The Strategic Role of Product Management

Some of my readers, and friends told me, that they do not exactly know, what product management is about.

They suggested  that I write more about the role and the tasks of the product management in the technology sector. In the site statistics, which I use to measure the success of my blog,  I have seen that several readers do not understand German. This is, why I am writing this particular article in English.

Product Management

„The first and the most important consideration for any business is the market problem“ (Steve Johnson, Pragmatic Marketing).

During my professional development, I have seen several overview presentations, books or articles.


All help to answer the question, which the role of product management is. At the end, I am working in a large product management organization, which has a certain organizational setup also. Common to both, the documentation and the real organizations is, that all use different categorizations, and views, to explain the product manager role. Thus, THE product management seems not to exist.

Once, I have attended a training with a company, which specializes in Product Management for technology. This company (→ Pragmatic Marketing) is located in the U.S.A.

They have created a framework, which provides a helpful overview over the tasks and roles of a product management organization. In the following section, I will use this framework as a general orientation, and will add areas, where I think, this is helpful. In particular, I will add a more German view (Andreas Hermann → Produktmanagement: Grundlagen- Methoden- Beispiele – German).

The Role of Product Management

The Product Manager, and the Product Management Organization works in the triangle between Marketing Communication, Development and Sales. Product Management represents the interface to the customer.

Objectives of Product Management

Objectives of Product Management

Briefly said, Product Managers own every activity between the rollin of customer requirements to his organization, and the rollout the products to the market (Click grafics to enlarge).

In this role, the product management is the internal representation of THE customer, and, he/she is the external representation of THE product.

PM Tasks

The product management function covers the main tasks, listed below:

  • Rollin: To be able to sense the market needs, Product Management studies and knows the market and the size of the different market segments. It has a deeper insight into the financial, strategic and risk-related parameters of their target market. Finally it knows the individual requirements, and needs of customers in the market.
  • Development-Support: Company internally, the Product Management use the market knowledge to support development departments in the process of developing products, which people want to buy. Customers want to buy such products that solve real customer problems, and that deliver quantifiable customer benefit. Development departments can develop such products in a market-oriented fashion, if they have the needed insight and guidance about the needs of the market
  • Rollout: On the interface to the outside world, Product Management positions and communicates products to customers. And it engages the customers with the products developed, or the smart service ideas generated.

Product Management Organization

As each area of responsibilities mentioned above requires a different skill set, companies typically employ product management teams, which include spacialized individuals for the major roles listed below.

Org Assignment

Roles in Product Management

Roles in Product Management

Often, product management reports to Vice Presidents, or Directors (Click grafics to extend):

  • Product strategists (Program Management), which deal with the big-picture activites to develop markets and product strategies
  • Technical (Operational) Product Managers, which cover technical areas, and the foundation topics, such as requirements gathering, technological assessments or release delivery
  • Product Marketing Managers, which make the products sales ready, or support the channel, and talk to the market

Tasks and Duties of the Product Management

Overall, the product management has strategic tasks, and tactical tasks.

Product Management Task and Role

Product Management Task and Role

  • Market Analysis: The Product Management analyzes and understands the distinctive competence of his own company, the market problems, the technology maturity, or the competitive setting, which he finds in the market
  • Market Research and Quantitative Analysis: This area is responsible for activities to gain quantifiable data about the target market, and the product. Examples for work results are the market sizing, the win-loss information, or the customer quotes from public communities.
  • Product Strategy Development aims at the creation of business cases, it decides about pricing, or product portfolio, and it defines the strategy in terms of buy, build or partner. The information gathered here, is a central foundation for the product and program decisions, which take place, before development can start at all
  • Product Planning is responsible for the positioning of the product, it gathers and studies the market requirements, or it elaborates personas or usage scenarios. This area is furthermore in charge of the preparations, which aim at the physical release delivery, including mile stones
  • Program Strategy: This task area of responsiblity aims at and prepares the later rollout of the products to the market. It is furthermore responsible for development of the go-to-market strategy. An important interface exists to the general Marketing department. Examples for deliverables from this task area is the marketing plan, the acquisition of customers for the ramp-up programs, the launch plan, or the sucess stories and marketing collateral
  • Sales Readiness and Ramp-Up: In this phase product management prepares the knowledge stack of the sales organization, or it prepares white papers, or the competitive write-up, which lateron help sales to position and sell the products
  • Channel Support: This task area makes sure, that the direct sales support is available. It often runs presentations, and product demos, supports special sales situations, or functions as the answer desk.

More Information

For more information see the free Pragmatic Marketing e-Book about the role of strategic product management. This e-Book explains the larger topic, so that you gain inside into related topics as well. You can download the e-Book at follows

It there are still question left, proceed as follows:

Weiterführende Informationen

Das Original dieses Artikels ist auf Der Produktmanager erschienen (©Andreas Rudolph). Regelmäßige Artikel gibt es über die (→Mailingliste), oder indem Sie →mir auf Twitter folgen. In der Online Version finden Sie hier die versprochenen weiterführenden Links:

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