The Role of the Modern Product Manager

Posted by Jeff Strunk on 5/27/21 5:30 AM
Jeff Strunk
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role_of_product_managerProduct Managers wear many hats… researcher, business manager, financial analyst, strategist, project manager, product tester, customer service rep, spokesperson honestly the list is endless.   

Whatever the job description says is always overruled by whatever it takes in the moment to ensure the success of the product.  I’ve always viewed the Product Manager role as the glue that binds the organization together in the pursuit of an opportunity, ensuring that all teams have a clear understanding of the goal and are unified in their efforts. 

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superheroThe downside to this almost superhero-like persona of the Product Manager is that they are frequently spread thin, to the point of being ineffective.  This is where prioritization of their work is not only key to the success of the individual, but the overall organization. 

A Product Manager’s first priority should be the never-ending pursuit of knowing the customer and their expectations.  In fact, I once named a team of Product Managers the Customer Expectation Management team.  It’s really the heart of the role and my goal was to empower them to make it the top thing on their list every day.   

Let’s face it, most of the things a Product Manager is asked to support are backed up by other roles in the company, but no one else is going to claim the title of being the customer expert.  Yes, a Product Manager needs to have financial acumen, but most often there is someone else who is “the finance expert.”  And of course, a Product Manager needs to be strong in project management, but they should not be the full time Project Manager at the expense of losing touch with the outside world.   

Effectiveness in the role is another major challenge.  Product Managers are long overdue for more efficient tools and techniques.  Spreadsheets and slideshows are time consuming and often ineffective methods of assessing opportunity and planning products.  Yet while most areas of business have implemented innovative toolsets, the Product Manager is still scratch building spreadsheets and formulas in the hopes of wrapping their arms around the complexity of their product line.  Your Engineering team isn’t using 30-year-old CAD software, so why is the Product Team struggling with 30-year-old software tools that were never designed for Product Management in the first place? 

time-management-1Getting real about where you should spend your time as a Product Manager is critical to the success of the business.  Product Managers who have prioritized their time to stay in tune to the customer and the marketplace are better positioned to find that compelling strategic advantage that wins customers over and drives sales success.   

The world has changed and evermore, customers expect a comprehensive experience, which is not exclusive to a product or a service or a digital application.  The solutions customers expect today is the harmonious orchestration of all ways your company can meet customer expectations and the Product Manager is the conductor. 

Given this, Product Managers must be unwavering in understanding customer wants and needs and the translation of those into compelling product, service and digital solutions.  Set a course for success by prioritizing the focus of Product Management and implementing the tools and techniques to enable Product Managers to do their best work every day. 

Gocious is a purpose-built tool for Product Management that simplifies traditional methods and takes the detailed analysis of complex product plans to the next level.  

 Get a free live demo of Gocious software and check out how it can help you set the strategy of your product  


 

Topics: product management

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Gocious is a SaaS product portfolio management (PPM) solution that assists manufacturers to digitally transform their product planning and reduce time-to-market while increasing flexibility. A natural complement to PLM and CPQ systems, Gocious keeps business and engineering teams in sync around a common product roadmap and feature definitions.

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