Product Management in the Mature Company
In the past couple of posts, we’ve looked into some of the key responsibilities of a product manager in a start-up company and a mid-sized organization. Today’s post completes the trilogy by discussing the corporate focus and the product management skills essential to success in the mature company.
Product Managers Face Lofty Goals in the Mature Company
First, let’s consider what the mature company wants most: steady and predictable growth. Unfortunately, as desirable as this growth is, it often becomes increasingly difficult to achieve. Since the successful mature company already has captured a significant part of the market, it is now necessary for it to enhance its existing products and bolster current revenue streams in order to keep the level of growth high. To meet its revenue and growth goals, larger organizations often need to look for innovative opportunities that arise from partnerships or mergers and acquisitions.
Essential Product Management Skills in the Mature Organization
Considering the complicated goals of the mature company, a successful product manager will hold a highly valued skill set that includes:
- Strategic mindset
- Leadership abilities
- Political astuteness
- Analytical thinker
- Highly developed interpersonal skills
- Cross-functional abilities
- Profit and loss orientation
- Staying calm under pressure
Product Management in a Complex Organization
As the company continues to mature, it naturally becomes more complex. This commonly leads to international operations that magnify the importance and impact of each decision a product manager makes.
Client engagement is a huge part of the product manager’s job, but must be conducted in a highly structured manner due to the many demands placed on a product manager’s limited time.
It is common for development activities to span national and international borders and multiple time zones. Despite the challenges, these activities play a central role in the product manager’s daily activities.
Although the product manager is responsible for the entire organization’s product management process, he or she, of necessity, must work through a team of direct reports, matrixed employees and individuals such as contractors who are specialists in their areas of expertise. The term ‘matrixed employee’ refers to those in an organization who report to two superiors. They answer to a functional boss who handles vacation, payroll, etc. and to an operational boss who is the product manager.
Clearly, each size organization has different goals and requires a different set of skills in its product manager. In my next post we’ll explore the different ways to approach product management. There are three. I wonder which one fits you and your organization?