What Is Product Management?

Alexey Shashkov
8 replies
Hello product people. What exactly does a product manager do all day, in your opinion? At a startup, we might find a product manager making together product mock-ups, scheduling check-in points with devs, and conducting user interviews. At a medium-sized tech company, we might find a product manager running planning meetings with a team of designers and devs, negotiating product roadmaps with executives, and working with colleagues in sales and customer support to understand and prioritize customer needs. At a large enterprise, we might find a product manager rewriting feature requests as “job stories,” requesting specific data from analysts, and attending a whole lot of meetings. Product managers do lots of different things at different times, and what exactly those things are can change at a moment’s notice. Are there themes that unite the work of product management across job titles, industries, business models, and company sizes? What do you think?


Victor W. von Buchstab
Hi Alexey I would say the common theme for a product manager is Vision. Denver to Honolulu on a hot day*. Simple, right? Just do it, and check in with me from time-to-time. Yeah, no. See, things change--and the vision must remain or adapt. There's the rub. As product manager for MyRide901, I spend a lot of time navel gazing (OK, in my case, I walk around my house, hands behind my back, alternating between staring at the floor and various bits of furniture) as I try to relate new information I've received today from customers, the Dev Team and these wild-ass ideas I come up with over early-morning espresso to the vision as it was yesterday. A large part of what I do is to evolve the vision and guide the Dev Team and other stakeholders as the vision evolves. Which means pitching ideas that will either become reality or further evolve into other ideas as a result of collaboration. I don't think that's specific to one industry or the size of a company; rather this is a core function that we build upon to align with the given environment. *Deliver an airplane with high-altitude capacity (“Denver”) and extended operations (“Honolulu”) to be ready by summer (“hot day”)
Jonathan Massabni
Well summarized! Product Management in tech is only 20yo so it varies a lot from one business to another. Size, agile practices, expertise in the team, types of customers...they all influence the day to day. In any case, the ability to take a step back and see the vision is key. We're often called to challenge or explain decisions based on it. It's also somewhat a sales job. When communicating with customers or presenting the vision, stakeholders look for that motivation to buy-in the next 12 months.
Alexey Shashkov
@jonathanm This is a great summary, Jonathan. Thanks for taking the time to write this comment. Thanks to people like you, I am learning more and more about amazing product management. I owe you one. 🙌🔥
Jonathan Massabni
@shashcoffe Of course! it's what makes this community special. Thanks for sharing this valuable discussion 🙌
Dhruv Bhatia
Product management is the process of getting shut down by engineers, designers, and all other stakeholders while being held solely responsible for the product 😅