What Do You Do?

July 31, 2015

Product Manager. Product Management. What are these roles and responsibilities?

“I’m a Product Manager.”

“So what do you do?”

“You know… roadmaps and stuff.”

From what I’ve gathered since starting down the Developer to Product role, that last sentence is pretty interchangeable. Like “Agile”, each company (and sometimes each group within a company) sees Product Management as something slightly different. Where I currently am, I have no direct reports, and along with controlling my Product’s roadmap, I also handle the day-to-day operational piece of it. Another Product Manager within my group handles little to no operational tasks for her product, and has a direct report who handles all of the CSR. Then you have a friend who recently took a position as Product with a different company who will be handling up to five direct reports along with both the roadmap and operational set up.

It’s confusing.

I’ve started falling back on “The Care and Feeding of my Product, XXX” when folks ask me what I do as a Product Manager. It’s not all-encompassing, but it’s a better answer than “Roadmaps and stuff”.

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