A Day in My Life as Product Manager

Someone recently asked me to describe a day in my life as Product Manager. I went on explaining various tasks and responsibilities: market research, business cases, project management, cross-functional team building and communication. Then later, I wondered…am I doing the right things as a Product Manager? Thankfully, it seems I am.
 Pragmatic Marketing, a recognized Product Management and Marketing thought leader and trainer, lists the PM’s roles and responsibilities as follows (I applied an approximate pourcentage to the amount of time I might spend on each responsibility in a typical week):
  1.  “Identifies a market problem” 10% to 20% – I see this as “research and market analysis”. I try to stay ahead of new trends. I talk with customers as well as industry leaders. I share the information I uncover internally. I attend as many industry webinars and tradeshows as possible to keep in touch.
  2. “Quantifies the opportunity to make sure it’s big enough to generate profit, and then articulates the problem to the rest of the organization.” 5%-10% – There must be a strategic reason to start a new development project. We have finance people and a carrier team who obtain costs and crunch the numbers as such I get a lot of help. Part of my role is also to prioritize all the projects and communicate to others the priorities so we focus on what matters most.
  3. “Communicates the market opportunity to the executive team with business rationale for pursuing the opportunity including financial forecasts and risk assessment.” 5% – I have done this for new opportunities I bring forward. Most times the executives push down their ideas so at that point it is up to me to understand their rational and question assumptions to ensure we have not missed anything and that I can properly articulate their vision to others.
  4. “Communicates the problem to Development in the form of market requirements. 10-20%We call this the MRD (Market Requirement Document), which is crucial to getting a project started and I spend a lot of time on this at the beginning of a new project. I update the MRD, keep and publish meeting notes, timelines and responsibilities throughout the project.
  5. Communicates to Marketing using positioning documents, one for each type of buyer. 5%
  6. Empowers the sales effort by defining a sales process, supported by the requisite sales tools so the customer can choose the right products and options. 10% – I do spend a lot of time with sales as I want to make sure new products are successful. I also ask for customer feedback for future improvements.

Every organization will vary slightly in terms of what they expect/want their PM to do. I also work on many operational projects using creativity to improve existing processes or develop a new process (20-30%). I also negotiate business terms on certain contracts with partners as sometimes it makes more sense to buy rather than build on our own (5%). I sometimes present at tradeshow and conferences (1%).

Each day is different. That is why I love the job so much. There is never a dull day.

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