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The role of a product manager can sometimes be confusing, the lines may be blurred between what can be done vs what should be done. We are the “jack of all trades” so therefore there are many questions we can answer, processes we can get involved in, and overall value we can bring to the company. With this said, we must not lose sight of what the product managers role truly is, and that is, to optimize our product or portfolio of products throughout its entire lifecycle from innovation to sunset. Yes, there is quite a bit behind that, but at the core we must always think to ourselves is THAT what our focus truly is when we come to work each day.
So what goes into the role of product manager? What are the product managers responsibilities? How do you optimize a product or portfolio of products? To start there should be a healthy balance of the following focus areas:
Ask yourself, are your actions matched up to the above? Are they helping you achieve your goals or have the distractions of the business taken you away from these actions? Also ask yourself, are you overweighted in one area? Are you spending 90% of your time in Launch Solution and no time in Uncover Needs or Manage Solution? As a successful product manager we have to make time for all of these for full lifecycle management, so therefore it will be important to occasionally as yourself these questions to keep yourself on track.
The good news is that Product Managers work across functions and therefore our jobs are never the same on any given day, so while it may be a stressful job at times, it typically will not be mundane.
If you read the above and see the role of the product manager (To optimize our product or portfolio of products throughout its entire lifecycle from innovation to sunset), you will notice there is no mention of agile vs waterfall development. That is because it doesn’t matter, it’s because while your tasks may change and how you optimize the product may be different based on development methodologies, your role and your goal should always be the same for all product managers.