A product manager
communicates product vision from the highest levels of executive leadership to development and implementation teams. The product manager is often called the product "CEO". The product manager investigates, selects, and drives the development of products for an organization, performing the activities of product management.
A product manager considers numerous factors such as intended demographic, the products offered by the competition, and how well the product fits with the company's business model. Generally, a product manager manages one or more tangible products. However, the term may be used to describe a person who manages intangible products, such as music, information, and services.
A product manager's role in tangible goods industries is similar to a program director's role in service industries.
Diverse interpretations regarding the role of the product manager are the norm. The product manager title is often used in many ways to describe drastically different duties and responsibilities. Even within the high-tech industry where product management is better defined, the product manager's job description varies widely among companies. This is due to tradition and intuitive interpretations by different individuals.
In the financial services
industry (banking, insurance etc.), product managers manage products (for example, credit card portfolios), their profit and loss
, and also determine the business development strategy.
In some companies, the product manager also acts as a:
- Product marketing manager: may perform all outbound marketing activities in the older sense of the term
- Project manager: may perform all activities related to schedule and resource management
- Program manager: may perform activities related to schedule, resource, and cross-functional execution
- Product owner: a popular role in Agile development methodology, may perform all activities related to a self-encapsulated feature or feature set plan, development and releases.
- Technical product manager: similar to product owner, but may perform all activities from technology perspective.
- Product designer: closer to UX designer but more focus on entire function flows.