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How to Become a Product Manager

Why Is Product Management Important?

Ready to start your career in Product? Find out more about BrainStation's Product Management Course

In technology organizations and beyond, product management is an increasingly important process and role as it works across departments and functions to define the strategy, roadmap, and features of entire product lines.

As with anything that involves a lot of moving parts, product development only works with a system of oversight to ensure all those parts are working together properly. There are just too many people involved in product development—from Graphic Designers to Writers to Data Architects to Developers—to let them all work independently and without guidance, focused only on their own work, and still expect the pieces to fit together.

In that sense, a Product Manager is like a Head Chef in a large kitchen. They’re responsible for planning the menu, making sure the kitchen is operational, making sure the ingredients are at hand, and making sure the line is fully staffed and trained. They may not do much cooking themselves, but their oversight of all the elements it takes to keep things moving smoothly can spell the difference between an efficient, profitable restaurant and utter chaos.

What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Product Manager?

The duties and responsibilities of a Product Manager are varied and vast, as Product Managers are responsible for product development from conception to market launch, encompassing the entire product lifecycle.

In early planning, the Product Manager is able to provide valuable insight about the realistically achievable scope of a product’s features (that is, what’s possible), what features are valuable to users (what’s needed), and what users will be willing to invest in (what’s profitable). These questions are at the root of which products get made and which don’t—and, if they do get made, what features those products include, how they work, and whether they succeed. In other words, Product Managers are pivotal in answering the most existential questions of the development process.

As development proceeds, numerous considerations all come to bear—the wishlist of features and technical requirements, the user experience, the business requirements. There are almost always tradeoffs between these considerations, each of them with their own proponents at different levels of the organization. It’s often a Product Manager’s job to evaluate and mediate those requirements—effectively acting as the glue that holds the entire process together.

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