One thing is given – the importance and comprehensiveness of the product manager’s role. Today’s complexity of the business and technology landscape, as well as the constant churn in an organization’s product portfolio, requires a more active role for the product manager. The bare minimums of the role include:
1. Understand the vision of the management for the product and communicate it effectively to design, development, testing, and marketing teams (in their own languages).
2. Conduct market research, technology research and an analysis of the company’s own business model to validate the product idea, determine its feature-set, and the development roadmap.
3. Drive the development of the product through its various stages – working with multiple teams – to meet client requirements, timelines and quality & security standards.
4. Establish an environment of seamless collaboration among the different teams to meet, as Bradford says, the end of launching an amazing product.
Depending on the character of the organization and the way an organization defines its scope, the role may lean more towards Technology or Marketing. While that’s a moot point, the requirement for the product manager to know and speak the language of both Marketing and Technology is a given.
From a skills perspective, whether you come from a management or engineering background, to be a successful product manager in today’s development scenario you should have: (a) strong understanding of programming with an ability to code yourself, (b) expertise in UX design, and (c) analytical thinking & problem solving skills – besides the more generic management skills like negotiation, communication, documentation, time management, delegation, stakeholder management and leadership.