Product managers are responsible for creating and delivering the right thing to their customers.
Product Managers are sometimes called product ‘CEO’s’, because of their central position of authority with respect to the product, and because of the need to communicate the vision for the product both to an audience of ‘investors’ (the company leadership) who must provide people and resources, and to their own team who must deliver the product. They are not ‘owners,’ however. Ownership conveys the wrong set of skills. Product Managers aren’t buying and investing as an owner would, and they aren’t deciding where the team invests time and energy based on their own personal preferences as an owner would. Instead, a good Product Manager has to learn the needs of their customers, and figure out how their team can fulfill them to achieve the organization’s strategic goals.
Great product managers are skilled at determining what the right thing to build is with the consumer in mind, communicating that to leaders, colleagues, and team members, and then working productively and flexibly to deliver the right value to their customers.
I recently gave a talk to Rice University Computer Science Alumni as part of a panel on Product Management as a career, and you can access my talk and slides below. In this series of posts, I will be going into a lot more depth to explain more ‘tools’ for the product management toolbox and how to use them effectively to create useful and beneficial products.
|Panel: bit.ly/product-management-career-panel (Minute 36:44)||Slides: bit.ly/fletcher-on-product-management|