What Does a Product Manager Do? (With Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 12, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in a company's product development process, product management is a cross-functional and rewarding job to explore. A product manager is an interdisciplinary position that collaborates with different departments within an organization to guarantee the success of a new product. Learning what a product manager does can help you decide if this is the right career choice for you. In this article, we answer the question, "What does a product manager do?", review their average national salary, explain how to become one, highlight their skills, and discuss the difference between a product and project manager.

Related: Top Product Management Skills

What does a product manager do?

If you're interested in a career in product development, you may have wondered "What does a product manager do?". A product manager handles a variety of detailed tasks associated with the development process. Here are some of the daily responsibilities of a product manager:

  • setting the long-term vision for a product

  • ensuring effective communication down the product line

  • communicating the strategy for a product's development and release to the relevant parties, including the leadership team and stakeholders

  • researching the market and obtain information to properly assess the competition

  • overseeing the development of new products that meet a consumer's desires and needs

  • evaluating a product's requirements and specifications

  • preparing both long- and short-term product sales forecasts

  • using market research to determine future product lines

  • comparing the company's product line with that of its competitors

Related: What Does an Associate Product Manager Do? (List of Duties)

How much money does a product manager make?

The average salary of a product manager is $81,813 per year. Take into consideration that your compensation as a product manager depends on your experience and skill, your location, and the organization that employs you. The following summarises the national average pay for many of the most frequent product management jobs:

  • associate product manager: $74,478 per year

  • senior product manager: $113,681 per year

  • director of product management: $158,363 per year

  • vice president of product: $202,574 per year

  • chief product officer: $67,422 per year

How to become a product manager

There are several career routes that may lead you to the position of product manager. The following are a few steps that can help you prepare and secure your first job:

1. Complete a university degree

Typically, a degree may look good on your resume, and it may also provide you with practical information that can help you determine whether this is a profession you can enjoy. You can try to get a bachelor's degree in business or a closely related field. As an aspiring product manager, you can also plan to take courses in economics, public relations, management, marketing, statistics, advertising, and communication during your study.

2. Consider graduate education

While not a requirement for the role, completing a graduate degree can offer you more employment opportunities. Some employers prefer candidates with postgraduate degrees for roles that involve managing larger product lines or teams or people. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) can prepare you for this role. If you work for a company managing goods in a specific sector, you may require a background in another field of study related to the product.

Related: Program Manager vs. Project Manager: What's the Difference?

3. Develop your network

Usually, securing the right job requires a combination of possessing the appropriate skill set and networking with the appropriate individuals. Join professional groups and seek mentors you admire. Attend conferences to network with like-minded folks and to remain informed about industry developments. Because some employers use conferences to attract new employees, attending those events to extend your network may also connect you with important individuals who may lead to future career prospects.

Product manager skills

As a product manager, it's vital to possess both hard and soft abilities. Possessing a set of applicable skills enables you to accomplish your work more easily. As a product manager, you may require the following skills:

Communication skills

Product managers have frequent contact with a variety of groups of individuals, including members of the product development team, supervisors, and stakeholders. It's vital for them to know how to communicate in a variety of ways, including email, phone, face-to-face meetings, and online conference calls. Effective communication skills guarantee team members understand their responsibilities and that they meet expectations. They frequently involve themselves in product meetings and presentations, so communication skills are critical.

Technical expertise

If your job requires you to work with products such as software and programmes, you may need a basic level of technical expertise. Also, you may require some technical experience to collaborate with engineers on identifying bugs and issues with various products. You may also want to ensure that your product satisfies standards for design, function, and user experience.

Leadership skills

Leadership abilities refer to the capacity to supervise and manage a group of individuals. Product managers are accountable for guiding, supporting cooperation, and enabling communication across the company's engineering, marketing, and sales departments. Their cross-functional leadership abilities assist them in developing plans and ensuring their execution.

Marketing skills

Marketing skills are characteristics and capabilities that are directly relevant to the field of marketing. These are the tools necessary for a product manager to succeed in this sector. As a product manager, it's vital to devise strategies for marketing your product to a diverse audience. This skill prepares you to advertise your company's products successfully for them to generate a profitable return.

Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is a method of analysing and preparing while attempting to accomplish a goal. Strategic thinkers invest time in determining the optimal solution to a problem or the optimal path to achieving a goal. Being able to think strategically enables you to make decisions that benefit not just the organisation for which you work, but also improve your career. Product managers apply strategic thinking to comprehend and manage all aspects of the product's development. From the product's debut through its promotion, product managers employ this method to solve challenges and accomplish goals successfully.

Related: How to Write a Product Manager Resume (Tips and Example)

Research skills

Research skills are the capacity to find an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. Research abilities include the capacity to obtain information on a subject, study it, then analyse and interpret it in a way that leads to a solution. It's vital for product managers to possess research abilities to assess what consumers desire in a specific product. It's also necessary for them to their rivals' position in relation to the organization. When it comes to product creation, the more thorough your research, the easier it is to uncover marketing possibilities and risks.

Business skills

As a product manager, it's vital to possess great business acumen to develop an efficient product strategy. This requires an awareness of how goods, cash flow, and budgets all contribute to the creation of a product. Developing your business management skills enables you to argue more persuasively for a product development budget when meeting with clients.

Interpersonal skills

It's important for product managers to work with a range of different individuals, including stakeholders, consumers, and team members. Product managers with strong interpersonal skills can persuade people to share their vision for the new product they are marketing. Interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, and active listening are all necessary in this job.

Analytical skills

Analytical and research skills are necessary for product managers. After the of marketing research, product managers are to study and utilise the data to make informed product decisions. Effective product managers understand how to leverage the data they've gathered to solve difficulties and build solutions that can eventually result in a successful product.

Delegation skills

With strong delegation abilities, product managers can effectively lead a product development team. A development team frequently comprises multi-functional team members, each of whom is accountable for a certain aspect of the product's development. It's necessary for product managers to assess each team member's strengths and assign tasks accordingly. Delegation skills include the ability to communicate task requirements and routinely check in with team members to determine what worked and what didn't while completing a task.

What is the difference between a product manager and a project manager?

These two positions collaborate on a coordinated marketing strategy, but their tasks are quite distinct. A product manager's objective is to provide a high-quality product to consumers, and they're also responsible for developing a comprehensive marketing strategy. In comparison, a project manager can oversee a single project from beginning to end, with defined objectives and deadlines. A project manager implements a product manager's strategy and is an integral member of the development team.

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