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A Summary of

What is a Product Manager, Actually?

by
Alex Valaitis
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What a Product Manager is Not

  • A Product Manager is NOT a
    • Software Developer or Engineer
    • Designer
    • Software Architect
    • Analyst or a Consultant
    • Authoritarian Figure

So what is a Product Manager, Actually?

  • A Product Manager is the Quarterback of a product
    • They do not have authoritative control over the team
    • Unlike CEOs, they are in the trenches executing with the team
    • They need to be able to work with and have the trust of the entire team

What Does a Product Manager Do?

  • There are 3 different phases that PM’s will find themselves in: Discovery, Planning and Execution
    • Discovery Phase
      • A Product Manager is tasked with finding the most important problems and defining which of them should be solved
    • Planning Phase
      • After pouring through data and spending time with customers, it is up to a Product Manager to help prioritize which products or features are worth pursuing
    • Execution Phase
      • A PM is expected to work closely with the development and design functions.
      • Once a product is built, it is important that a PM works with marketing and design to ensure that the product gets the right exposure in the marketplace
      • Lastly, a PM should be in close contact with Support/Operations to ensure that the product is functioning well at all times
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