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Product Manager: Definition, Skills & Job Descriptions

Last updated: Dec 24, 2023

Product Manager: Definition, Skills & Job Descriptions
Cover image: Illustration of a product manager who is highly responsible in planning and developing a product.

What is A Product Manager?

A product manager is a profession that carries significant responsibility for the success of a product. 

The role involves planning and developing products, ensuring that these products can enhance sales or business revenue.

A competent product manager should have a profound understanding of the three main pillars of a company: technology, business, and user experience (UX).

They need to create product plans by presenting brilliant ideas and developing them to their fullest potential to provide significant benefits to users.

Moreover, this profession also requires you to have a deep understanding of technology trends, infrastructure support, marketing strategies, industry competition, and the company's business model. 

In the user experience pillar, their job description is to ensure that the product is not only functional but also enjoyable to use, aligning with consumer preferences.

As competition intensifies in the modern market, product managers are in high demand by many large companies. If you aspire to become one, then pay attention to the series of tasks and skills outlined below.

Product Manager Job Description

One of the main task is monitoring the process of creating a product, from the planning stage to the moment the product reaches the consumers.

However, the responsibilities do not end simply as the product has been launched. They need to undertake several stages afterward. To understand more about the product manager job description, you can read the following points:

1. Leading Various Divisions in Product Development

The primary product manager's job description is to lead all divisions in the product development process. 

In developing a product, they need to work cross-functionally since they should collaborate with multiple divisions, such as the UI/UX visual team, business and marketing team, and software engineering team.

2. Conducting Market Research

To understand the needs and preferences of potential consumers, every business needs to conduct direct market research. 

Through this research, the manager of certain products can identify customer issues and opportunities for product development to address those problems. 

In addition to market research, they are also responsible for analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of similar products from competitor brands. 

Consequently, they should develop products intelligently with a stronger and different USP compared to other competitors.

3. Developing Product Ideas

As the highest authority in product creation, their primary task is to develop ideas or the foundation for creating the product itself. 

The manager of certain products need to present brilliant and innovative ideas to serve as a strong foundation for creating new products or maximizing the quality of existing products. 

The ideation process can originate from customer requests and feedback or in response to current industry trends.

4. Analyzing Sales Projections

The responsibilities also include analyzing sales projections designed based on market needs, consumer behavior, or market conditions that can influence the sales of a product. 

By analyzing these factors, they can formulate realistic sales projections and guide the sales marketing team in promoting the product.

5. Documenting Product Specifications

As someone who understands the product inside and out, another responsibility of a product manager is to compile comprehensive documentation related to the product. 

This documentation can include technical information, features, functionalities, specifications, and even ingredients for specific products. 

With this documentation, all involved parties, including the development team, marketing, and customer support, can have a consistent understanding of the value and characteristics of a product.

Product Manager Skills

After learning about “what is a product manager” and the scope of their responsibilities, it's also essential to understand the necessary skills for the manager of a product.

If you aspire to be a professional in this work field, make sure to develop the following skills and abilities beforehand.

1. Research and Analysis Skills

If you want to become a product manager, one of the primary skills you must possess is research and analysis. 

This ability is crucial for ensuring maximum and satisfying customer journeys. With meticulous research and analysis skills, you will have the opportunity to identify new opportunities and anticipate changes in consumer behavior.

2. Communication Skills

Product management also requires you to pursue effective communication with various cross-functional teams, including developers, marketing, finance, and customer support. 

In order to be a successful manager of products, you must articulate the product vision clearly to these teams. Additionally, strong communication skills are essential when interacting with customers to understand their feedback and needs.

3. Strategic and Innovative Thinking

You need some strategic thinking skills to answer questions like:

"What strategy is suitable to sell the product?"

"How to create a product that is beneficial and highly demanded by consumers?" 

You must have the ability to see the big picture and plan each production stage carefully and strategically. 

This profession also involves responsibility for risk management throughout the production process. Hence, you should always try to maximize efficiency in resource management and make wise decisions throughout the process.

4. Prioritizing Customer Experience

Product managers must integrate customer experience (CX) aspects into every production cycle. This includes designing intuitive user interfaces, ensuring the quality of the user experience during product development, and responding to customer feedback or complaints promptly.

5. Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is a crucial skill, especially when the product development process seems time-consuming or when the final product is deemed unsatisfactory.

6. Technical Writing Skills

To create product specification documentation, you must possess technical writing skills. This skill is particularly necessary for explaining product briefs in detail to the development team, minimizing production errors.

FAQs About Product Manager

If you have followed the discussion about what is a product manager throughout the explanation above but still have other questions related to this profession, check out the following FAQs.

What Basic Knowledge Should a Product Manager Have?

To become a professional in this field of work, there are several basic knowledge you should possess, including:

  • Basic economic knowledge: To ensure the smooth development of products in terms of budget and business finances.
  • Business knowledge: Understanding basic terms in the business domain and being able to apply them practically.
  • Basic technological knowledge: Understanding the fundamentals of programming, coding, or other relevant technologies.

What is the Salary Range for Product Managers?

The salary range for product managers varies depending on experience, job responsibilities, industry, and the company's location. According to Glassdoor, here is the average salary:

  • United States: $77,000 per year.
  • Indonesia: IDR 9,000,000 to IDR 15,000,000 per month, depending on the worker's level (entry level-associate).
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