Misconception #2: It's A Solo Job
If you assess all the skills that a product manager requires to do their job, it becomes obvious that it is far from a solo job. The idea of an isolated job would entail a manager who simply gives orders to be followed. There would be no need for two-way communication and no need for collaboration.
Product management is not like this. In order to do the job well, product managers need to immerse themselves in the production process. While they may not be an expert in engineering or marketing, the product manager is a constant presence in their workspace. They lead, guide, and provide assistance when needed.
The product manager will collaborate across many departments, including Customer Success, Engineering, Finance, Design, and Sales, to name a few. While they are independent departments with specific functions, the product manager is the intersecting factor.
At the end of the day, it takes a team dedicated to product success and a commitment to collaboration to see great products in development. It is the product manager's role to inspire their teams to work toward that common goal.
Misconception #3: New Features Solve All Problems
While company management defines the goals and vision of the business, it is up to the product manager to align the production activities to realize that goal.
We all get excited about something new, but what if it is something we really don't need? When you go in blindly to develop something you think your customer wants rather than what they really need, it usually ends up being a bad move. Therefore understanding your consumer and the relevant global markets for your brand is of vital importance.
Experienced product managers begin by examining their product portfolio. How is each product line performing in each market? How does it compare to the competition? What is the feedback on the newest product? If it is positive, what can you do to increase your market share? If the feedback is negative, what is lacking, and what can be improved?
When adding a new feature proves to be a good solution, you must address the costs of doing so. You'll then need to assess whether adding this feature will generate the response you are hoping for. It is the product manager's role to research the options. Careful analysis and accurate data can help drive better decisions on product feature updates.
However, the solution does not always involve adding a new feature. Sometimes you need to remove a feature to improve usability. Sometimes it is about marketing the product differently. The marketing strategy you use in North America may not perform as well in European or Japanese markets.
PRM Software for Global Product Manufacturing
At Gocious, we understand the role that the product manager plays. This is why we have developed a PRM software that allows product managers to manage all components of the roadmap effectively from one single source of truth.
Gocious allows you to:
- Share the vision and define the goals.
- Share information in the form of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- Cross-collaborate between departments.
- Analyze your product portfolio and compare it with the competition.
- Use analytical tools to provide quantifiable data for informed decision-making.
- Set goals and focus on reaching milestones.
- Get a detailed view of exactly what is going on in your organization at any given time.
At Gocious, we have your back. We understand what your product management teams do, and we are committed to supporting you. Book your free demo to see how Gocious Product Roadmap Management software can work for you.