Product management primarily plays a crucial part in manufacturing-based companies. In order to identify the needs of the customers, companies hire product managers to oversee the entire product manufacturing process and ensure that the product delivers the customer needs and provides solutions to their pain points.
Perceiving their significance in an organization, product managers in the US and worldwide earn a handsome salary, resulting in high demand for the job role. However, to pursue product management as a career, one should first know about the roles and responsibilities of a product manager.
What is a Product Manager?
A product manager fuels a manufacturing company’s production process efficiently by performing product planning, development, and meeting customer goals. They also identify customer requirements and curate products accordingly.
To find the answer to what is a product manager, one needs to know exactly what does a product manager do.
This article will cover the important aspects such as the qualifications and skills required to be a product manager, how much they earn, what do product managers do, etc.
How to become a Product Manager?
Here are the steps to becoming a product manager:
# Step 1: One has to complete their basic education by getting a bachelor’s degree in a relevant program. Degrees such as engineering and business management can be a good start. However, they must attain a minimum of 50% aggregate irrespective of their chosen degree.
# Step 2: Gaining work-related experience is preferably the next step. If one is certain about the industry they want to work in as a product manager, they may join any entry-level position in that industry and gain experience of at least 3 to 5 years.
# Step 3: After gaining sufficient work experience, one can opt for higher education, such as an MBA in product management. Such a degree can make one knowledgeable regarding more minute aspects of product management.
# Step 4: Those who don’t want to go with the previous step can also opt for certification courses in the relevant field, which is equally helpful.
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What is the average salary of a Product Manager?
The average salary of a product manager based in the US is around $13,306 per annum. However, the salary can range anywhere from $3K to $52K per annum based on years of experience. The salary may also vary depending on your work location.
Individuals can go for higher pay as product managers by changing employers, upskilling themselves, and gaining more experience.
What Does a Product Manager Do?
Playing an essential role in a product’s lifecycle, product managers play several daily duties to fulfill their jobs. To find a precise answer to what do product managers do? one needs to understand a product lifecycle and stakeholder involvement.
A product manager aims to oversee the entire product development process and analyze whether or not the outcomes have met the business goals. Product managers also play a significant role in bridging the gap between the different teams working on the different stages of product development. Therefore, a product manager must have the ability to build strong cohesion amongst the cross-functional teams.
Below are the day-to-day responsibilities of a product manager.
1. Creating production plans and roadmaps:
Planning works as a blueprint for any plan before its initiation. As a product manager, you are responsible for planning and road mapping the production process using the company vision and keeping the desired outcomes in mind.
This process requires the product manager to collect information and feedback from the customers and the company. Collaborating with cross-functional teams, a product manager uses this data to predict future outcomes for the product. Product managers look into the product backlogs and determine which features are required in the product.
2. Identifying and analyzing customer needs:
A product manager’s most critical responsibilities include analyzing the customers’ needs. They search out, gather and prioritize the customers’ needs and add features to a product accordingly.
To create a satisfying user experience, product managers often take part in various customer experience interviews and gather valuable customer feedback. They then incorporate those experiences and feedback into the products to make them more likable to the customers. This specific task is a crucial part of a product manager’s role as it helps identify the pain points that the product often overlooks.
3. Being the representative of the consumers:
As a product manager, one is responsible for being the advocate of the customers and addressing their needs. Their job is to find any fault in the product or if it is correctly serving the targeted market.
Often, what the engineer builds might not come across as the easiest solution, or the consumers may not find it as helpful as the manufacturer. In such cases, a product manager acts as the bridge between the two and eliminates confusion by testing the product efficiency.
4. Forming teams:
Creating a product requires the association of multiple cross-functional teams. Apart from creating, launching, and making a product successful, the contribution of various departments such as designing, engineering, marketing, sales, customer service, etc., is imperative. A product manager must ensure that all the teams are in sync and meeting the customer goals.
For this, a product manager has to have good communication skills so that everyone in every team stays on the same page regarding following the overall product vision.
5. Testing products:
Once the product prototypes are ready, the product manager needs to curate various testing programs that examine various aspects of the product. This ensures that the product meets all the customer expectations.
Most product managers use the agile framework to perform this task and make adjustments. These testing processes also help in improving the products for future iterations.
6. Making improvements:
Apart from developing products from scratch, product managers are often responsible for improving or upgrading an existing product to align with the current customer goals.
Therefore, the product manager must perform constant customer research to determine what iterations must be made to make the product meet current customer needs.
7. Keeping records:
Product managers are also responsible for providing complete reporting and documentation in the form of business cases, market research documents, product roadmaps, etc. They may also be required to do competitor analysis, product comparison, and so forth to effectively convey the customer needs and keep records of them.
Skills Required to be a Product Manager
A successful production manager must have an array of skills to perform their duties up to the expectations. Some of the most important skills include:
1. Communication Skills:
As a production manager, one has to often communicate with a large variety of people from different levels of an organization. Therefore good communication skills to adapt to each requirement is a necessity,
2. Leadership Quality:
To convey the customer needs and correctly incorporate them into the products, a product manager has to keep a close eye on every cross-functional team. Hence, one has to show good leadership qualities by motivating and guiding the workers.
3. Critical Thinking and Problem-solving:
Identifying the pain points of a product and how they can be solved requires critical thinking abilities. Product managers often have to alter existing products according to the customers’ current needs, needing them to brainstorm regularly.
4. Eye for details and knowledge of operations
A product manager needs to pay attention to every small and large detail of a product. Therefore, having an eye for details is a must. A product manager must have a sound understanding of the operations to regulate the process with full efficiency.
5. Being a product specialist
Besides managing a product’s lifecycle, It is very much expected that a product manager must also be a product specialist who knows about the industry market and product. As product specialists, they should know the roadmap of overall product strategy, be able to prioritize features in the backlog, and correctly interpret customer feedback.
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6. Being a business specialist:
Product managers ar responsible for every minor and major requirement of a product, starting from allocating the budget to understanding the stakeholders of the product. Therefore, they must possess strong business skills as well for effective product management.
From overseeing the production process to looking after the customer needs and managing cross-functional teams, a product manager works as the backbone of any manufacturing facility. Hence the job also requires the person to have product knowledge, business skills, and leadership qualities.
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How to start a career as a product manager?
Graduation with a minimum of 50% aggregate, followed by sufficient work experience, is the basic requirement for establishing your career as a product manager. Candidates can also bring higher education, certification, and work experience to the table to get an edge over other candidates.
Is a production manager a good career choice?
As the world is witnessing a booming rise in startups, many organizations are seeking talented individuals to take over the role of product managers. Product management, being a lucrative career, is bound to grow further following its current growth.
What is a production manager? Is it the same as a product manager?
No, a product manager and a production manager are not the same. A product manager is an individual who is behind the creation and success of a product, whereas a production manager is an individual who is responsible for ensuring the efficiency of the production process. They oversee the entire production process and maintain its productivity so that it can meet the deadlines and budgets.