What Does a Product Manager Do?

Product management has emerged as an integral role in the tech industry, strategically bridging the gap between the development, business, and user experience realms. As tech-based companies continue to evolve and diversify, the role of a product manager has grown in importance and complexity. A product manager is the person who identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill, articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality.

Are you curious about what a product manager does on a daily basis? Let’s dive in to understand more about the role and responsibilities of a product manager.

The Evolution of Product Management

Over time, the role of a product manager has evolved and become more significant in the technology sector. But why? Technology companies have grown exponentially, and with this growth, the companies have become more complex. The need for someone to manage this complexity and ensure that products meet both customer needs and business objectives has led to the rise of product management.

Product managers are now seen as essential contributors, driving the strategic direction of products while collaborating with various teams to ensure alignment and successful execution. This evolution underscores the growing importance and visibility of the product manager role in the tech industry.

Bird’s Eye View of Product Management

What exactly does a product manager do? The role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. Product managers are often described as ‘mini-CEOs’ for their products, given their broad responsibilities and influence.

Typically, a product manager’s role includes developing product strategies, liaising between different teams, and overseeing product development from inception to launch. They are tasked with understanding the market trends, identifying customer needs, and translating these insights into a compelling product vision and strategy.

Furthermore, product managers work closely with engineering, design, marketing, sales, and other teams to bring the product to market. They are the glue that holds the various pieces of a product development process together. This high-level view of product management underscores the breadth and depth of the role.

Core Responsibilities of a Product Manager

As a product manager, your role is essentially that of a mini-CEO for your product. You’re tasked with overseeing every aspect of a product, from initial conception to market launch, and beyond. You need to ensure that the product not only meets the needs of the customers but also aligns with the company’s overall business strategy. Let’s take a closer look at some of these core responsibilities.

Vision and Strategy

First and foremost, a product manager is responsible for setting the vision for a product. This vision, which should be both compelling and strategic, serves as the guiding light for all product-related decisions. But how does a product manager come up with such a vision? This is where market research, competitive analysis, and customer feedback come into play.

Market research helps the product manager understand the needs and wants of the customers. Competitive analysis, on the other hand, gives insight into what competitors are doing and how the product can stand out in the marketplace. Lastly, customer feedback provides valuable information on what’s working, what’s not, and what could be improved.

Cross-functional Collaboration

The product manager’s role extends beyond just the product team. They must work closely with various other teams within the company, such as development, sales, marketing, and customer support. This cross-functional collaboration ensures that the product development and launch process goes smoothly and cohesively.

For instance, the product manager needs to communicate the product vision and strategy effectively to the development team to guide the product’s design and development. They must also work with the sales and marketing teams to ensure the product’s value proposition is communicated effectively to customers.

Market Understanding

Understanding the market is crucial for a product manager. By staying on top of market trends and demands, a product manager can make informed decisions about product features and functions. This understanding can also help shape the product strategy and vision.

For example, if a product manager notices a rising trend in privacy concerns among consumers, they might decide to incorporate enhanced privacy features into the product. Or, if they observe a growing demand for sustainable products, they might decide to highlight the product’s eco-friendly attributes in marketing campaigns.

So, are you up for the challenge? Being a product manager may be a demanding role, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding one. If you’re someone who enjoys problem-solving, strategic thinking, and working with a diverse team, this could be the perfect role for you.

Key Skills Required for Product Managers

Being a successful product manager requires a unique blend of skills. The role demands both soft skills and technical skills, as it involves a delicate balance between leadership, teamwork, and technical understanding. Let’s delve into these skills and their significance in the product management landscape.

Soft skills, such as communication and leadership, are of paramount importance. Why, you may ask? Well, product managers need to effectively communicate with different teams, stakeholders, and customers. They need to articulate their product vision and strategy, interpret customer feedback, and convey complex technical concepts in an understandable manner. At the same time, leadership skills are invaluable for motivating teams, driving project progress, and navigating through conflicts and challenges.

On the technical side, skills like data analysis and project management are equally crucial. Product managers must be comfortable with data. They need to make data-driven decisions, analyze market trends, and evaluate product performance. As for project management, the ability to plan, execute, and control projects is fundamental to overseeing product development from inception to launch.


Skill Importance
Communication Effective communication is key to articulating product vision, interpreting customer feedback, and conveying complex technical concepts.
Leadership Leadership skills are crucial for motivating teams, driving project progress, and navigating through conflicts and challenges.
Data Analysis Product managers need to make data-driven decisions, analyze market trends, and evaluate product performance.
Project Management The ability to plan, execute, and control projects is fundamental to overseeing product development from start to finish.

Educational Background and Work Experience

So, what does the typical educational and work experience background of a product manager look like? While many product managers have backgrounds in business or computer science, the field is diverse and inclusive. In fact, it’s not unusual to find successful product managers who come from fields like design, psychology, or even the humanities.

More than the academic background, what seems to matter the most is experience working on product teams in some capacity. This experience helps potential product managers gain a deep understanding of product life cycles, team dynamics, and the realities of bringing a product from concept to market. It’s this experience that often proves invaluable in the day-to-day work of a product manager.

That said, a background in business can provide a solid foundation in strategic thinking and market analysis, while a background in computer science can equip product managers with a strong understanding of technical constraints and possibilities. Yet, remember that at the end of the day, it’s the combination of skills, experience, and a passion for products that makes for a successful product manager.

Product Manager Career Path

Embarking on a career in product management often begins with an entry-level position in a related field, such as a junior product manager or a role in marketing, sales, or software development. This initial experience helps to build a solid foundation and understanding of how different parts of a business operate and interact.

As one gains experience and demonstrates proficiency in handling product-related responsibilities, progression to the position of a product manager becomes a natural next step. At this level, one is expected to take on greater responsibilities, make more impactful decisions, and coordinate more closely with different teams within the organization.

From there, product managers can further advance to senior or principal product manager roles, where they take charge of multiple products or an entire product line. Ultimately, some product managers may even ascend to executive positions, such as Director of Product Management or Chief Product Officer (CPO), where they oversee the entire product strategy of an organization.

Salaries and Benefits

Product management is a rewarding field, not just in terms of the intellectual challenges and growth opportunities it offers, but also in terms of financial compensation. However, it’s important to note that salaries for product managers can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of the company, the industry it operates in, the location of the company, and the product manager’s level of experience and responsibility.

  • Entry-level Product Manager: The average salary for an entry-level product manager in the United States is around $75,000 per year.
  • Mid-level Product Manager: For product managers with a few years of experience under their belt, the average salary can range from $95,000 to $115,000 per year.
  • Senior Product Manager: Senior product managers, who usually have substantial experience and hold significant responsibilities, can expect to earn anywhere between $120,000 and $160,000 per year.
  • Director of Product Management: Those who reach the level of Director of Product Management or above can command salaries well above $200,000 per year.


In conclusion, the role of a product manager is multifaceted, challenging, and integral to the success of companies in the tech industry. It offers immense opportunities for growth and learning, as well as the chance to shape the direction and strategy of products that can influence the lives of millions of users.

  • Becoming a product manager often starts with experience in a related field and progression through various product-related roles.
  • Product managers must possess a unique blend of business acumen, technical knowledge, and interpersonal skills.
  • Salaries in product management can be quite lucrative, with potential for substantial progression as one advances in their career.
  • The role of a product manager is continually evolving, making it a dynamic and exciting career path for those who are passionate about technology and solving real-world problems.