What is Product Management?

"The intersection between business, technology and user experience." - Martin Eriksson

Product Management

What is Product Management? Martin Eriksson defines product management as “the intersection between business, technology and user experience”.

What is Product Management

Source: Martin Eriksson

Business – The product manager focuses on how to optimize the product and how to maximize the business value from this. To achieve this, he has to close the communication gap between developers, customers and business.

UX – Product managers focus on the user experience and the relationship between user and company. He represents the customer inside the company. This means that he tests the product, talks to customers to get feedback and works closely together with the UX designers development team.

Technology – A product manager doesn’t have to be a developer but to make the right decisions he has to understand how a product gets built and how the technology works. This is especially important in agile projects where the product manager spends most of the time with the development team.

“The job of a product manager is to discover a product that is valuable, usable, and feasible.” – Marty Cagan

Product management is an organizational function that supports and manages all activities of a product’s life cycle from market analysis, to development, positioning, product launch, and marketing. The goal of product management is to analyze and understand the customers and develop a solution that not just solve the problems but exceed the customer’s expectations.

A product manager generally focuses on the following core responsibilities:

  • Research: To gain relevant information, the product manager defines, personas and analyzes the market and competitors.
  • Strategy: The relevant information gets shaped into a high-level strategic plan for the product. The strategy includes goals, an overview of the product, prioritization of features and a rough timeline. Typically, product managers use a product roadmap to develop the strategy.
  • Communication: Communication includes cross-functional leadership. The strategy gets presented to key stakeholders across the complete organization e.g. executives, investors and the development, marketing, and sales teams. These product professionals communicate during the development process and beyond.
  • Coordinating Development: After accepting the strategy the plan has to be realized. During the realization, the product manager coordinates the relevant teams like development, marketing and sales team.
  • Feedback and Data Analysis: After the product is built, tested and introduced to the market, the product manager will analyze data and learn from user feedback. It is the goal to find out what worked, what didn’t work and what should be changed. This analysis and feedback will be implemented into further iterations of the product.

Inbound vs. Outbound product management

Setting up the strategy and defining the roadmap is often considered being inbound word whereas bringing the product to the market is often considered to be outbound. A great product manager has a set of skills to do both parts of product management.

Both parts can be performed by one product manager or two managers who work closely together. For a successful product, it is important to synchronize both parts of product management.

Inbound Product Management (Product Development)

Make sure that the developed product meets the demands of the customers, solves the right problems and is cost-effective. It involves tasks like doing market research, setting up a strategy and managing the product roadmap as well as the coordination of the development.

Outbound Product Management (Product Marketing)

Includes product marketing, customer communication, product launch, advertising, PR and events. They educate the market about the product and analyze the feedback from the customers.

Conclusion

Martin Eriksson defines product management as “the intersection between business, technology and user experience”.

Product management supports and manages all activities of a product’s life cycle from market analysis, to development, positioning, product launch, and marketing. The goal is to analyze and understand the customers and develop a solution that not just solve the problems but exceed the customer’s expectations.

Product Management can be separated into Product Development and Product Marketing. These two parts go hand in hand and are often run by one product manager.

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