What Is Product Management? (With Skills and Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 January 2023

Published 2 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Product management is a necessary function of an organisation for developing, positioning and marketing a new product. It helps businesses attain their objectives and support functional areas such as human resources, finance and marketing by building better products. This plays an important role in improving the economy through the optimal utilisation of resources. In this article, we learn about what is product management, find out the necessary product management skills and explore the courses to become a product manager.

What is product management?

Product management is the process of managing products over their entire life cycle. This includes market analysis, development stimulation, market launch, indicator monitoring and continuous product improvement.

Product managers usually work in close collaboration with several departments to achieve business objectives, communicate with stakeholders and develop strategic plans for the product. They offer high-quality end products to consumers, prioritise user requirements and aid in company expansion. Product management may also involve restructuring existing strategies and implementing them to evaluate poor decisions. The process of product management requires some common stages which are:

  • vision for a product

  • strategies to reach the goal

  • development and marketing of products

  • growth of products

  • assessment of the process

Essential product management skills

Product management skills combine a strong set of general and specialised skills to understand business goals and consumer needs. Product managers may use their sales and marketing expertise to define an organisation's long-term product vision and strategy. This involves a thorough understanding of current and future market trends. Here are some of the essential product management skills:

Market research

Conducting market research helps identify ways to create new products or enhance existing products for target clients. Product managers may create strategic plans to understand consumer sensitivities and get the right product-market fit. This also allows for better competitive analysis. With good market research skills, you can assess user insights, conduct successful testing, collect survey responses and perform segmentation research.

Strategic thinking

Product management defines the vision of an organisation and provides a clear roadmap to achieve that vision. This usually involves logical and strategic thinking skills to understand the overview of the product development process. Having the right mix of strategic thinking and successful execution of plans leads to the success of the product, team and organisation.

Related: Your Guide To The Strategic Management Process

Business skills

Product management requires strong business skills to create an effective product strategy. Product managers generally understand the functioning of products, cash flow and budgeting in product development. The development of business skills also helps manage budgets and resource allocation for projects. You may attend internships or join entry-level jobs in the sales or marketing department to enhance your business skills. Many applicants also pursue formal studies in business administration to broaden their theoretical knowledge.

Flexibility

Product management calls for adaptation to changes throughout the development process. Product deployment strategies, priorities, market conditions and technologies may decide the adoption of different strategies at any time. This requires product managers to remain flexible and keep up with new or unexpected changes and challenges.

Leadership skills

It is important to possess strong leadership skills in product management roles. Effective leaders may be able to supervise and build a strong product team, explain the roadmap to them and develop projections on the different aspects of product development. Effective product leaders may also mentor and motivate their team members to meet organisational goals. They also present plans to company executives, provide constructive feedback and additional guidance to their team members.

Communication skills

A product management job requires interacting with various internal and external business stakeholders. Professionals in this field may have to regularly communicate with clients and stakeholders to determine their organisational goals and expectations. Their involvement in product meetings and presentations requires strong communication skills and the ability to get along with team members.

Technical expertise

Some areas of product management include working with advanced software, tools and applications. Product managers may require these technical and digital skills to work with their teams and clients. Having a basic level of technical knowledge is also essential in understanding the manufacturing and production concepts.

Management skills

Excellent management skills may be important to work in a product management team. Product managers communicate the product strategy for development and release information to relevant stakeholders including the leadership team and stakeholders. They are aware of the strengths of each team member and assign them tasks based on their skills and expertise.

Related: Top 10 Product Manager Skills And How To Develop Them

What does a product manager do?

Some key responsibilities of product managers may include:

  • research the market and understand consumer needs

  • monitor the progress of existing and new products

  • evaluate product requirements and specifications

  • plan product lines with team members

  • create budgets and prepare financial reports

  • develop business strategies for marketing and distribution

  • supervise the team involved in product management

  • evaluate and discuss the ideas shared by team members

  • coordinate with other departments to ensure product success

  • collaborate with the sales and development team to review the progress

  • review key performance indicators of each team

  • analyse reports and study news related to the concerned market

Related: Writing An Associate Product Manager Resume (With Template)

How to become a product manager

Here are a few steps to guide you to become a product manager:

1. Complete your education

The minimum requirement of becoming a product manager is a bachelor's degree from any recognised board or university. Candidates may pursue a bachelor's degree in business management or any related field. Many individuals pursue a BBA degree after completing their senior secondary (10+2) examination. Many colleges and institutes also offer product management courses for graduate and post-graduate students. By following these courses, you may learn how to plan, develop and commercialise final products. Some companies may also require candidates to have a master's degree to handle larger product lines or work in senior leadership roles.

2. Develop your skills

The job product manager is a highly skilled position. Marketing, business and researching skills may help product managers persuade others to share their products. Building these skills may help you successfully develop, launch and promote your products.

3. Earn certifications

Certificates are useful for developing specialised skills in a short period of time. You can consider obtaining some relevant online certifications related to product management. Being certified may also demonstrate your commitment to the role of product leader. These certifications may improve your chances of success when applying for jobs.

4. Gain relevant experience

You can start your career with internships or entry-level jobs to gain professional experience in the industry. Employers often prefer hiring candidates with relevant industry experience. During internships, you may also look for experts and senior leaders for mentorship and expand your professional network.

5. Create your resume

While applying for jobs, ensure that your resume highlights your strengths and accomplishments. You can list your product management skills, qualifications and professional experience on the resume. The inclusion of product management certifications and success achieved working on personal projects would also be beneficial.

Related: How To Make A Resume For Your First Job

6. Apply for product manager roles

Personalise your job application based on the job you are applying for. Search for companies with relevant employment opportunities and submit your resume with a cover letter. You may also connect with the college professors, seniors and other professionals in your network to seek relevant job opportunities if you are a fresher. Be sure to prepare for the interview by revising some fundamental concepts and knowledge in your domain.

Related: 24 Product Manager Interview Questions (And Example Answers)

Average salary of a product manager

The average salary of a product manager is ₹9,55,321 per year. This salary can vary depending on factors such as job location, qualifications and experience. The average salary of a product manager is different for different industries. For example, the average salary of a technical product manager is ₹12,66,353 per year, significantly higher than the average salary of a lead product manager, which is ₹8,708 per month. Product managers typically work as direct employees in organisations.

What is the difference between product management and project management?

The differences between product management and project management are as follows:

  • Role: The product management process involves planning and marketing a product, whereas project management involves meeting specific objectives and completing a project on time.

  • Responsibility: Product management professionals take care of customer needs and develop solutions for them. Project management professionals oversee a particular project from start to finish, with set goals and deadlines.

  • Scope: Product management takes a broader view than project management.

  • Functioning: Product management focuses on the internal and external aspects of the objective, while project management involves only internal processes.

  • Duration: Product management professionals handle the development of a product in an ongoing process as products require maintenance and upgrades. Project management professionals proceed to the next project upon completion.

  • Accountability: Product managers share their vision with stakeholders, whereas project managers share their progress with stakeholders.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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