What is Product Management?

Product management is the business structure that supports and manages all the activities related to developing, marketing and selling a product/service.

People talking about roadmap priorization.

Product Management Concept

Product Management can be defined as the general business structure within a company that supports and manages all the activities related to developing, marketing and selling a product – or even more than one – all through its lifecycle. It’s usually a role inside the Development department

Together with product lifecycle management, product management provides information about a specific product to the entire company and its extended supply chain. 

Product management’s general business purposes are to make the product value for its targeted customer (creating customer value) while producing measurable benefits that make every business viable such as revenue, profit margins, etc.

Since its goal is to deliver value to the business, product management professionals play a strategic role in determining the necessary actions for achieving these goals.

Due to the complexity and amount of tasks involved, product management can be broken down into two very different (but complementary) areas: product development and product marketing. These two areas must work together in order to maximize sales revenues and profit margins and, consequently, its market share.

Product Development Definition

Product Development consists mainly of all the steps you take from:

  • Conceptualizing
  • Designing
  • Developing
  • Marketing a new product or service.

The ultimate goal when developing a new product is pretty clear: to maintain/increase your company’s results by constantly satisfying your customer’s ever-changing demands.

It’s extremely important to clearly define your target market and your personas in order to identify the customer base characteristics as well as defining the paths to follow when improving your products/services.

Knowing who you want to please and sell to is critical for defining your development strategy. That’s why it’s so important to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research all through the new product development process – from the concept to the launch.

Development team collaborating on agile practices.

Product Marketing Definition

Product Marketing can be defined as the intersection of Product, Sales and Marketing. It’s basically the role of communicating the product, features, benefits, etc. for all the company’s stakeholders. 

The main responsibility of the Product Marketing department is to have a deep knowledge of the product they are positioning and messaging. That’s why Product Marketing and Product Development are complementary departments and must have efficient communication. 

Summing up, a product marketer needs to know the answer for five simple questions:

  • How the product fits into the target audience needs
  • How the current customers feel about other products
  • How the product stand out from the competitors
  • The unique features the product has
  • The main problems the product solves

It’s obviously not simple, but with a good communication channel between Product, Marketing and Sales, this role starts to get easier.

The Product Manager (PM) Role

The person in charge of managing a product is normally called the Product Manager. These people are normally responsible for coordinating multiple teams that operationalize the aforementioned tasks such as keeping close track of the market conditions to guide the definition of new features to be developed as well as overseeing the production of said product.

Product Managers also have the responsibility of being always alert observing the market for new development opportunities to cater to new customer’s needs and help the company stay ahead of its competition.

Here at Pipefy, a cloud-based Saas application, the product manager is responsible for coordinating (and negotiating with) the design and development teams to prioritize their efforts towards developing new features that’ll cater to our users’ direct needs. 

Our PM is also responsible for communicating directly with our marketing and customer success teams, to coordinate marketing efforts for new features and keep close track of the users’ opinions and requests.

Even though the product manager’s attentions must be divided among all stages of the product lifecycle, it’s normally focused mainly on new product development (NPD). The market is always evolving and, with it, the customer’s perception of value.

Support team investigating and solving bugs.

Core Functions of a Successful Product Management Routine

There are actions that every product manager must do and most are developed through experience, good role models, and mentoring. Some examples of the routine of a PM are:

  • Conducting customer interviews and user testing
  • Running design sprints
  • Feature prioritization and roadmap planning
  • The art of resource allocation
  • Performing market assessments
  • Translating business-to-technical requirements, and vice versa
  • Pricing and revenue modeling
  • Defining and tracking success metrics

The product manager’s role goes beyond only strategizing. More often than not, these professionals adopt a hands-on approach to promote and improve collaboration among many other roles. 

As in the already mentioned example here at Pipefy, the product manager role is often inter-disciplinary and focused on bridging the gap and coordinating many different roles, such as development, design, marketing, customer success, etc.

And to manage all functions within the Product Management role, it’s essential to define what to prioritize, how to communicate with other teams and standardize the process. You can count on Pipefy to help you with organizing and controlling your daily work. 

Pipefy has a ready-to-use Product Roadmap template 

Head of Customer Support @Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to help users make the best of Pipefy via support and writing informative content pieces. Besides being in charge of support, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover, and a professional photographer.

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