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Getting Hired
 min read

What Does a Product Manager Do?

The role of product manager is one of the most fascinating roles within tech teams right now. After all, product Managers are closest to the centre of the action. Since they have a large amount of influence over key decisions, they often go on to become entrepreneurs, leaders and advisors.

A product manager is the person who identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfil, articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality (source).

The product team sits in the centre point between business, design, and engineering. Depending the company size, this often includes also marketing, data, sales, engineering and much more.

As a Product Manager, you are responsible for leading the product development process from inception to delivery and beyond. You serve as the voice of the customer, ensuring that the product meets user needs. All while considering market trends and competitive factors.

"Product management is the intersection between business, technology and user experience. A good product manager must be experienced in at least one, passionate about all three, and conversant with practitioners in all."

Martin Eriksson, Product Partner at EQT Ventures (Co-Founder of Mind The Product)

Venn diagram of business, design and tech, with product sitting on the intersection between the three.

The Role of a Product Manager

🖤 At the heart of a PM’s job is answering: What is the problem we're solving for our customers?

You’ll also grapple with finding answers for the following questions:

  • What is this product going to be?
  • What do we need to build and when?
  • Which ideas will we bring to life?
  • What should we build first?
  • How do we get our product from here to where we want it to be?
  • What are our competitors doing?
  • What are current trends in the market?
  • How will we measure success?
  • How is our product performing?

Responsibilities of a Product Manager

As a PM, your primary job is to identify a potential user in a clear demographic, empathise with the problem they have today, visualise an improvement to their condition, and spell out the solution in sufficient technical detail to be realisable. The whole experience will need to account for how the user finds out about the solution, what makes it compelling, getting them as quickly as possible to an “AHA!” moment, and the dynamics that would compel them to pull other people in their network into the experience (source).”

David E. Weekly, VP at The Capital One Lab (ex-Google, Meta)

No day is the same in the life of a Product Manager. The responsibilities will vary based on your level and the company you work for. However, you are likely to spend their time on tasks such as:

👤 Understanding and representing user needs:

You need to deeply understand the target users' needs, preferences, and pain points. This involves conducting user research, gathering feedback, and analysing data to gain insights into user behaviour and expectations. By empathising with users, they can ensure that the products they oversee align with market demands.

♟️ Monitoring the market and developing competitor analysis

Keeping a close eye on the market is crucial. This involves monitoring industry trends, analysing competitor products and strategies, and identifying gaps or opportunities in the market. When you understand the competitive landscape, it helps you make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.

👁️ Defining a vision for a product

A strong product vision is the guiding force for the product team. You need to articulate a clear and compelling vision that outlines the product's purpose, target audience, and long-term goals. This vision serves as a north star, ensuring everyone involved in the product's development works toward the same objectives.

🔭 Aligning stakeholders around the vision

A strong product vision is the guiding force for the product team. You need to articulate a clear and compelling vision that outlines the product's purpose, target audience, and long-term goals. This vision serves as a north star, ensuring everyone involved in the product's development works toward the same objectives.

⚖️ Prioritising product features and capabilities

A strong product vision is the guiding force for the product team. You need to articulate a clear and compelling vision that outlines the product's purpose, target audience, and long-term goals. This vision serves as a north star, ensuring everyone involved in the product's development works toward the same objectives.

🧠 Creating a shared brain across larger teams:

As the product team grows larger, it becomes essential to establish a shared understanding of the product's goals and priorities. Product Managers need to facilitate effective communication and collaboration among team members. That way, everyone in the team can make independent decisions that still align with the overall product vision and strategy.

Product Manager is a role full of contradictions. The title suggests you are managing a product? But you will be managing people and, at times, entire parts of an organisation. You think it’s a technical role? But you will be evaluated on your ability to transition in-and-out of the technical. You were told to focus solely on your users? Know that you will have to consider stakeholders as true partners and employ your soft skills in building strong relationships with them (source).”

Clément Caillol, Head of Product at MONI

Traits of Great Product Managers

With product management still evolving as a discipline, there is no strict guide on the type of person you need to be to become a PM. Here are just some traits that will help you succeed in product management:


The most important thing is that you have empathy for your user and the stakeholders:

There is no product management without empathy. Understanding the needs, desires, and pain points of both users and stakeholders helps you create products that resonate with the users and drive business objectives.

💡 Want to learn more about user empathy? Learn more about it here and here.

Team player  👩‍👩‍👧‍👦

PMs never work on things on their own, they’re always guiding a team of other people:

You will work with cross-functional teams, including designers, engineers, marketers, and more. Being a team player is critical to create the best possible product.

Curious 💭

Always asking questions and challenging how things are done:

Curiosity is a crucial trait for Product Managers. You will need to constantly seek to understand the "why" behind things, whether it's user behaviour, market trends, or internal processes. By asking insightful questions and challenging the status quo, you can uncover valuable insights and innovative solutions.

Problem solver 🤔

You enjoy solving problems:

Product Managers encounter a wide range of challenges, from identifying user pain points to optimising product features. Enjoying problem-solving is essential, as it allows you to find creative and effective solutions that meet user needs and align with the product's vision.

“If there’s one thing I would tell myself before starting in product, it’s that it doesn’t matter how good you are at managing stakeholders, rolling up your sleeves and doing analytics yourself, making your own wireframes. It doesn’t matter if it isn't solving problems of the real world customers.”

Cormac West, Lead Product Manager at Greyparrot (ex-Photobox, Babylon Health)


PMs communicate with lots of different types of people:

You need to be able to convey your ideas, the product vision, and priorities to stakeholders with a range of different backgrounds. Your team will expect you to communicate complex technical concepts in a clear and understandable manner.

Facilitating 📃

You can bring people together and get everyone on the same page:

You will often act as a facilitator, bringing together different teams, viewpoints, and opinions to align everyone on the product strategy. This requires excellent communication and negotiation skills to build consensus and ensure everyone is working toward common goals.

“If you're talking with engineers and they give you an update, it's very easy to forget to give that update to the marketing team. If this happens time and time again, it ‌creates different perceptions among the team working on the same product. For me, one thing that is on the top of my mind is to make sure that perception of the product is well managed and handled, because otherwise it can actually really hurt the products that you're building.”

Rags Vadali, CPO at (Ex-Meta)

People person 🤝

You enjoy working with different types of people:

Being a people person will help you build strong relationships with team members, stakeholders, and customers. Helping you facilitate alignment much easier.

“You’re in the middle of technology, customers, users and design and the business as a PM. You literally are a generalist and you need to be able to work with everybody. I think working with people is the most rewarding of any job because you get to work as a team.”

Isaac Menso, Senior Product Manager at Patchwork Health, Co-Founder at Migrate

Strategic Thinker 💭

You can see the big picture.

As a PM, you need to see the big picture - product vision and strategy. This is THE skill that separates the role of product manager from the job of product owner. Product management looks towards the future, works with roadmaps, and drives product growth, whereas product ownership focuses on the functional, execution based job within a team.

If you have strategic thinking skills, then you can:

  • Gather all the relevant information relating to the subject
  • Analyse elements for their wider impact
  • Imagine challenges that may occur in the future
  • Solve problems that consider numerous inputs and unknown aspects (source)

Analytical 📊

You’re good at spotting patterns, making logical connections, and using information to make informed decisions.

No digital product can be built or improved without data. That’s why, as a PM, you need to be comfortable working with data, but you don’t need to be a Data Scientist (source). Being analytical will help you make data-driven decisions and spot opportunities for product improvement.

Sounds like you? Learn what you need to become a product manager. Access Get Into Product Guide. ->