A product manager provides the deep product expertise needed to lead the organization and make strategic product decisions. The role of product manager spans many activities from strategic to tactical and provides important cross-functional leadership — most notably between engineering, marketing, sales, and support teams.
They often analyze the market and competitive conditions, laying out a product vision that is differentiated and delivers unique value based on customer demands.
During recent years, the demand for product managers has been increasing by a lot. Companies have started to realize why they need to hire a product manager.
The product manager is the person responsible for defining the why, when, and what of the product that the engineering team builds. This means they lead cross-functional teams from a product's conception all the way through to its launch.
Broadly speaking, a good product manager will spend his or her time on a handful of tasks. Somewhat similar to these:
- Understanding and representing user needs.
- Monitoring the market and developing competitive analyses.
- Defining a vision for a product.
- Aligning stakeholders around the vision for the product.
- Prioritizing product features and capabilities.
- Creating a shared brain across larger teams to empower independent decision making.
Also, there are various skills that you need to start a career in product management, skills like:
- Strategic Thinking
- Be Technically Proficient
- Detail Oriented
- Understanding the User (User Science)
How To Build These Skills?
- Find a project you can own end to end: Start a side hustle. Build a business. Work on a problem set that affords you the opportunity to try things and fail. All these experiences will be good to have on your portfolio and they will help build your product management skills. Who knows, your product might even become a big success and a big company might notice you. (it is highly unlikely, but still possible)
- Volunteer to solve problems as a side project at work: If you already work somewhere then you could volunteer to take on more tasks that aren’t necessarily a part of your payroll. If you're not in a position where you have the time to work on problems that fall outside your core job function, then keep digging until you find one you and your manager believe is worth solving. Ask your manager about a challenge he’s facing, and take on researching, experimenting with, and executing on a solution, in addition to your daily work. This will require a lot of time commitment on your part, but you’ll learn and grow so much.
- Keep tackling tough problems, conducting research, and leading cross-functional collaboration: If you keep helping out your manager, at some point or another he’s bound to notice your skills and efforts. This will open up a ton of new opportunities for you and you’ll be one step closer to starting a career in product management. Document the various problems that you’ve solved for your company, maybe you can even write them down on a private blog or build a following on LinkedIn. There are so many things that you can do when you think about it.
- Apply for a job opening: After you’ve solved enough problems at your job and feel like you’ve built the necessary qualities of a good product manager, you can start applying for PM job roles. The major advantage is that you’ll have a portfolio of real problems that you’ve solved at this point and you’ll be able to leverage your experiences during the application process.
Future of Product Management in India
The scope and future of product management jobs in India is huge!
In addition, there is a huge talent gap. So any person with the right domain expertise who has the required skillsets will be a much sought after by hiring managers!
So, if you really want to be a product manager then, just begin. Solve one problem, then the next, and then the next. If you solve enough problems, then you'll build the necessary qualities to start a career in product management.