LinkedIn principal author Doug Winnie describes the various skills and roles that are part of a technology product manager. These include project management, user research, user experience, architecture, programming, marketing, business analysis, communications and public speaking. Ultimately, the product manager is the glue for every person and stakeholder on the product team.
- The product manager is a job that is incredibly empowering, fulfilling and exciting, but as you look into it more, you'll see that product management is made up of many different components and disciplines and knowing where to start can be a challenge. The product manager is the glue that connects all the stakeholders on a product team. The product manager is the approver of decisions that affect the product and is the person everyone on the team relies on to lead them confidently through the development process. There are multiple disciplines that go into being a product manager for technology projects.
First, you need to determine what product needs to be created. Begin by conducting research to understand current customers and prospects and to get a grasp on their challenges and needs. As you start to envision what the product calls for you'll need to have a way to visualize and prototype, so you can work with your designers to determine how the product should look and feel, and how people will interface with it. As you start building the product, you'll need to know how all the functional parts will work together, so you can architect and plan out the major sections of the product.
For technology projects especially, having some programming experience is really valuable. It helps you communicate with developers to understand challenges that they have. And based on your experience, you may be able to provide alternatives to make their jobs easier and mitigate scheduling issues. Ultimately, you need to have a way to position your product to customers and bring it to market. Understanding your product personas, campaign design and content design will make it easier to partner with your marketing teams when you're ready to ship your product.
When you bring a product to market, you should have a specific goal which solves an existing business issue, expands current business opportunities or establishes and grows opportunities in an entirely new market. Understanding how you analyze and size your market will inform you on the impact your product can have. Pitching your vision internally and getting buy-in from all the stakeholders requires good communication. You'll need to write copy, develop visuals and create presentation decks to explain what you are building and why.
Hitting the road to speak with customers, meet with vendors, attend events and make presentations can be a big part of being a product manager. These activities help humanize the product and give you the ability to hear first-hand what your customers want and need. So as you can see there is a lot to being a product manager, but don't get nervous, you can learn all these schools. What's important to have now is a desire to solve problems, build products that customers will love and contribute to the growth and success of your company.
- Types of products and industries
- Leading through influence
- Understanding your team
- Using an agile or waterfall development cycle
- Managing your product life cycle
- Researching your market, customers, and ideas
- Planning the product
- Building the product
- Releasing the product
- Refining the product
- Understanding when it's time to retire the product