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What is a Product Manager?

The Product Manager, also known as PM, leads the development of a B2B, B2C, SaaS, platform or mobile oriented product to meet the needs of the users.

He masters the science of product management and has a deep understanding of customer issues. His or her ability to arbitrate enables him or her to make decisions for the future of the product and thus to develop a medium- to long-term product vision.

The Product Manager is involved in the company's strategy and ensures that the project progresses. He or she is often confused with the Product Owner, whose tasks are more operational.

Why do companies need this job?

Tech companies, developing a digital and technical product, aim to offer a viable, desirable and feasible product.

To do this, it is necessary to provide the user with continuous value, through very regular iterations (every 2 to 4 weeks).

This job allows a company to organize the work of a team around a tech project in an agile way and thus bring this continuous value.

What role does the Product Manager play in the project?

Its impact on the business is critical because it is literally the hub of a project ensuring the link between the needs of the sponsor and the design and development teams.

His product vision and methods of frequent testing and iteration allow the business to try new solutions while constantly reorienting itself in the direction of expected results.

What are the missions of the PM?

The Product Manager is the link between the needs of the users and the operational strength of the technical team. His/her main tasks are as follows:

  • Define the performance indicators (KPIs) that will enable it to measure the impact of the work carried out by the product and tech teams on the project. These KPIs are fundamental to defining the project's objectives and serve as a guideline for its management.
  • Be the guarantor of the discovery phase, which allows the identification of pain points and further research into user needs. The PM poses hypotheses which he/she is responsible for subsequently debunking by carrying out user tests.
  • Launch the product team on the right topics. The PM establishes the roadmap to organise the work of the tech and product teams. To do this, he prioritises the features to be developed according to their added value for the company and the time constraints. He also specifies their limits and expected performance.
  • Take ownership of the product vision and refine it over time to move the project in a direction consistent with the reality of the market in which the solution is deployed.

Finally, the Product Manager is the guarantor of the evolution of the product, from the identification of user needs to the production of the solutions and the measurement of their performance.

Collaboration in the team

The Product Manager works hand in hand with the product team and the tech team to develop each solution. He/she may be required to interact directly with users to gather their needs.

Sometimes, this is done with the sales team, which plays the role of intermediary. It is therefore a direct relationship with the Product Owner, the developers and the UX/UIDesigners.

What are the skills of a Product Manager?

Product management requires wearing several hats and therefore being multidisciplinary. The PM must have an excellent vision of his or her product and a good understanding of marketing, tech and business issues, rather than skills in these areas, even though these are a plus.

In addition, the Product Manager is familiar with the business sector in which his or her product is deployed and has a good understanding of the development of a technical project.

Soft skills

The product manager's qualities must include organisation and rigour. His synthetic mind enables him to deal with the divergent product visions he faces.

He is also a good communicator because of his role as a facilitator and knows how to say "no". In fact, on a daily basis, he/she has to interact with people whose needs are different and must succeed in reconciling the expectations of each party in order to provide the solutions that will have the most added value.

The ability to make the right decisions will be needed as well as natural leadership to move all stakeholders in the same direction.

What are the methods and tools used?

The Product Manager masters several product management tools and methods:

Methods:

  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Lean startup
  • Feature Driven Development
  • Lean software development

Tools:

  • Trello
  • Jira
  • Asana

What are the training courses to become a Product Manager?

To become a Product Manager, it is essential to have a good grounding in project management. To do this, you can study at an engineering school or business school with a 5-year degree or in certain specialised courses.

It is also possible to go to a computer school to train in tech. Many entrepreneurs and technical project managers become product managers.

What is the salary of a Product Manager?

Salary varies according to the number of years of experience in the position. The salary for a junior product manager (less than 3 years experience) starts at €38,000 gross per year. A senior product manager with more than 5 years of experience in this position can expect a salary in excess of €60,000 gross per year .

Product manager salary chart

How can a Product Manager career evolve?

The position of Product Manager can lead to Head Of Product or CPO positions to take responsibility for the product strategy and vision.

December 8, 2022

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