As Product Manager, you will guide a team that is charged with a product line contribution as a business unit. This extends from increasing the profitability of existing products to developing new products for the company. You will build products from existing ideas, and help to develop new ideas based on your industry experience and your contact with customers and prospects. You must possess a unique blend of business and technical savvy; a big-picture vision, and the drive to make that vision a reality. You must enjoy spending time in the market to understand their problems, and find innovative solutions for the broader market.
You must be able to communicate with all areas of the company. You will work with an engineering counterpart to define product release requirements. You will work with marketing communications to define the go-to-market strategy, helping them understand the product positioning, key benefits, and target customer. You will also serve as the internal and external evangelist for your product offering, occasionally working with the sales channel and key customers.
A product manager's key role is strategic, not tactical. The other organizations will support your strategic efforts; you won't be supporting their tactical tasks and thereby providing solutions in the Functional framework of Enterprise solution.
Managing the entire product line life cycle from strategic planning to tactical activities
Specifying market requirements for current and future products by conducting market research supported by on-going visits to customers and non-customers.
Driving a solution set across development teams (primarily Development/Engineering, and Marketing Communications) through market requirements, product contract, and positioning.
Developing and implementing a company-wide go-to-market plan, working with all departments to execute.
Analyzing potential partner relationships for the product.
10+ years of software marketing/product management experience.
Knowledgeable in technology.
Computer Science or Engineering degree or work experience a strong plus.
This position requires travel to customer and non-customer sites in North America and Europe (25%).
Product Manager Job Duties:
Determines customers' needs and desires by specifying the research needed to obtain market information.
Recommends the nature and scope of present and future product lines by reviewing product specifications and requirements; appraising new product ideas and/or product or packaging changes.
Assesses market competition by comparing the company's product to competitors' products.
Provides source data for product line communications by defining product marketing communication objectives.
Obtains product market share by working with sales director to develop product sales strategies.
Assesses product market data by calling on customers with field salespeople and evaluating sales call results.
Provides information for management by preparing short-term and long-term product sales forecasts and special reports and analyses; answering questions and requests.
Facilitates inventory turnover and product availability by reviewing and adjusting inventory levels and production schedules.
Brings new products to market by analyzing proposed product requirements and product development programs; preparing return-on-investment analyses; establishing time schedules with engineering and manufacturing.
Introduces and markets new products by developing time-integrated plans with sales, advertising, and production.
Determines product pricing by utilizing market research data; reviewing production and sales costs; anticipating volume; costing special and customized orders.
Completes operational requirements by scheduling and assigning employees; following up on work results.
Maintains product management staff by recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training employees.
Maintains product management staff job results by counseling and disciplining employees; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results.
Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; participating in professional societies.
Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.
Product Manager Skills and Qualifications:
Product Management, People Management, Understanding the Customer, Product Development, Requirements Analysis, Pricing, Planning, Competitive Analysis, Sales Planning, Inventory Control, Financial Planning and Strategy
The role of the product manager was originally created to manage the complexity of the product lines of a business, as well as to ensure that those products were profitable. Product managers can come from many different backgrounds, because their primary skills involve working well with customers and understanding the problems the product is intended to solve.
A product manager, sometimes referred to as the "CEO" of the product, is responsible for orchestrating the various activities associated with ensuring that a product is delivered that meets users' needs. A software product manager's role varies as the software moves through its lifecycle; earlier in the development process the product manager meets the intended audience of the product to engage in requirements elicitation, whereas later in the lifecycle the product manager's primary focus may be in acceptance testing of the product. Throughout all the stages of the product development process, the product manager represents the needs of end-users, evaluates market trends and competition, and uses this information to determine what features to build. For example, a product manager may decide a feature is needed because users are asking for it, or because the feature is needed to stay competitive. In order to facilitate this decision making process the product manager may set out a vision for the product or a general framework for making product decisions. The product manager also ensures an atmosphere of cohesiveness and focused collaboration between all the members of the team, all in the interest of driving the product forward. Product managers are often thought of as sitting at the intersection of business, design, and technology.
Within an agile software development environment day-to-day responsibilities of a product manager include creating and prioritizing the product backlog, which is list of things to be done by the development team. The product backlog is often made up of user stories, "a placeholder for a conversation between the product manager... and the development team." These are brief narrative descriptions of what a feature should do, including a checklist of items that are required to be in place in order for the feature to be considered done, called the acceptance criteria. The details of how the feature is developed are worked out by developers and designers. At the end of the development sprint, the product manager is responsible for verifying that the acceptance criteria have been met; only then is the work on the feature officially done.
The need for a separate product manager role depends on the size of an organization; in smaller organizations, the CEO may take on the responsibilities of product manager.