Startup Founders with technical background, often tend to give too much importance to the technological aspects of building products. No doubt technology is a critical component for building successful products. But the function of a Product Manager is the most critical for converting an idea into a valuable product which meets with the real world customer needs. Product manager’s role goes beyond any one function and it is the product manager who integrates all the departments/ systems within and outside of an organization and creates value from the resources in his or her command and beyond.
Having mastery in one or two of the roles is not enough to succeed in managing a product. Often people from departments who contribute to the product may not be aligned with the important goals that are critical to the success of the company. Only the Product Manager brings them the critical sense of direction to make all focus on product success and therefore company’s success.
Product Manager champions the needs of the customer and steers the resources inside the company by prioritizing what is to be done and when and why.
Product management is the process of defining, developing, and delivering products that meet the needs of customers and achieve the goals of a business. In a startup, product management is essential for success.
Here are some of the reasons why product management is so important in startups:
- Startups are resource-constrained. They don’t have the luxury of big budgets or large teams, so they need to be very efficient with their resources. Product management helps startups to focus their resources on the products that are most likely to be successful.
- Startups are fast-paced. The market is constantly changing, and startups need to be able to adapt quickly. Product management helps startups to stay ahead of the competition by identifying new opportunities and responding to changes in the market.
- Startups are customer-centric. They need to build products that people love and use. Product management helps startups to understand their customers’ needs and wants so that they can build products that meet those needs.
In short, product management is essential for startups to succeed. It helps startups to focus their resources, stay ahead of the competition, and build products that people love.
Here are some of the key responsibilities of a product manager in a startup:
- Define the product vision. The product manager is responsible for defining the product vision, which is a clear and concise statement of what the product is and why it matters.
- Understand the customer. The product manager needs to understand the customer’s needs, wants, and pain points. This can be done through market research, talking to customers, and analyzing data.
- Set the product roadmap. The product roadmap is a plan for how the product will be developed and launched. The product manager is responsible for setting the roadmap and making sure that it is aligned with the company’s strategy.
- Prioritize features. The product manager needs to prioritize features and make sure that the most important features are developed first.
- Work with engineering and design. The product manager needs to work with engineers and designers to ensure that the product is developed and designed according to the product vision.
- Get feedback from customers. The product manager needs to get feedback from customers early and often to make sure that the product is meeting their needs.
- Measure the product’s success. The product manager needs to measure the product’s success by tracking metrics such as user engagement, conversion rates, and churn rates.
By fulfilling these responsibilities, the product manager can help a startup to build a successful product that meets the needs of customers and achieves the company’s goals.
If you are a founder, better start learning about the principles and approaches of product management. Even if you are not going to play that role, it is important for you to understand the roles and responsibilities of a product Manager. If you think you are not right for the role, find someone matured and competent and make them responsible for product success and provide them with support.
A J Balasubramanian is a serial entrepreneur, with over three decades of startup experience in founding companies, mentoring / incubating startups and writes regularly on topics of interest to startups.