How to say what a Product Manager does

If you are a product manager and to tell someone who hasn’t worked with a product manager before what you do, the chances are they will satisfy with your answer. There is much to say about the ambiguity around the product management role as the role of the product manager and their exact responsibilities change across different industries, different companies and depending on the stage and the culture of the company. Just look at the job listings for product managers and you will find diverse definitions about the roles and their requirements.

I try to avoid to contribute to the ambiguity while talking about the role, but I also challenge myself to find a good definition for “product manager” that is concise and clear.

Without much to say, here are my three quick definitions of a product manager based on what they do in an organization. I use these definitions interchangeably depending on the context and whom I am talking to.

Definition one — product manager’s job revolves around collecting ideas and deciding what to build next.

Definition two — product manager has the ability to translate with and bridge gaps between multiple areas and different functions in the company.

Definition three — product manager’s job is about making strategic product decisions that will support company’s vision.

If you are a product manager, I would love to know if you would use any of these definitions in any context or what your definition would be. If you are not a product manager, hopefully any these definitions will make it a bit more clear to you in an organizational setting.

What might define a good product manager is their experience, qualities and skills together with a good understanding of product management function and fit in an organization. However, making a definition of a great product manager is harder. Being a great product manager is about the mindset. It is the mindset of looking at the world skeptical and having this constant curiosity with challenging thinking which not many product managers have innately.

Product guy. Always curious. Bayesian.

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