Who is the Product Manager and What do they really do?

Who is the Product Manager and What do they really do?

Who is a Product Manager?

A Product Manager (PM) is akin to a captain of a ship, steering the product from its inception to its launch, and beyond. They are the strategic planners who identify the customer's needs and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill. They articulate what success looks like for a product and rally a team to turn that vision into a reality.

What does a Product Manager really do?

The role of a Product Manager encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, but at its core, it involves the following key activities:

  1. Understanding and Representing User Needs:

    Before a product is even conceptualized, the Product Manager begins by understanding the potential users. This involves conducting market research, analyzing customer feedback, and identifying pain points that the product can solve. They act as the voice of the customer within the company, ensuring that the product development team understands the user's needs.

  2. Defining the Product Vision and Strategy:

    The Product Manager sets the long-term vision for the product, which serves as a guiding star for all development efforts. They develop a product strategy that outlines how the company will achieve this vision. This strategy includes identifying the target market, setting product goals, and determining the key features that will make the product stand out in the market.

  3. Prioritizing Features and Building the Roadmap

    With a clear strategy in place, the Product Manager then prioritizes the features that will be developed. They create a product roadmap, which is a high-level overview of the product's development plan, including timelines and milestones. This roadmap helps align the team and stakeholders around the product's direction.

  4. Collaborating with Cross-Functional Teams

    Product Managers work closely with engineers, designers, marketers, sales teams, and other stakeholders to bring the product to life. They ensure that everyone is aligned with the product vision and strategy, and they facilitate communication between different departments to solve problems and make decisions.

  5. Measuring Success and Iterating

    After the product is launched, the Product Manager measures its success against the predefined goals. They analyze user feedback and performance data to identify areas for improvement. Based on this analysis, they iterate on the product, making continuous improvements to better meet user needs and achieve business objectives.


Imagine you're planning a birthday party for a friend. As the "Product Manager" of this party, you start by understanding what your friend likes and dislikes. You decide the theme of the party (the product vision), plan the activities and food (the features), and create a timeline for when to send invitations and buy decorations (the roadmap). You work with others (cross-functional team) like friends who will help with decorations and someone in charge of music. After the party, you think about what went well and what could have been better (measuring success and iterating) to plan even better parties in the future.

Role and Responsibilities of a Product Manager

A Product Manager is responsible for guiding the success of a product and leading the cross-functional team that is responsible for improving it. This involves setting the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for a product or product line. The position may also include marketing, forecasting, and profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities.

Strategy Development

A PM must develop a product strategy that aligns with the company's vision and goals. This involves understanding the market, the customers, and the business to make informed decisions about the direction of the product.

Roadmap Planning

Creating a product roadmap is a critical task for a PM. It outlines the vision, direction, priorities, and progress of the product over time. It serves as a guiding document for the development team and a communication tool for stakeholders.

Feature Prioritization

Deciding which features to build and in what order is a key responsibility. PMs must balance the needs of customers, the potential impact on the market, and the company's objectives when prioritizing features.

Cross-Functional Leadership

PMs work with various teams, including engineering, design, marketing, sales, and customer support. They must ensure that all teams are aligned with the product's goals and work together effectively to bring the product to market.

Challenges Faced by Product Managers

Product Managers often encounter several challenges that require a combination of skills, tools, and processes to overcome.

Balancing Responsibilities

PMs have to juggle multiple responsibilities, from strategic to tactical. They must manage their time effectively and prioritize tasks to ensure that they are focusing on the most impactful activities.

The role of a Product Manager is multifaceted and involves strategic planning, execution, and continuous improvement of a product. PMs face a variety of challenges, from managing cross-functional teams to prioritizing features and making data-driven decisions

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Your dedication to reading till the end is truly appreciated. Wishing you all the best!