The role of product manager is becoming more prominent and important in many companies. The world seems to be waking up to the idea that great products and services need focus and need a champion. Barbara Nelson wrote a great article that details how product managers fit into their companies (specifically software companies). The article focuses primarily on a product manager’s role in an agile development group. However, she writes a section on the role of product management, comparing it with other roles in typical software companies, as follows:
- Product manager: messenger for the market; defines what problems need to be solved and for whom
- Product designer: expert in design, defines how the problems will be solved
- Development team lead: liaison to the developers
- Quality assurance lead: assures that the product solves the problems identified by the product manager
- Project manager: manages the schedule and resource allocations
While every role listed above may not apply to all businesses (some businesses may have none of these roles), every company needs to have a “messenger for the market.” Effective leaders know how spread the word about what it is they offer, in such a way that people will want to purchase their goods. Not all leaders are great marketers or messengers, but they know the importance of getting the message out. They make sure they have someone (or a group) that can effectively communicate with the market.
I often think about conversations I had with my father when I was a young boy. He was a cattle rancher, and yet he would talk to me about the importance of marketing. Despite the fact that cattle are a commodity, he knew and benefited from getting the message out about the great cattle he was raising.
Getting your message out to the market applies regardless of the business in which you operate. Are you getting your message out effectively?
(By the way Dad, happy birthday! Thanks for teaching me the importance of marketing.)