Product Management

Product Management

Product management, though a critical role in product development teams, has not been a formalized position in digital companies for long, and has adapted with the growth of agile product development methodologies over time. Today, product management is defined as a role within a product development team that focuses on successfully executing the product lifecycle.

Typically, product managers are responsible for putting product management principles into action. This includes:

  • Pitching and positioning new ideas for product and feature development

  • Working with engineering and design teams to bring the product to life

  • Ensuring that each product meets the needs of the target user or customer

This is a key differentiator between product management and project management, the latter of which is more focused on the actual organization and resourcing for each initiative rather than setting the entire product vision.

One great description of a product manager role is that the PM is like the executive chef of their product. They don’t own the restaurant, just like they are not the CEO of the company they work for (that’s more like a product owner).

They are however, responsible for the overall success of the business’s products and outputs and shaping the vision of each feature that helps the business meet their goals and please their customers.

Types Of Product Management Roles

While the core functions of a PM are essentially the same across all types of product management roles and product teams, there are some nuances that align with different titles and role descriptions.

You will encounter titles that define different levels of experience in product management, such as chief product officer, product owner, and associate product manager.

Some common types of specialized product management roles you’ll see are:

Growth Product Manager

A growth product manager is primarily focused on furthering a specific metric their company has set to measure the growth of their business. Typically, growth PMs work closely with product marketing and traditional marketing teams in order to ensure their initiatives are expanding their product reach.

Most growth product managers run frequent short-term experiments to measure the success of their new feature or project, and pivot to new initiatives quickly in order to meet the demands of the business. Everything from copy to pricing is on the table for testing, and they may help in defining go-to-market strategies.

Growth product managers would benefit from experience or education in digital marketing, psychology, or advertising.

Technical Product Manager

A background in engineering or development is almost always required for technical product management roles, as this type of PM works hand in hand with engineering teams to improve things like a product’s core functionality or a company’s tech stack, security, or other parts of their digital infrastructure.

These PMs are less focused on the appearance of a product and instead are dedicated to ensuring that its inner workings are solid.

Often, technical product managers are career changers who started out as engineers.

Data Product Manager

If you love working with numbers or were a math wiz in school, then a data product management role could be a great fit. Working with business analytics teams and data scientists, data PMs create use cases that organizations use to measure success for their new product and feature releases.

Often they are responsible for ensuring that customer interactions are tracked properly across the product interface, so that other PMs or stakeholders can gain valuable insights into how users are navigating the product.

A degree in mathematics, finance, or data science would be a great help to any aspiring data PM.

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