IT Best Practices

Why Companies Need Full-Time Product Managers (And What They Do All Day)

Is product manager one of those titles that somebody just made up one day, like “social media guru?” Nope, it’s a pretty vital role! Rian van der Merwe writes for Smashing Magazine with the dish on product managers. In brief, the idea behind product management is to get the product “market fit” and out the door to the customer / user on time. That’s the product manager’s job.

Eye on the Prize

There are three objectives that the effective product manager need to follow:

  1. The business value (user value)
  2. Target market
  3. Cycle of planning / execution

Author Marty Cagan offers a good review of common product manager tasks such as assessing feasibility of product opportunities, getting the right product out at the right time, product development strategy, leading a team, internal marketing of the product to executives, and representing customers throughout product development.

Why have a Product Manager?

Not everyone is so keen to have a product manager in their employ. Perhaps they believe that current employees are “good enough,” or maybe they see the creation of a product manager role as expensive or as waste of time:

The truth is that, to be effective, the role of a manager for a particular product or area must not be filled by multiple people. It is essential for the product manager to see the whole picture — the strategic vision as well as the details of implementation — in order to make good decisions about the product. If knowledge of different parts of the process resides in the heads of different people, then no one will have that holistic view, and all value will be drained of the role.

But how are product managers good for the organization? In short, a product manager will help your company to be stable, profitable, and market driven – that goes for improving the performance of existing products in addition to creating new ones. Second, (and this is a major point) product managers, if they’re on their game, will vastly improve the time to market of products simply by weeding out all the dead ends.

Read the original article at:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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