Which are the most common daily challenges for a product manager? In the 90-ties project management was established as a true profession with commonly required certification procedures. Today – we see a similar development for the product management role.
We work with high-tech product managers everyday at Tolpagorni, below I will share some common pains they are experience on a daily basis. If you experience similar or other challenges, please add them in the comment field below.
- Strategic management
Now and then we can hear PMs state that: “I cannot define a strategy for my product – since there is no direction from corporate management”. This is no valid excuse of course – but individual PMs are often tasked with “translating and clarifying” what C-level executives really mean.
- Product strategies
To create a product vision and define the positioning of existing or new products is a challenge in itself. However – aligning your strategies with other functions in the company is necessary for success. The real deal isn’t just finishing nice powerpoints but to USE the strategies in order to reach your goals!
- Product planning
PMs often find themselves spending 50% of their time in planning development and launches of their products. There are four parallel processes: roadmapping, requirements management, product life cycle management (PLCM) and release management. You receive a mail with a new customer requirement. You need to do some prioritization – and if the new demand passes your filtering gate – you need to map it to a certain release (or update if a HW product). This could lead to a modified roadmap – and possibly have an impact on the life time of the product.
Especially in agile environments – the PMs are expected to be close the developers 24/7. How can you combine this with spending weeks seeing global customers (including traveling overseas)?
PMs are rarely responsible for overseeing the actual development itself – but it is our responsibility to guide developers into the best possible understanding of our target domain.
- Sales & marketing
As a PM you are competing for time and interest from both marketers and sales staff. If you do a good job of facilitating selling your product – it will be a success.
- Service and support
If the product documentation is appropriate and both technical and commercial sales trainings are done – you are in a good position to avoid too much effort spent in daily support (of support staff).
The PM role is unique in technology companies having such a broad scope. Ranging from smaller hands-on topics “Should we include this feature” to “Define the long term strategic direction”.
If you'd like to further your reading around the product management role and function I suggest our Product Management Role Description or our Product Management Framework that can guide you in your daily effort in product management.