Some interesting roles and responsibilities in Product Management teams never get explicitly advertised. However, most good product managers often end up wearing multiple hats.
Depending on the size of the team and the complexity of the product management process, some of these hats may be shared with other team members. Abhinav Kumar provides further insights.
Product Management is a highly cross functional role which involves owning, managing and strategizing the entire life cycle of a product. It’s an action packed journey which requires you to play different characters in different intervals.
A conductor of an orchestra is someone who instantly comes to mind when I think about product management.
The way in which the conductor would control the tempo of a piece, indicate by gestures the cut-offs for the instrumentalists or communicate how much to crescendo or decrescendo, similarly a product manager would communicate the roadmap and vision of the product with different functions within the organisation and drive them together as a team to reach the end goals.
To succeed in the Product Management arena, let’s try to break it down to the versatile roles which you will need to play to take your product from promise to fruition:
The show kicks off from being a cool detective, someone who would do a thorough market research and analysis to investigate the needs and problems of the customers which they want you to solve badly. This study sets the foundation for your product.
This would include you to have a deep understanding of business, the existing clients and the potential clients which your product would cater to.
You should be aware of your competitors, how are they trying to solve their customer’s problems and you should be able to anticipate their next moves to always be one step ahead.
I think, it is the most important part of your script, as it is the stepping stone to success. This is the time when you define your product.
If you start on a wrong note (i.e. if you couldn’t empathize with your audience), then the more you climb this hill the steeper it becomes with very less way outs ultimately leading to the inevitable fall.
You are the one who has the vision for the product and therefore creates the entire roadmap of the product supporting the vision.
You are the glue who will connect all the involved functions, the one who articulates the vision for the product in making and the completion plan to the stakeholders.
You need to shoulder this responsibility of being a robust bridge betweenthe company and the customers.
Now that the gold-plated vision, its audience and the problem it will solve has been framed, the one question in the back of everyone’s mind is, “Where is the Product? When will it be delivered?”
So boss it’s time to roll your sleeves up and let the execution begin. Put your left brain to rest and let your right brain take control of the wheel.
The job in hand now is to reproduce the image of the dream product which has been percolating inside you on the blank canvas.
Either you will be working with Product Designers and Product Developers as a team to get the product designed, constructed and tested for release or you might need to fill in for one function given your expertise, lack of resource and size of the organization.
The one most important characteristic of a successful Product Manager which often goes unnoticed and helps him to get the work done is his ability to interact with different functions and maintain healthy work relationships.
As a Product Manager you will need to work closely with Sales, marketing, Finance, Engineering and Operations, communicate the vision clearly and share the roadmap with everyone and maintain transparent communication channels with every function involved which would help you in smooth sailing as any personal conflicts with anyone can prove to be fatal for the health of the product.
This is where the real juice lies. The right implementation for a product involves doing the right things to ship your product on time.
This involves core project management responsibilities of breaking down the roadmap into specific tasks, tracking the progress of these tasks, troubleshooting bugs as they are encountered and deliver feature suggestions as they come up.
You need to be agile and organized with gathering information from various teams and properly summarizing/documenting the most important information to be shared with appropriate stakeholders.
This is where the craftsman inside you is active who knows when to communicate, whom to communicate and how to drive the team as a unified entity.
Author Bio: Abhinav Kumar, a graduate of St Stephen’s College, works as a Project and Innovations Manager. He is passionate about problem solving through user friendly products and efficient processes. Connect with him on LinkedIn. Share your thoughts and queries for him in the comments section below.