“A great product manager has the brain of an engineer, the heart of a designer, and the speech of a diplomat.”
This quote by Deep Nishar, Former Vice President of Product at LinkedIn, pretty much sums up the role of a Product Manager at tech companies.
According to a report by Product School, it’s a great time to be a product manager. On LinkedIn alone, there are currently over 133K open jobs for product managers. Product manager salaries are 3x the US mean average. You can expect the compensation to be even higher if you land a job at FAANG or Tier-1 tech companies.
If you are preparing for a product manager interview, check out our interview questions page and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read Google Product Manager Interview Questions for specific insights and guidance on how product manager interviews work at FAANG companies.
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In this article, we’ll talk about the roles and responsibilities of a product manager and some other key information that will help you understand the job better. We’ll cover:
- What Does a Product Manager Do?
- What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Product Manager?
- Skills Required to Become a Product Manager
- Types of Product Manager
- Tips to Prepare for Product Manager
What Does a Product Manager Do?
Product managers are responsible for the development of products for an organization. They must create products that meet market needs and are in line with the company’s goal and strategy — this includes prioritizing and recognizing the products as well as the consumer's needs.
What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Product Manager?
What exactly you do as the PM of a company may differ based on the company and team you join. Here, we have collated some of the common roles and responsibilities of a Product Manager:
- Evaluate new product ideas and create market-specific plans
- Analyze product requirements and develop programs to achieve them successfully
- Analyze potential partnerships, current market trends, and consumer needs through ROI (ROI based on build vs. buy perspective)
- Assess the products of the competitors, find loop-holes and draft a new product strategy
- Handle business planning and product processes across the teams
- Chalk out timelines for different departments involved in the production
- Execute product lifecycle processes — product and market research, competitive analysis, plan, position, and product launch
- Aid the engineering teams in translating product strategy into detailed designs
- Prepare marketing communications plans based on the analysis of market data and setting product objectives
- Work closely across the teams, QA, and launch products, manage resources so that the organization succeeds
- Position and communicate the features that differentiate the brand in primary market segments
Skills Required to Become a Product Manager
A Product Manager must be experienced in driving product vision, go-to-market strategy, and design discussions. The key skills required are:
- Domain expertise: In-depth knowledge of the market and customer needs is a must to be a successful PM. You should have the ability to convert learnings from customer insights into tangible product features that customers love.
- Business expertise: One of the key responsibilities of a product manager is to ensure that the product generated revenue for the company. A suite of business skills is required for a PM to be able to keep their product profitable.
- Leadership skills: A product manager is required to provide guidance to their team as and when needed.
- Operational ability: It is the Product Manager's responsibility to pay attention to even the minutest of details of managing a product. These tasks can sometimes be delegated to others, but for the most part, they are yours.
Types of Product Manager
Based on the specific skills, the product manager role can be further divided into:
- Tech Product Manager: These PMs work with engineers as they have the ability to think through technical products. Google and Amazon hire product managers with engineering backgrounds.
- Designer Product Manager: They have an understanding of the aesthetics of a product. They empathize well with the product’s end users and understand their needs to make and design a brilliant product.
- Business Product Manager: They are well-versed with the business, operations, and finance aspects of products management (usually backed by an MBA degree). Business product managers are great thinkers and are capable of leading teams.
- Data Product Manager: Artificial intelligence and machine learning have immense possibilities in the future. This has also opened up the prospect for data product managers who work on recommendation products, personalization, etc. Companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Google are driven by data algorithms and personalization and have a huge demand for data product managers.
- Growth Product Manager: Growth product managers deal with the growth problems of the company. Be it demand or supply, growth managers are well-equipped solve these problems.
Tips to Prepare for Product Manager
Product manager interviews are difficult to crack. Given the growing future demand of product managers across segments, the number of aspirants will only increase, which will increase competition. It is important to start preparing rigorously to land a product manager job in your dream company.
Interview Kickstart can help you gain an edge over the competition — with our Product Manager Interview Masterclass. It is the only Product Manager interview prep course designed specifically to help Product Managers crack the toughest tech interviews at FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies.
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