Cover Photo by AirBrush @ Unsplash
Behind every incredible digital product is a CEO-like leader, manager, and evangelist wrapped into one position. Product Managers are the internal engines that push any tech company forward!
The world is actively experiencing the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is centered on digital transformation and seamlessly integrating technology, automation, and AI into our everyday lives. This era has brought about the creation of digital products nearly every second! As a result, the need for Product Managers has increased significantly. In a 2019 survey conducted by Linkedin, Product Managers were considered one of the most promising jobs, with an expected 29% year on year growth in job openings. In a Glassdoor ranking of top jobs in America, Product Managers are ranked 3rd.
Product Managers are the leaders of the digital products we use. They are responsible for defining what the digital products do, how they are developed, and what marketing and sales departments will promote. Incorporating the perspective of the customer or end-user in their work, Product Managers collaborate thoroughly to ensure products meet both the customer’s needs as well as the company’s. As Marty Cagan best puts it in his book INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love, “behind every great product there is someone–usually behind the scenes working tirelessly–who led the product team to combine technology and design to solve real-world problems in a way that met the needs of the business.” That person is the Product Manager!
Product, Pricing, Packaging!
The role of Product Managers has a multitude of responsibilities that can be divided into two parts: product management and product marketing.
In the product management stage, Product Managers coordinate the development process of a product. They must first clearly define the problem they’re solving and the product’s strategy and requirements. This is a thorough process, as Product Managers must consider many factors including target demographic, timeline, market need, and development capacity. This stage also involves conducting research and analysis on competitors’ products and pricing, finding ways to make the new product superior to the competition.
Product Managers are also advocates for customers. Through research, customer interviews, product demos, and other techniques, Product Managers identify specific customer needs in order to develop products and solutions that solve customer pains and improve their lives. Companies that prioritize value to customers in their product vision usually enjoy a competitive advantage. Product Managers also understand that additional value will be added by customers to the product in its usage. Known as the investment phase in Nir Eyal’s Hooked, customers add an inherent value to products in the form of content, data, followers, reputation, or skills. If Product Managers incorporate these categories into their product, the product will be more valuable to the customer. Great listening skills are therefore important traits of successful Product Managers.
The great thing about being a Product Manager is teamwork. Product Managers work with various departments and with management to execute their product roadmap and take the product to market. Product Managers are the CEOs of their products, and drive their development through engineering, promotion through marketing, and revenue generation through sales. They verify the product works as intended by the support and customer success team, and ensure the continued investment in the product’s development throughout its lifecycle by approving its roadmap with senior management.
After a product has been released, the Product Manager begins with product marketing. This stage’s goal is getting the product into the hands of customers. This stage involves determining how the product is promoted on the company’s websites, social channels, collateral, and other media that customers are exposed to. Product Managers need to make sure that the value proposition of the product is clear and attractive to relevant audiences. The product marketing strategy also includes establishing the correct pricing for the product, its packaging, and sometimes its dedicated product branding.
Product Managers need to be highly receptive to feedback, as customers will oftentimes share it, whether it be positive feedback, critical suggestions for improvement, or just plain frustration. Creating a feedback loop allows Product Managers to constantly integrate feedback into digital products’ next versions and improve their products over time.
Wawiwa’s Product Manager Program
Want to become a Product Manager in a tech company? No problem! Reskilling into a Product Manager role doesn’t require an academic degree. In fact, Wawiwa Tech Training — an Israeli education provider that works with local partners across the world to reskill and upskill people to tech jobs in high demand — offers tech training programs that take as little as two months!
Wawiwa’s Product Manager Program is a 90-hour, part-time program divided into 5 fundamental stages: Evaluate, Plan, Define, Prepare, and Execute. Each stage contains dynamic hands-on exercises and projects built to enforce Product Manager concepts. The program culminates into a final Bring-It-Together (BIT) project, which requires students to demonstrate the product management and product marketing concepts that they’ve learned.
Leon Malalel, Wawiwa’s Head of the Product Manager Program, says “A Product Manager’s main focus is ensuring that a new product fits the market needs and solves customer problems. It needs to have a clear competitive advantage and bring true value to customers and to the company.”
If you want to create new tech products and be the CEO of a meaningful software product that people use everyday, then the role of a Product Manager may be just for you!