Product Management

What Product Managers Do

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Product management has a central role in many companies. The field covers design, production, packaging, pricing, market research, promotion and advertising related to the specific products. Note that the term "product" often is used to cover both products and services.

As a result, product management really is an interdisciplinary function that ranges far beyond those skills and duties traditionally associated with marketing alone.

Skills Needed:

A great deal of financial savvy, for example, is often necessary since product managers have direct responsibility for the profitability of their products. Indeed, profit is normally the primary metric for evaluating a product and its product manager. As a result, the best product managers tend to have the same financial knowledge and skills required of a controller, with particular expertise in areas such as:

Successful Product Managers:

This field should appeal to people with wide-ranging interests that span various business disciplines. High energy, alertness and creativity are key personal attributes. The best product managers are restless intellectually, putting even greater effort into the development of new products than into the care of existing ones. Indeed, successful management of existing products means never standing still, but instead look for constant improvement.

Training and Background:

Of vital importance to a product manager is a thorough knowledge of the product, its uses and applications, and the manufacturing processes (if applicable) used to make it. Thus, a technical background can be invaluable, such as an engineering degree. If the product actually is a financial service, then a finance background would be highly desirable.

If the product is software, or computer systems, a computer science or information technology background combined with detailed knowledge of the intended applications probably are required.