The core responsibilities of a product manager are not clearly defined as it varies between industry to industry. They play a crucial role in the foundation of the product and continue to chisel out a timeline of the entire product life cycle.
To give you an idea of the complexity of a product manager role, the statements listed below are taken from 3 different product manager job descriptions.
- A product manager is to inspect and examine all stages of the product which include concept, design, test model, forecasting, mass production, pricing and promotion until the end of the product life cycle.
- A product manager should be able to structure a detailed plan of operations for the business which include market share, profit and return on investment, revenue and so on.
- A product manager is responsible for carrying out promotional and marketing activities, determining the cost, ensuring that demand is met and efficiently running production operations through in depth research, market analysis, strategic planning and implementation.
In layman’s terms, the role of a product manager will be to establish a long-term vision of the product and to effectively convey the product strategy to all the executives, shareholders, participants and in-house departments involved.
How Great Product Managers Create Successful Product Roadmaps?
A product roadmap is a visual summary that is intricately planned for the product over time. It is the strategic blueprint for what’s to become of your product and how to precisely execute it. Some of the main objectives of a successful product roadmap are as follows.
- To describe the goal and vision of the product.
- The reason to create the product and its chance of success.
- To devise a well laid out plan for executing the strategy.
- To effectively communicate with shareholders and business partners.
In order for a product roadmap to be successful, the product manager will have to consistently analyse market data and study the latest market trends as well as information from internal sources. Then, the product manager may re-prioritize and change the product direction accordingly.
Prioritization and Roadmap Direction Should be Transparent
A product manager needs to be articulate, well spoken and have effective communication skills as they will be required to explain their actions to business executives. The reason for prioritizing one feature over the other and how it would benefit the product overall should be clearly explained.
Include Evidence Based Decision Making
A successful product manager can effortlessly convince shareholders and business executives on why they chose to take the product in a particular direction or why the product roadmap has been altered. When stating the reason for change, the most effective method is to include evidence.
This evidence can be obtained from existing customer feedback, real-world user data and previous reports. It is commonly known that producing evidence to back up your claims can go in your favor.
It is Alright to Decline Shareholders Demands
There are many instances where shareholders will request product managers to include a new feature which they feel will be revolutionary or when they ask for insider access to the product which is still in beta phase.
Product managers might feel pressured to oblige but remember, there is no harm in declining a request. If the occasion arises, politely decline any demands that interfere with the timeline and development of the product.
Find the Right Balance Between Customers and Shareholders
There are other factors involved such as the product budget, scale of business, agreement of shareholders and more. Product managers have to prioritize workflow according to the resources available to them.
They must maintain a balance between meeting customer demands and shareholders expectations. To become a great product manager, you must be willing to interact directly with customers, study research reports from the leading experts in the field, examine the competitors’ products, determine the price using market analytics, provide evidence to support their choices and should have exquisite communication skills.
How To Maintain a Successful Product Roadmap?
The Product Roadmap Should be Frequently Updated
Every product manager should regularly review the product roadmap, updates can be made depending on the conditions of the market. For example, let’s say the competitor’s product has a feature which is highly sought after, the product manager can implement a change to include that feature for the next batch of products or from the next quarter.
A study revealed that over two-thirds of successful product managers update their roadmaps once a month and the frequency for in-house product development teams is every week.
The Product Roadmap Should be Executive Friendly
The product roadmap is shared with all core departments involved in the creation of the product, development, testing, safety compliance checks and several other audiences. A good product manager will communicate with employees and prioritize tasks efficiently as well as maintain good relations with shareholders on product development, profit margins, quarterly revenue and operating expenditure.
The Product Roadmap Timeframe Should be Adaptable
As the world around us rapidly changes with new technology being implemented in every sector of the industry, product managers must be prepared for accelerated changes to meet customer demands.
Technology is swiftly changing the forefront of business as we know today. Product managers need to devise contingencies into their product roadmap as sometimes, market changes can impede long-term goals and lead to overspending. A successful product roadmap must be well thought out and adaptable to future changes.