What do you like best about product management?
Think and act as an entrepreneur
Entrepeneur means entrepreneurial action in the sense of identifying market opportunities, searching for new product ideas and consistently realizing them. Thinking and acting from a market perspective is the prerequisite for all product management activities. The second step includes operational activities such as specification, market launch, sales support or the management of product crises.
Take on product responsibility with passion
Identification with one's products is a prerequisite for enjoying product management tasks. If the passion for the application, functionality and technology of the product is not there, the sales colleagues and customers will quickly find out. See your product as your "baby". How else should the salesperson be motivated to sell something they are not convinced of.
Create product and not project solutions
The situation arises again and again that customers and sales require project-specific solutions. Even good project solutions rarely turn into successful product lines. The complexity and the costs increase the more projects and variants have to be managed. The later integration of several project / product lines is usually expensive and creates frustration. One of the most important tasks of the product manager is to create a future-oriented and economical product architecture. In this respect, a product manager must also be able to say “no” to customers and sales.
The most important customer is your own sales department
As a product manager, it is important to win over sales for his products. He has to understand the thoughts and motivation of the sales colleagues. A goal-oriented account manager is particularly fond of selling successful products because they are easier to sell and less personal burden, so they sell more products and earn more accordingly. For the product manager, this means additional support during the market launch and particularly quick solutions in problem situations, as otherwise the sales department prefers to sell other products. It is also important to keep an eye on attractive incentives.
Network in sales and the market
A product manager needs market knowledge and his own opinion in order to be an adequate discussion partner for customers, management, sales and development. That is why it is essential for him to have direct access to what is happening in the market and technology. Social networking (like LinkedIn and Xing) switches paths. Last but not least, this also increases its market value.
Create space for yourself
Product management can quickly become a support task. Despite the often high operational burden, the product manager needs to think ahead. The lead times from the idea to market launch are sometimes considerable, depending on the product. This requires creating daily, monthly and annual time windows in which he can carry out the product management homework such as business controlling, product planning and portfolio management. “Me Too” products due to a lack of preoccupation with the future are not acceptable.
Product management means give and take
Product management means working together with many areas of the company and rarely involves disciplinary responsibility. Give and take is particularly important when it comes to the interaction with sales and development. Success can only be ensured through intensive cooperation and mutual fertilization. Regular customer visits are valuable for everyone involved. Social media approaches such as wikis, blogs or communities are good solutions for an optimal exchange of information. The product manager should be a driving force.
Reliability - No Surprises
Both internally and externally, the partners expect product management to be reliable. Of course, the sales department always wants things to go faster. But the most important thing is compliance with the promised functions and deadlines. The internal partners from development and production want early involvement and then no surprising new customer requirements that mess up the development process.
Exceptions prove the rule.
Record decisions and measures in writing
Often, activities are done on demand. The agreements on products, additional functions and services should always be fixed. If development services are required, a business case that is adapted to the situation is recommended. The same applies to product discontinuations, which a sales department seldom likes to see. Some of those involved quickly forget, so it is important to document the decisions made and the associated measures to ensure the desired results.
Clarify the role and accountability
The history of the product manager function in the company, the healthy self-confidence of the sales colleagues and sometimes also the higher technical expertise in development can hinder a product manager from fulfilling his management responsibility. The company management is important backing. The comparison of business strategy and product strategy as well as the associated strategic product decisions by management creates the framework for the responsibility and role of the product manager. In this respect, the integration into the strategic company decisions is more important for the clarification of roles than an impressive job description.
see also the product management concept page
Tags: Leadership culture, product management
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