Do I need a product manager?

In a growing organization, it can be difficult to decide whether your team needs the help of a Product Manager. What are the responsibilities of a Product Manager? Where do they sit within an organization? What is the difference between a Product Manager and other members of the team?

Through my experience at Synergis, I have been able to boil down the key requirements for this role to ensure that our clients hire the most qualified candidate to fit your company’s goals.

The role of a Product Manager

The role of a Product Manager can encompass a variety of responsibilities. They can be responsible for a suite of products, a single product, and/or new features, depending on the scope of their role and the organizational structure. Many Product Managers have worked across a variety of industries and launched multiple platforms – from consumer-facing web/mobile interactive experiences to internal CRM and cloud-based tools. However, regardless of the industry and platform, the role of the Product Manager essentially remains the same.

As an ultimate liaison and collaborator, the Product Manager is a critical piece of a team, often sitting at the intersection of the IT and Business sectors of a company. They work cross-functionally with engineering, QA, Analyst teams and more, to launch and iterate on products.

In the creative sphere, our clients have valued Digital Product Managers that are closely aligned with their UX counterparts. They serve to not only define the product vision and manage the roadmap, but lead discovery, work with design and research teams to conduct usability tests, create user stories and product prototypes, and utilize user-centric data to influence product direction. Analytical background and experience managing the full lifecycle of new and/or existing products are important as well.

Characteristics and skillset of a successful Product Manager

A key attribute of a Product Manager is the ability to inspire and drive innovation throughout an organization. In this highly collaborative and visible role, they serve as an advocate for the products they are representing and work to obtain buy-in from a variety of stakeholders and leadership teams. Those with strong presentation skills, an executive-level presence and the ability to “influence up” will thrive in this role.

The changing role of Product Management

Based on the roles Synergis Creative qualifies and hires for our national Fortune 500 clients, many companies have transitioned from a more traditional style of Product Management that focuses on “get everything ready and launch.” Instead, they are looking for candidates with an Agile process that aims to develop solutions with the end-user in mind, using feedback and data to quickly iterate on products and meet the needs of today’s ever-changing environment.

What about Product Marketing?

Though they have similar names, Product Management and Product Marketing typically serve two completely different roles within a company. Product Marketing essentially begins where Product Management ends.

In most cases, Product Managers are involved in the development of the product itself, whereas Product Marketers are focused on the best marketing strategies and tactics to influence adoption and sales. They are responsible for promoting and displaying the end creation. In some organizations, these two roles can overlap and/or work closely together to meet a joint objective.

To sum it up

Knowing your goals is an integral part of hiring for any piece of the product process. When your company is deciphering your product needs, it is helpful to think about where you are in the lifecycle and what the best resource will be to optimize your product. If you need help defining your organization’s needs, reach out for a free consultation!


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