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Kathmandu
Thursday, May 6, 2021

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Understanding Product Management : Part 1

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What is a product and who is a PM? 

A Product can be anything from the real thing that a user sees to a smaller section of the company or it could be a feature. If we were to consider Facebook, we can think of Newsfeed as a Product, Messaging and Commenting as a product too. News feed products might have the ranking algorithm that might have to be led by a PM and his/her team. Product Managers also could be split by the platform like Web or Android or IO or by areas of focus like Subscription, Billing or Marketing. 

Types of product Managers (Focused in Technology field): 

Internal Product Manager :  Usually part of the Internal Tools Team and helps build the tools that other people within the company use it. They work on developing tools for their internal stakeholders (could be support team, marketing team etc) .

 Great fit for somebody who is just starting out as a PM since there is a lot less risk associated with it. PMs in this role will also be dealing with the integration with other systems and also a great deal of project management. 

Example : A PM that builds a website for their internal support system which enables the customer facing support engineers to collaborate or work better with each other. 

Consumer Product Manager: Product build is consumed by the average consumer. The goal of the PM is to maximize the usage of the consumer and hence will be spending a great deal of time talking to the users, developing prototypes, performing A/B testing and analyzing the data.

Good for people who are okay with ambiguity and pressure. Challenging and risky in the sense that the feature of a product is built for millions of users on multiple platforms.   

Example : A PM at Ubereats who is building the restaurant ranking algorithm based on the location of the user. 

SaaS PMs or B2B PMs: They build products/tools  for other companies. Stakeholders for the product team in these companies are actually people from another company. PMs in these categories mostly interact with their sales team to ensure that the business requirements demanded by other companies are met. 

Also a great fit for entry level PMs as the number of users the product being built is much smaller. Sales team dictates the priorities of the features that have to be delivered by the PM team with the tighter deadlines.

Examples: A Salesforce B2B PM  who usually builds the customer relationship management tools for other companies.

Product Manager vs Project Manager

Product Manager is the CEO of the product and is responsible for the success of the product. Success is defined by the Key Performance Indicators or usually known as KPIs.Example of a metric could be to  increase the monthly subscription of the audible by 10 %. So product managers have the metrics goals that they have to meet or adhere to and usually the method to reach that goal is not defined and has to be solved by the PM. Solution could be redesigning the website, putting faster servers to increase conversion but this depends on the research and testing. So a product manager does a lot of interaction, experimentations and testing. Product Managers also need the skills of project managers to complete the product in time and within the budget. Product manager is a problem solver. 

A project manager is responsible for accomplishing the project which has a timeline and budget constraints. They are usually good at the execution of the project. A good example would be in  a project manager who is involved in the construction of a building where he/she deals with supply, logistics and manpower needed for the work and deadline. Usually this role is not flexible in terms of how to do it, and is very methodological and linear in fashion compared to the product managers role. Project Managers in the software field could be the one who would work on the completion of merging two companies . Another example would be when the software building process has to be managed by someone when all the variables about how and what features have already been defined and things need to be done on budget and on time. 

Next time , we will look into product development! Happy product managing 🙂

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