How to Become a Product Manager

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How to Become a Product Manager

Product Management as a discipline was born during the Great Depression when a 27-year-old marketer proposed the idea of a “brand man” – an employee that manages a specific product rather than a traditional business role. Since the 1930s, the continued success of this function has led to the growth of product organizations across industries and geographies. From the development of a product to positioning and pricing it in the market comes under the territory of a product manager. The role of a product manager can be part of a fulfilling, exciting, and challenging career, and is ideal for people who love creating new tools and experiences for all sorts of audiences. So what is product management, and what makes a product manager great? In this article, you’ll learn how to get started in a product management role, how a PM fits into different types of teams, and tips on how to determine if a career in product management is right for you.

Atlassian
 

What Is A Product Manager?

A product manager (PM) is a person who assists in the research, development, testing, and marketing of a product, software, or service. To effectively take a product from development to launch, product managers collaborate with their company’s engineering, user design, marketing, and sales teams.

What Does A Product Manager Do?

A product manager is in charge of a product’s strategy, roadmap, and feature specification. Product marketing, forecasting, and profit and loss (P&L) are all possible tasks for a product manager. Product managers examine the market and competitive situations before sketching out a differentiated product vision that offers unique value based on client needs. It’s exciting to create new products. You will develop with conviction and find profound joy in your position as a product manager if you have a genuine sense of duty and devotion to your product.

How to Become a Product Manager

  • Investigate the position and speak with current product managers.
  • Take a course in product management certification.
  • Begin a side project and chronicle it, including any failures.
  • Improve your narrative and communication abilities.
  • Develop a technological foundation.
  • Apply for an Associate Product Management program if applicable.
  • Apply for a position as a PM.

Career as a Product Manager

Be it the tech industry or the diversified manufacturing sector, Product Management plays a key role in generating better-designed and higher-performative products for society. To achieve the target of producing the best possible products, product managers advocate for customers within their organizations and make sure the voice of the market is heard and heeded. In today’s industrial revolution, there is more need than ever for an intimate understanding of customers and the ability to create tailored solutions for them. That’s where the crucial role of a Product Manager comes in.

Types of Product Management Roles

While the core functions of a PM are essentially the same across all types of product management roles and product teams, some nuances align with different titles and role descriptions. You will encounter titles that define different levels of experience in product management, such as chief product officer, product owner, and associate product manager. Some common types of specialized product management roles you’ll see are:  

Growth Product Manager

A growth product manager is primarily focused on furthering a specific metric their company has set to measure the growth of their business. Typically, growth PMs work closely with product marketing and traditional marketing teams to ensure their initiatives are expanding their product reach. Most growth product managers run frequent short-term experiments to measure the success of their new feature or project, and pivot to new initiatives quickly to meet the demands of the business. Everything from copy to pricing is on the table for testing, and they may help in defining go-to-market strategies. Growth product managers would benefit from experience or education in digital marketing, psychology, or advertising. 

Technical Product Manager

A background in engineering or development is almost always required for technical product management roles. This type of PM works hand in hand with engineering teams to improve things like a product’s core functionality or a company’s tech stack, security, or other parts their digital infrastructure. These PMs are less focused on the appearance of a product and instead are dedicated to ensuring that its inner workings are solid. Often, technical product managers are career changers who started as engineers.

Data Product Manager

If you love working with numbers or were a math wiz in school, then a data product management role could be a great fit. Working with business analytics teams and data scientists, data PMs create use cases that organizations use to measure success for their new product and feature releases. Often they are responsible for ensuring that customer interactions are tracked properly across the product interface so that other PMs or stakeholders can gain valuable insights into how users are navigating the product. A degree in mathematics, finance, or data science would be a great help to any aspiring data PM. 

Product Manager Vs. Product Owner

Product Manager Product Owner
Works with outside stakeholders Works with internal stakeholders
Helps to define the product vision Helps teams execute on a shared vision
Outlines what success looks like Outlines the plan for achieving success
Owns vision, marketing, ROI Owns team backlog and fulfillment work
Works at a conceptual level Involved in day-to-day activities

Skills Required

Product management is a career that fits many types of backgrounds and skillsets. There is no linear path to getting into a PM role, and it is a great option for those who are interested in technology but are not sure how to apply their experience to a role in tech. Here are just some of the skills and tips that can help you get into a PM role: 

  • Develop User Empathy: The most important skill to have as a PM is empathy for your user. Start to pay attention to the things that both delight and bother you about products that you use in your everyday life. 
  • Be a Problem Solver: Great product managers are, at their core, problem solvers, both for their users and their organization. 
  • Become Hyper Organized: Understand why you think something is more important than something else, and stick to it. A good sense of prioritization can make or break a successful product launch.
  • Show Leadership: Leadership is an important quality in a product manager, as you will be responsible for owning a product vision and collaborating with a team to get things done. 
  • Demonstrate your Interest: There are several certifications and on-demand courses which you can take that can help you level up your skills. Since Product Management is a relatively new career path, it is always good to keep up with the latest trends in the industry.

Explore: Luxury Brand Management

Key Responsibilities of a Product Manager

The day-to-day responsibilities of a product manager vary across different types of businesses. However, all product management roles entail certain universal tasks that are critical to furthering a product development lifecycle. 

Research

A primary focus of a PM is the end-user of their product. Therefore, much of a product manager’s time is spent conducting and analyzing both market research and user research, either in partnership with dedicated research teams or on their own, depending on the size of their organization. 

Defines Roadmap, Product Requirement, and Success

After conducting research, PMs help defines the organization’s product roadmap, which essentially documents the workflow for when and how each feature or product will be released.  Working with project management teams, each new product build will be broken up into various incremental steps that will be executed over a set period based on available resourcing and are typically broken up by a quarter. 

Tests and Launches

Once the development process is complete, PMs lead the testing of the new feature and often do so by setting up experiments and iterations. Sometimes large initiatives are broken up into smaller phases, such as a “beta” launch. PMs are responsible for measuring the success of each phase, and working with engineering to address any issues that arise during testing. 

Analyzes and Presents Results

When a new feature is live and in front of real customers or users, the product manager is typically responsible for communicating the successes or shortfalls of the product to business leadership. They leverage several different analytics tools and reports to ensure that the product is meeting the expectations set during the research phase. 

Educational Qualifications of a Product Manager

  • The education level required to apply for product manager positions is a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. 
  • Product manager degrees should include coursework in communications, marketing, economics, public relations, statistics, advertising, and management. 
  • Companies that deal with larger product lines may require advanced degrees from their product managers. 
  • A product manager’s background may be based in another branch of education, such as agriculture or technology if he manages products for those types of industries.

Top Online Courses for Product Management

If you are a product manager, you might think that you’ve already learned everything to be a standout PM professional. However, there are so many chances for you to brush up on the old and master the new. Here are the few top product management online courses that will help you to succeed in 2021.

Also Read: Top Management Courses

Top Universities Abroad

Students who are interested in learning product marketing, form products whether physically or virtually, can think out of the box, or handle product portfolios should aim for these universities abroad for the best Product Marketing courses.

Ranking Universities Country
1 University of Liverpool – Management School UK
2 Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) – Tepper School of Business USA
3 Aston University UK
4 Poznan University of Economics Poland
5 New York University: MBA with Product Management Specialization USA
6 University of Wisconsin: MBA with Specialization in Brand and Product Management USA
7 The Institute of Product Leadership: Executive MBA in Product Leadership India
8 University of Oulu Finland
9 University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria  Austria
10 The University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business USA

Salary of a Product Manager

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Product Manager is $108,992 (₹81,04,265) in the United States.

Top Recruiters 

Product managers live at the intersection of technology and business leaders and play a critical role in ensuring that new features are a success for both their organization and their customers. For those with a passion for teamwork, strategic thinking, and creating awesome experiences for people, product management could be an extremely rewarding career choice. Here are a few top recruiters for Product Managers around the globe.

Company Salary
Amazon ₹1,29,95,363
Google ₹1,62,34,184
Magic Lab ₹74,35,651
HSBC ₹96,07,531
PayPal ₹1,44,58,550
Uber ₹1,74,50,805
Salesforce ₹13,65,572
Microsoft ₹1,61,99,236
Adobe ₹1,03,13,323
Myntra ₹2,749,000

Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Product Manager

Advantages  Disadvantages 
Power of strengthening collaboration between internal teams.
Robust product knowledge.
Expert in aligning market needs and demands.Instrumental at minimizing the risk of product failure.
Analyze data and feedback.
Strict self-management.
Accountability for multiple tasks.
Monotonous job.
Responsibility without much authority.
No clear definition of the role in many instances.

FAQs

Is the function of product management more technical or creative?

Product management requires both artistic and technical skills. Technical product managers focus on current goods, whereas creative product managers conceive completely new ones. The type of applicant they are searching for should be evident in the job description for the position you are considering.

In which sectors may I work as a product manager?

Product managers work in a variety of areas, including IT, eCommerce, finance, and wellness. You may take advantage of this by limiting your work options to the industries or goods that you are passionate about.

What is the relationship between product management and business culture?

Firm culture affects your pleasure at work and your capacity to stay with a company for a long time, regardless of your industry. It’s critical in a job like product manager, where you’re accountable for so many aspects of the process, that the corporate culture aligns with product management goals.

Similar to the sides of a coin, the product manager’s role also comes with pros and cons. Before making the career choice, you need to thoroughly assess your reasons and interests to look for a PM role. If you wish to make a career as a product manager, connect with our experts at Leverage Edu to get a detailed understanding of the entire profession, along with the best suitable course and colleges for you. 

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