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Is Product Management here to stay or perish?
With AirBnB getting rid of the Product Management role, it sure did stir the soup not just for startups but also for big MNCs. Before diving into the pointers, let's iron out what product management is all about. In start-ups especially, early-stage; Product Management sits between business, tech, and the end user/customer. In SaaS companies the role is about growing the business by solving customer pain points with the right software service. In big MNCs, it's about driving business objectives with the cross-functional intervention of technology, sales and marketing teams. Product Management was never just about the technical execution, it was and will remain at the intersection of business, process, tech and consumer. So in short, this role will not wear off but evolve or mutate in the coming days.
But why did businesses do away with the role? The answer is simple -
Over-glorification of this role and in turn the over-expectations👎
Limited understanding of the importance of this role🙄
Confusing Product Management with Project Management🤔
I often get asked: "Why should a Product Manager work on wireframes, aren't designers supposed to do that?", "Why is a Product Manager needed to sign off feature specifications, engineering team should do that?", "What's the role of the Product Manager in creating GTM, how is it different from what marketing does?", "Why should Product talk to customers, Sales is doing it already?"
On top of these, the popularity of Product Influencers teaching "How to bag a Product Manager role" just highlights the bubble around people loving the title but caring less about building and shipping products that matter. Once you become a Product Manager, the glamour wanes off, you have to:
Take complete responsibility for the product you are building
Make difficult decisions daily
Crack the Product-Market fit
Distill Strategy into a roadmap
Get buy-ins from all stakeholders involved
Unlearn and Learn based on market dynamics and consumer trends
Wear the shoes of your customer
Need to know the basics of design thinking
Understand what those lines of code mean and what is feasible and what is not
Write lengthy and monotonous product requirement documents
Hence the latest turn of events is a good thing for expanding the role beyond the mandate. Safe to say the Product Manager role will remain valid and evolve into more realistic & logically viable roles such as Product Marketing Manager, further morphing into a Product MarkOps Manager and eventually into a General business manager role, responsible for the end-to-end success of the product and its many functions.
To sum up, this role just got upgraded to 50% of its true potential. You will be okay as long as you can get things done, make your customer happy and bring in ROI irrespective of what your title calls you. This is my hot take and I'm curious to hear what you think! Let's engage in comments🤝