Feeling frustrated as product manager?


- Looking for a product manager role description and checklist to guide your work?

The main responsibility of a Product manager is to drive your product offering to success. Easier said than done. Being a product manager you negotiating requirements with the R&D team in China, create the marketing brief to communicate the value of our product and guide the sales team to avoid selling customizations that will ruin the product architecture already before 9am coffee.  Add to that that you have a business case and a roadmap to be ready to present for the management board before lunch.

The everyday life of a product manager is a hectic and challenging job especially if your role description is vague and constantly misconceived by others where the R&D department thinks you are working for them and sales and marketing thinks the same. While in reality your job is to align the different departments to create successful product.

It sound like product managers are some kind of superhuman, and I’d say great product managers are. After working with product management every day for 6 years we at Tolpagorni have learned that product managers are every day heroes in their organizations. Or as Ian Lunn, CEO at Product Focus, said at the Product leadership day conference 2013 “product managers are expert compromisers”. 

  Illustration by Maria Raymondsdotter at Product Leadership Day 2013

We know how lonely and hard work it can be from time to time.  And how tiring the invisible force that drag us down in to daily operations can be, while we are trying to stay focused on planning the long term roadmap for success. Product managers that we meet often feel frustrated that they are the one with a holistic view of the product where as parts of the company don't see it.

We see the role of product managers to be more than mere technical or marketing skills, it's a role where you need skills and abilities to make the whole team and organization work together to make great products. We have created a sample job description where we focus on skill set and checklists of areas which are core and others that we see that you just orchestrate.  You can download the worksheet here. 

PM Role Description

I hope that this will empower you to some extent. And if you’d like to share your experience and perhaps frustration with other product manager IRL, you should check out the Product Leadership Day.  Northern Europe’s largest conference for product managers at high tech companies in the B2B arena.  A conference for product managers for both hardware and software products and across industries to meet and challenge each other, but also to inspire and to grow in the role. The Product Leadership day is also the hub in Scandinavia where you can meet with international thought leaders like Rich Mironov, Michael McGrath, Roman Pichler and Steve Johnson. 

About The Author

Kristin is Chief Education Officer and responsible for the training wing at Tolpagorni, including public and onsite trainings, conferences and eLearning. She has previously worked at PM-China establishing the first product management conferences in Shanghai and Beijing with speakers from companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest. She has a BA in International Politics and Economics and a minor MBA from East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai. She has working experience from NGOs in Eastern Africa and in the hi-tech training business from China.