In recent posts I’ve talked about the general responsibilities of product management as well as how the job differs in organizations of various sizes. Today, I want to drill down a bit on what is the #1 job you’ll face as a product manager. Do it well and you’ll be set to succeed in your position.
Job #1: Your Product Management Mission
As a product manager, particularly one who is new to the role, it is easy to get pulled in one direction or the other by staff members that feel passionate about their part in the product development process. They want to make sure their viewpoint and concerns get the attention they feel they deserve.
But, you can never forget: your most important task as a product manager is to maintain a strategic view of the market you serve. While others within your organization will be deeply focused on different aspects of your process, you must keep a global overview of your entire product and how it is created, marketed and nurtured. You must see the entire forest and not get mired in the thick of the individual trees. To do so will cost you the perspective vital to fulfilling your role.
Product Managers Must Stay Focused and Objective
I cannot over emphasize how important it is for you to keep this global perspective. It’s also far too easy to be swayed by the comments and requests of a single vocal customer. Instead, always remember that the needs of one customer do not necessarily indicate there is a need in your market that your product should fill. You must stay objective and consider all angles of a situation before setting or changing course.
By maintaining this 50,000-foot view of your process, you will be able to recognize and take advantage of market opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed. When you regularly are able to seize market opportunities as they arise, you will find it easier to maintain a leadership position in your market and also meet your organization’s financial objectives.
Check back next week when I’ll share a few of the pitfalls new product managers – and even seasoned ones – can encounter when they take on a product management position.