Product management, a balancing act

product management

Product management, a balancing act ⚖

Being a product manager often feels like the famous balancing act by JCVD. Partly because it is a flexible role that can be filled in differently in many companies. Or because the role is split across different roles & people, making it even harder. Because its definition is fluid, the #productmanagement role is often misunderstood.

There is a growing trend to cover more product management activities in engineering . This is sometimes triggered by a lack of involvement in the discovery, concept definition and customer interaction. We definitely welcome cross-functional product engineers and broader collaboration. But executives and engineers often miss the point that product managers do more than discovery and requirements. They also spend a lot of time with customers, on product strategy, launch, positioning, pricing & solving process gaps.

Companies like #Airbnb and #Snapchat put oil on the fire, cutting down product management staff and redefining the role as product marketing. But there is a danger in narrowing the role. A #productmanager is the invisible cross-departmental glue, bridging important gaps to bring products to the market .. and evolve them afterwards. Company processes are often not adapted to new product introductions.

The original purpose of a product manager was managing the full product lifecycle. This means leading & facilitating how the product moves through discovery, build, launch, delivery, support & phase out. The role also evolves, as the company and it’s processes evolve. It requires people with strong cross-functional skills. Both strategic & tactical.

Narrowing down the role to discovery or product marketing definitely solves the problem of a lack of clarity and uniformity on the role. But it does not solve the problem that most employees lack ownership ( and knowledge ) to solve problems outside of their box or comfort zone. Glue is invisible and hence not appreciated.

We believe #productmanagement is an essential strategic and cross functional role. Being #crossfunctional should be an asset, not a liability. With the rise of #ai, cross-functional skills will become even more important as some specialized skills like development, design, .. will rapidly erode.

At Sweetspot, #crossfunctional is in our DNA . Find out more on how we can help.

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