The role of a PM varies across companies and countries, however, majority of PMs share similar traits that help them be successful. Before applying to a role, it’s important to spend some time understanding the role as well as the field of product management, so you can best assess where your strengths fit in.
Generally speaking, a product manager is one who manages the creation of a product (whether that be a full product or a component of a product) – they can perform market research, identify product needs, determines product requirements, establish development schedules, coordinate design, business, and engineering teams, as well as implement marketing strategies.
Product Manager Job Description
- Learn the needs of the consumer via business knowledge and analysis
- Develop product lines and evaluate viable market ideas
- Establish marketing goals for public communication
- Work with the sales managers to develop plans for product sales
- Develop estimates and strategic analyses for long and short-term product sales
- Bring new products to the market
- Coordinate with a full team of engineers and other staff to create a product
- Design product prototypes and wireframes
- Present product progress to key stakeholders
What Does a Product Manager Actually Do?
Here’s the catch – that’s the general job description. From company to company, this greatly varies. Take the Google APM program where you’re tasked with a large problem such as “increase the latency” and you have to source a team and complete the task as opposed to Google APMM program where your work revolved around the marketing of a product. In short, a product manager plays a significant role in any company or organization. It’s difficult to hone in on the exact roles of a product manager, however, across nearly all PM positions, there are shared duties and traits:
- Visions Establishments
A product manager gives a vision of a product and a strategy. The aim is again to provide a consumer with advantages and interests. In order to achieve so, the product manager must evaluate the market and the competitive environment, and make a roadmap of how to achieve success. Whether this be modeling the product from the ground up or assessing the features and benefits, being able to adequately understand your audience and mold a product to their needs is key.
- Teamwide Planning
The product manager also determines what the product team does and the product schedule. The PM needs to be aware of his/her team, their constraints, and what resources they need to be successful. Being able to lay out a timeline and key benchmarks is critical to meeting deadlines. Being able to plan ahead is truly important as you can maximize your teams productivity and hence results.
- Leadership Style
A product manager’s leadership is multidisciplinary. Almost everyone is involved in developing a product, including support, engineering, executive, and marketing teams. A product manager, therefore, needs to be able to communicate and articulate with a wide range of people across several areas. This emphasizes a need for not only strong communication skills, but a necessity for being able to manage up and down, as well as to different types of people. Effective PM’s cater their leadership styles to the teams they’re working with to ensure success and overall satisfaction on the team.
How to Prepare for a Product Manager Interview
Certainly not every PM has all the mentioned skills – what makes a product manager excellent is their ability to balance out their weaker areas with their strengths. When applying to a product management job, it’s critical that you showcase these skills to highlight your ability to be a great PM. During the interview and any phone screens, make sure to brainstorm what traits you hope to convey and think about stories that highlight each of these skills. For more resources, check out this guide on how to land a product job right out of college and this interview tool!