Tag Archives: Usability

The new role of Product Manager

Having been in the field of Product Management for the better part of 10 years now, I couldn’t help but appreciate this article on the evolving role of Product Manager in the work place posted by SVPG almost a year ago. While there is a certain inference to the start-up world in their post, it still has much relevance for any Product Manager (especially one that is in a technology sector such as myself). In fact, I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share my revision of their Old versus New Product Manager, I hope you enjoy:

  “Old” Product Manager “New” Product Manager
Where they fit in the Organization:  Marketing  Product (Product Management plus User Experience Design), a Peer to Technology and Marketing
Education:  MBA  Computer Science or User Experience Design
Spends Days:  Writing Requirements Documents  Product Discovery / Pursuing Minimum Viable Product
Learns About Customer Behavior:  With Focus Groups  With User Testing and A/B Testing
Makes Case For Project Funding Based On:  A Business Case  Customer and Product Discovery
Reads:  The Wall Street Journal  TechCrunch, GigaOM, Reddit, and a hundred other blogs
Deep Knowledge In:  How To Use Excel  Customers
Loves:  To Be The Boss  To Apply Technology To Solve Problems
Sits With:  “The Business”  Product Team (Designers and Developers)
When Things Don’t Go Well:  Blames The Developers  Blames Himself
Strives To Please: Stakeholders Customers
Makes Decisions Based On: Opinions Data
Communicates With Stakeholders: With PowerPoint With Prototypes
Attitude: Believes His Ideas Are Great Knows At Least Half of Ideas Won’t Work or will require change in order to work
Worries About: Competitors Taking Care Of Customers
Secret Weapon: Killer Features User Experience / Usability of product
Strives To Create: Profits Value (because it’s the best path to sustained profits)

Almost all of this list is borrowed from the SVPG post, but I did take liberties to throw my own additions where I felt it was most appropriate. I also don’t want to give any misconceptions here; this is not about a right versus wrong approach. This is about showing how the position has changed and is being viewed in up and coming organization. On a personal level I feel I am more of a hybrid of the two types, with an emphasis on the newer values. I feel I have successfully adapted to the old approach (perhaps more to conform than anything), but deep down it is hard to ignore the newer values that are so heavily rooted in customer experience.