Congratulations! You want to be a product manager or you have just become one. But what makes for a great product manager? How do you succeed and do a job well enough to stand out and be recognized as such? One of the critical features of successful product management’s accountability. Let’s look at the responsibilities of the job that explain why you are ultimately the hero (or not).
● Who. Leading technology companies look at their product managers as the CEO of the product you manage. Who has more accountability than the CEO? So you are ultimately the person responsible for whether the product succeeds or fails. This position is unique in that you have to work with so many different departments and take on so many different responsibilities. You need to have an understanding of the customer, marketing, engineering, design, and financial aspects of the potential product. You also need to work with people across the organization that speak different languages in what they do. Some are technical, some are creative, some are financial, and you must balance these in order to create the best product design for your market. You are in the unique position of influencing all these groups and helping them come together and create a successful product.
● Why. You create the product vision. Because you are leading a team of diverse talents, thinkers, and personalities, you must be able to clearly define your vision for everyone working on the product. Each person must understand the blueprint for getting the product to launch. The why of the product will help everyone know what the final product will be about. Your job is to inspire the other team members and create an energy and drive. You want the group to come up with the best product to solve the problem or answer the need, based on what fits with overall company goals and direction. Strong interpersonal communication skills will be needed to make sure each person or group understands their role throughout the process.
● What. Once you have your why determined, the team generates ideas. But someone has to manage the process of determining the ideas used to create your product. That person is you. You decide the product development strategy. You choose which features create your ideal product. But very likely there will be some ideas you pursue that may not work out in the product development process. You have to analyze the situation and decide if you continue to work to keep the idea, adjust the idea, or let it go. Keep the team informed and be honest when making these decisions. Your integrity is a crucial part in gaining their understanding if you have to change direction. You need their trust as the product designer to keep momentum as you refine your vision and lead the product to completion.
● When. The strategy behind the final product is also yours to determine. Will there be one launch or phases of launch? You’re working with others who give you their idea of what’s possible, but you have the final say since you also need to take the marketplace into account. After getting everyone’s input, you decide the timing. This isn’t just about the management of the launch of the product. This is the entire product lifecycle management. If there are additional phases of the product, what determines the number of them? When do they launch? When is the product no longer viable for the market? How do changes from the original idea affect the timing of the product launch?
As the product manager, you are the crucial ingredient to keeping the product team running smoothly. You are providing the vision and direction for new product development based on your knowledge of the market. You are committed to those ideas that will create the best end result and you lead with a passion that keeps the team focused and collaborating until your product is complete. You know that long term, staying true to the goals of the organization will make being accountable for your decisions a natural process.
Being accountable for the product means being accountable for the decisions made as the leader of the group. This results in greater integrity and trust in you as a business person for future assignments. With such far-reaching ramifications, you may be looking for assistance as you work through the stages of your project. Consider working with Pivot International, a global product development, engineering, and manufacturing partner for over 40 years.
Melanie Valenzuela has been writing about business topics for several years and currently writes on behalf of Pivot International, a leader in global product development, engineering and manufacturing for over 40 years. When not writing, she can be found working on her world perspective through travel, or challenging her heart rate through tennis, running or attending a Kansas City Royals baseball game.
This blog is listed under IT Strategy & Management Community