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What is a Product Manager?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 20235 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Leadership & Management, Roles and Responsibilities, General, Project Management, Elicitation (BABOK KA)


The question “What is a Product Manager” seems simple enough, but few of us have taken the time to define it. 

The role of the Product Manager resides at the intersection between business, technology and user experience.  The paramount responsibility of a Product Manager is to ensure that the product they manage (software, service, or other tangible product) creates value for the business.  In turn, to create value for the business the product needs to be of value to customers or to internal business employees. 

True value is based on how well a product satisfies a need or desire.  For internal employees this is often derived from time savings and simplification of processes.  But for customers the need or desire being fulfilled can take many forms. And ultimately the value to the customer translates into revenue for the business. 

The Product Manager must understand the needs of the customer and how specific features of the product or service will fulfill such needs.  This means one of their primary responsibilities is to manage the product requirements over time and through multiple product iterations (multi-generational product planning).  Another primary responsibility is the prioritization of these requirements. However, ultimately these features need to drive revenue and it’s the job of the Product Manager to champion the monetization and pricing strategy that maximizes revenue for the business given the dynamics of the marketplace.  Understanding the market and the products price elasticity is essential.

Products do not exist in isolation. It’s the role of the Product Manager to oversee market analysis activity.  This includes understanding the size of the potential customer base as well as the competition that exists and how it affects the amount of revenue that the product can generate.  Market analysis activities need to be ongoing and market data must be revisited as competition moves in and out of the market.  If your product isn’t the only product available to the customer, and it rarely is, then the pricing and revenue strategy will be impacted by the existence of competition.  This is what economist refer to as cross elasticity of demand.

In summary, the role of the Product Manager stretches across the business touching many different business functions. It’s both a heavily strategic as well as a tactical role.  This requires the Product Manager to be adept at working with cross-functional teams.   A strong understanding of business management concepts, technology, and user experience is imperative.

Chris Adams
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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