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Product Leader or Product Support

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What is a product manager? Is it a product leadership role or is it product support for other departments?

Titles are a mess. What one company calls a product manager, another calls a product marketing manager. Are you a product manager, product owner, or product marketing?

Here’s the thing: many product managers aren’t doing product management; they’re managing development. Development managers write detailed stories and assign tasks. Product managers own business models, pricing, roadmaps, customer discovery, and more.

Expand your definition of the title "product manager"—it's not one thing; it's three. Maybe we need three titles: a product strategy manager for future product ideas; a product planning manager for what we're delivering next; and a product growth manager for what we're promoting and selling now.

Using these three definitions, we can measure job performance (with or without a bonus plan) around each role's primary objective. Rate product strategy roles on their ability to identify, research, and propose new product ideas. Product Planning roles would be measured on their ability to describe product features and guide the building of the product. Product Growth roles would be about creating go-to-market strategies and supporting the sales-enablement and promotion of the product.

Does product management provide product support to development, services, marketing, and sales? No, product management defines future strategy, drives next release planning, and guides current product growth.

How does your team rate? Take our free product team assessment and find out.
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