There are days when I know my exact role as a Product Manager, but there are days when my role is not so straight forward. As a Product Manager you are required to be a jack-of-all-trades. However, every Product Manager has three major roles. Product Managers are: Conductors, Judges, and Executioners.
Like a symphony conductor, the Product Manager does not play an instrument, but he or she must coordinate the sound for the listener. A successful conductor meets deadlines, updates stakeholders with key information, and maintains the overall vision for the team. As Product Manager it’s easy to think you alone carry the weight of the success of a product. Yet, a good Product Manager knows success depends on the coordinated movement of the team. As the conductor, you are only as good as the cohesiveness of your team. It’s essential that you lead through collaboration and communicate often to ensure progress.
Product Managers will have to make tough calls. It is one of the most challenging parts of being a Product Manager. As the judge, ensuring that all product stakeholders are satisfied with the end result of a product is a delicate balancing act. Advocating for your users and increasing the probability of success with a product should be the goal of any Product Manager. These tough calls should be made using as much data as possible. Make sure you are transparent with your data and there is agreement that the source is reputable and any assumptions are outlined.
Ensuring a product moves from one defined phase to the next is an important task that is ongoing. It is entirely possible you maybe in charge of the next phase of the product or later down the road the product cycles back to you. The product should be sustainable when it leaves the Product Manager’s care. A product’s success should never rest solely on the existence of the Product Manager but should leverage a strong foundation built by the Product Manager at launch.
The job of Product Manager is indeed a high stress job in that it really is a multitude of jobs rolled into one title. Most the time you’re doing everything but nobody knows exactly what you’re doing. However, by keeping the outlined roles in mind, you’ll be successful in not only building a product, but building an engaged team of people to help you build even more products in the future.