The Product Manager is a key role in the organization, with full ownership and responsibility for a product or product line, including strategy, roadmap, and feature definition. The product management position includes product marketing, forecasting, and pricing/margin management. Product Managers are instrumental in providing cross-functional leadership – helping bridge the gap between various functional areas within the company, such as engineering, operations, sales, marketing, and support. Product Managers must possess a diverse set of skills, including both the strategic and visionary skills necessary to define product needs, and the tactical skills necessary to see a product through from inception to launch to eventual end of life.
Product Managers work closely with all functions within the organization and are responsible for leading the Product Team. Product Teams are comprised of all the key functional areas within a company, including engineering, operations, sales, marketing, and support. It is only by leading and managing the Product Team that products can be launched successfully and supported after launch.
A Product Manager’s job spans inbound and some outbound responsibilities. Inbound responsibilities include setting strategy, developing a business case, defining and prioritizing product requirements, and establishing product roadmaps. Part of this inbound responsibility involves gathering customer research, conducting competitive intelligence, and monitoring industry and technology trends. Outbound responsibilities include product messaging and customer communications.
Product Managers are responsible for leading the cross-functional project teams to bring a product to market. These tasks include working with:
The engineering team to build the product;
Operations to manufacture and distribute the product;
Sales and marketing to establish product pricing, messaging, customer communication, and product launches;
Technical support to ensure readiness to support the product after launch and during its lifetime.
After product launch, Product Managers are responsible for:
Monitoring the success and performance of a product, including sales trends, margin trends, mix trends, and other KPI’s tracking the product market and customer success;
Coordinating and implementing strategies for improvement as necessary, such as additional marketing, sales promotion and pricing actions, planning maintenance releases and/or new features.
Specific Job Duties
Set product strategy – The product manager is responsible for setting a product vision and strategy. Their job is to articulate the business value to the cross-functional project team so they understand the intent behind the new product or product release. They own the strategy behind the product along with its roadmap and must work with engineering, operations, sales and support to build what matters.
Ideation – Product managers own ideation, the process of generating and curating new ideas. They collect and promote the most relevant ideas into features, the ones that will achieve key objectives for the product line and business. They also ensure that key feedback and requests are seamlessly integrated into their product planning and development processes. The main goal of this activity is to ensure competitive differentiation and a strong value proposition.
Business case management – Product managers own the business case for the new features or products and set the priority based on input from other stakeholders.
Release management – Product Managers must plan for what their teams will deliver and when they will deliver it. Responsibilities include knowing when to create a release; managing features and dependencies in and across releases; and managing releases with phases and milestones.
Feature definition – The Product Manager defines the features and requirements necessary to deliver a complete product to market and lead the Product Team to success. They are responsible for articulating the ‘what’ and working with engineering, operations, sales and support to determine the ‘when.’
Go-to-market – The product manager is responsible for making product decisions and often is the lead resource for the rest of the organization when deep product expertise is required. This includes supporting the organizations that help bring the product to market and working directly with customers, namely marketing, sales and support.
Life cycle management – The product manager is responsible for the full product life cycle, from inception through product release through end of life.
Key Personal Attributes
Big-picture thinking – Ability to understand the product and the customer’s intent based on requirement review, product management discussions, engineering discussions, etc. Act as a customer advocate during the product development cycle.
Strong business and profit and loss knowledge, understanding of business decisions, long-term and short-term thinking is required. Ability to make cost-benefit decisions about the product is required.
Leadership – The ability to effectively lead teams and individuals, even without direct supervisory control over them. Must possess ability to prioritize and project manage tasks involved in launching products.
Process improvement – Ability and desire to continuously improve the product lifecycle management process to become more effective and efficient is required.
Working independently – The ability to work with minimal supervision is required, though ability to request support as needed is also required.
Communication – Strong communication skills are required. The ability to be concise, but thorough in written and verbal communication is required.
Conflict management – The ability to gracefully handle conflicting goals of different project team members is required.
Teamwork – The ability to work in and with cross-functional teams is required.
A Product Manager’s success on the job can be measured via key product measurements, including but not limited to the following:
Product time-to-market – managing the timely release of new products and/or features to ensure competitiveness and remaining ahead of the competition
Industry and market awareness and preference – of the product and its value proposition
Product market share – working with Sales to gain and maintain market share
Product cost and margin – working with Engineering and Operations, meeting product cost and gross margin targets at release, and an on-going value engineering and cost reduction roadmap
If you have a passion for excellence and want to work with an outstanding team of experts, working in an exciting, challenging, fast paced environment for the world’s leading assistive technology company, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.