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The Fallacy of Product Management

This post lists the key insights from this article, one of the authors at Unboxing Product Management.

Product management is not like running a company

And you are not the mini-CEO of your project.

CEOs have a much different role and responsibilities from that of product managers.

👆 A CEO is responsible for setting the overall strategy for the company. Product managers don’t do that for the product; the product stakeholders have that ownership. Most of the times, PMs just follow or help in building the strategy.

👆 A CEO is responsible for setting the vision of a company and making sure that everyone is aligned with it. Product managers don’t do that for the product. Most of the time, it’s the job of founders or CPO to set the vision for the product. Product managers take care of the vision and make sure that the team understands it.

👆 Product managers have no say in building the team. They can’t decide on who stays in the team and who doesn’t. They can just give their feedback to the team members regarding performance and raise concern in case the team member isn’t performing well. A CEO, on the other hand, decides who stays in the organization and who doesn’t.

Product management is not product marketing

It’s not a product manager’s job to worry about how the product will reach the market, what promotional strategies would make it a hit among users, or what should be the right pricing and messaging of the product in the market.

While keeping an eye on the big picture is good, the product manager’s job should be more towards ensuring that the product they are making is technically robust and the team is progressing in the right direction.

One example could be- user research. Doing user research is more into the domain of product marketing rather than product management.

Product management is not about delving into analytics

A product manager’s job is to decide which data should be collected and ask questions that can be answered through data. The “how to collect data” part should be left to data analytics experts.

So for example, the PM notices that people are dropping off from the checkout page? The PM would then ask data experts to fetch the session time, session duration, and exit pages. From that data, he/she would decide if they should change the page’s design or not.

The scope of product management is incredibly broad and varied and product managers have to be on their toes to run everything smoothly. They need to know what exactly needs their attention and how they can remove blockers for the team to perform well. But that doesn’t mean that product managers have to step in everywhere.

3 min​ read

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