Are you a product manager under a huge amount of stress as a result of doing other’s people’s work? Then this one’s for you! It’s also for other departments who think they understand what a product manager does, but actually have no idea.
Spoiler alert: product managers most often have a technical background, and a defined scope of responsibilities. What they don’t have is a background in marketing, or the time to make sales. Because that’s your job.
If you’ve been following my blogs so far, you’ll know by now that I used to be a product manager in a start-up. Which automatically made me the engineer, the technician, the product developer, and the salesperson too. Thanks to my technical background, I was able to take a product all the way from concept to marketplace – and so even though I had one job title, I filled a number of different roles.
In larger companies, however, the hierarchy might be more complex, but the job roles are far more defined – which means there’s no reason for a product manager to become a sales person or a marketing person. I’ve been speaking to employees within a government company recently, trying to find out what they think of their roles and how what they do can benefit the end product. And without exception, they all say that they simply don’t have the time. They’re too busy talking to everyone and running back and forth to actually have time to improve the end product. Instead of being able to do their actual jobs, they’re talking to upper management who are more numbers -driven, or they’re talking to the sales and marketing teams, trying to explain what the product is, and find the right terminology to describe it.
But is that even the job of a product manager? To explain things and to look for the right terminology? Perhaps in the beginning, and before final sign - off, but surely not throughout the entire process?
I recently realised that the reason incidents like this are taking place is because product managers themselves don’t understand what their job roles are, and neither do other departments. Which is why anyone and everyone comes to product managers for every tiny thing – and why the product managers allow it. So to all product managers who are overworked and overstressed, it’s time for you to find out exactly what your job entails, to pass on that information on to other departments, and to stand up for yourselves and start educating your colleagues. It might be a challenge, but it’s for your own emotional health and your sanity!
I’ve posted a little something below for you to take a closer look at. Find out exactly what the responsibilities of a product manager entail, and if someone tries to tell you otherwise, show this to them and let it speak for itself!