As the world continues to embrace digitally-powered products and services, there is a greater need for people with the right capabilities and skills to respond to this exponential change.
For new and creative ideas to become successful, it is essential to have someone in a leading position who won't lose sight of the objectives. Having this resource onboard is the key to developing a product that is well-suited to the customer, technically feasible, and economically viable.
The challenges of product management vary from business to business and person to person. However, a project management professional is expected to oversee everything from user experience to marketing and, finally, development.
So, all in all, they are the gatekeepers who keep the end-users in mind before allowing any changes to be made to the product. They start with the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and move on from there.
Why is Product Management Important in The Digital World?
Digital transformation is challenging the norm as it mandates the continuous evolution of products and services to provide value to the customers today. Various disciplines in product management are vital in this digital era.
Ideally, a product management team comprises people who understand the organization's vision, products/services, and the overall market dynamics to make the transition smoother for digital transformation.
It is a significant change that allows an organization to succeed in this digital era. Embracing cutting-edge technologies such as microservices, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data is a prominent part of this change.
But to make the most of the digital assets and avenues, it is imperative to create a seamless customer experience with your physical products and increase the value provided. For that, you'll need the help of qualified and dedicated product professionals who can effectively look after the digital assets.
For many organizations, this means creating a new group or department with new roles, responsibilities, and career plans for people looking at the products from an innovative perspective, which is crucial for digital transformation.
These roles and positions affect how your customers engage and interact with your products, ensure a certain standard, and see that everyone is aligned with the same goals and vision.
A strong product management team is critical to successful digital transformation. Good product managers have an extensive skill set and considerable experience integrating digitalization with essential product aspects.
Primary Responsibilities of a Product Manager in Tech
From the company's vision to the processes to the final product, a product manager needs to create the roadmap of execution and ensure that the priorities are straight.
Essentially, the primary responsibilities of a product manager in tech PM are somewhat similar to a typical PM.
Here is a curated list of responsibilities of a technical product manager:
Comprehend the needs of customers and forward them to the development team.
Should be able to effectively and closely work with all the internal teams, such as engineering, development, architecture, operations, and Q&A. The technical product manager should ensure that all the teams clearly understand the requirements and that the implementation roadmap aligns with the needs.
Research the latest trends in technology and integrate those into their practices. The manager should also have the ability to gauge potential threats and emerging products and be a visionary.
Generate innovative ideas and help the team with the execution.
Accountable for the product, its features, and its capabilities.
Asses and solve technical risks.
Analyze and comprehend algorithms, automated systems, and data pipelines.
Be a subject matter expert in the entire product creation process and help the developer's team.
Coordinate product testing.
Establish the success criteria for product testing and acceptance.
Leverage database queries to gauge the product's performance.
Help in the development and maintenance of product documentation.
Interact and coordinate with engineering, sales, and marketing teams during the time of product release.
Use a robust and agile software development approach.
Ensure on-time delivery of the product.
Manage associated costs and risks.
Essential Tools For Optimal Product Management
Here is a round-up of the essential tools that allow for optimal product management and help you accomplish goals with precision:
Project Management Tools
A project management tool is paramount for successful product development and management process. It connects all the members in a unified space where every member can update their task progress and statuses, enabling the supervisors to keep track of the performance and responsibilities of each one of them.
Additionally, a project management tool helps the executives update the team members of any changes in plan and product development seamlessly. They can share and exchange files and documents effortlessly.
A cohesive and all-inclusive project management tool is vital to ensure that your product follows the roadmap and that all involved teams work collectively to produce the desired results.
Product planning or a roadmap tool helps communicate the development cycle and other end-product specifications.
These tools help you map out your product discovery which involves determining a customer's problem/need and coming up with a solution for their problem.
A visible and transparent roadmap helps the product managers make sure that their products travel through the development life cycle in the same way and according to the plan – creating public excitement and meeting benchmarks and criteria along the way.
Analytical tools are an invaluable source of insight and intelligence for product management teams into how your customers engage with your products, services, and content.
Furthermore, product analytics software platforms essentially capture raw data and help you gauge your customers' perceptions.
It also helps determine the type of product your customers expect and what you should work on next. Moreover, it allows them to prioritize and implement things strategically and make significant improvements to the overall development processes.
Wireframes And Mockups
Mockups are a user interface wireframing management tool designed to suit the requirements and needs of medium and small-sized businesses. It lets product managers easily create different replicas or copies to test the product and get user feedback.
This is an ideal tool for companies looking to promptly create simplified mockups (instead of elaborate and full-blown prototypes) for user feedback and testing purposes.
To take your business performance to the next level, it is imperative to rigorously test your products and pave the way for success because the latest design trends and best practices don't always work for your users.
A/B testing helps you understand the most effective and preferred variations according to your users. It brings objectivity to your product and marketing decision-making. Moreover, these tools enable you to incorporate minor changes and achieve better results eventually.
Critical Skills For Product Management
Here are some of the skills that are critical for effective product management and development.
Gathering Industry Insights
A fundamental skill for product management is to have adequate knowledge and understanding of the industry and the market trends and have the ability to set and monitor critical KPIs, like customer conversion rate, customer acquisition costs, features usage, daily active users, Net Promoter Score, user churn, customer lifetime value and customer satisfaction.
In product management, it is crucial to plan the development cycle strategically. This requires a product manager to have good forecasting skills, rational, logical, and critical thinking, deductive and inductive reasoning skills, the capability to ask the right questions and make informed and quick decisions, good delegation skills. Finally, the ability to set SMART goals for your team, stick to them, and ready to change when necessary.
Understanding reading and interpreting data accurately is crucial to draw viable conclusions as a product manager.
Product managers should analyze the data and gain valuable insights to make informed and data-driven decisions, leading to a digitally-powered business.
Data is a central and deeply embedded aspect of a product manager's decision-making processes. Therefore, this skill is a must-have to ensure successful projects.
User Experience Knowledge
While various skills are essential, having the ability to understand UX design is yet another must-have in product management. For companies to succeed, they need to provide their customers with an immersive and inimitable customer experience. The UX dictates your organization's success, so having its basic knowledge and incorporating it indeed sets them up for success.
The other common skills for product management comprise teamwork, team building, brilliant time-management, preparing documentation, compiling reports, project management, delegation skills, prioritization skills, conflict resolution, presentation skills, and empowering and leading your team.
Product development is a strategic priority for companies today.
Product managers are central to companies serving a solid connection with involved teams. Test your management capabilities for the following areas: market orientation, customer experience, business acumen, soft skills, technical skills, and business growth enablers.