What is Product Management?

Many times when I introduce myself as a Product Manager, I get asked:

"What even IS Product Management?"

Some view it as a glorified project manager - someone who manages scope, time, and budget for software products.

Others see it as a marketing role - focusing on product market fit or the ability to get people to use what Engineers build.

I even see people toss out the "CEO of the product", akin to a mini Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. Personally, this is the worst classification. It creates too much ego in the role and attracts the wrong kind of impression.

Product management is about being the team's invisible hand, instead of the visionary genius.

Let's dive into how I approach my profession...

My definition:

A product manager....
Brings solutions to market that address specific and actionable user jobs, desires, or pain points by rallying internal stakeholders around a shared vision.

This is much easier said than done. How is this accomplished?

I like to look at it using three main pillars.

Inception

Creating clarity from ambiguity and rallying for omni directional buy-in by defining the what, why and when for a given initiative through qualitative and quantitative research, prioritizing solutions and tradeoffs, and communicating the vision, expectations, and metrics of success to all stakeholders.

Execution

Work alongside cross functional teams who own the who (design), how (engineering), and measurement (data science), to ultimately bring to market a solution that satisfies what was defined during inception.

Iteration

Reduce risk by reviewing the experiences of a release cycle, learning from mistakes and new information, making adjustments through experimentation, and sharing the insights with the team to create a compounding flywheel for future growth.