Product Development Managers Must Master These 3 Things
The title “product development manager” is often confused with a similar sounding position — “product manager.” While they work hand in hand, each role possesses a slightly different set of traits and responsibilities.
To better conceptualize the difference, imagine you are eating dinner at a highly renowned restaurant. You might be tempted to order as many dishes as possible so you can have a bit of everything. It is hard to pick because you don’t want to miss out on any options.
This is what it is like to see things from a product manager’s perspective. They are all in, and want to test as many routes as possible — without experimentation it is impossible to know which new feature will drastically improve the product.
However, ordering all the dishes on the menu takes a long time to prepare, will be painful to finish, and run you quite a bill. This is where the expertise of a product development manager comes in handy. In this situation, he or she will take the time to carefully examine the menu and select dishes based on what he knows the group will enjoy.
The most successful product development managers are masters of the following 3 skills.
1. Focus the Team on the Most Important Projects
Product development managers are masters at prioritizing. They work with cross-functional teams to ideate, develop, and create new products. But most important, they decide which projects and features are more important to develop over others.
Individuals in this role must be able to estimate the technical feasibility, design needs and potential bumps in order to calculate the effort-to-payoff ratio of each project. In addition to the technical aspects, product development managers must also understand the business implications of each choice they make.
2. Cross-Functional Team Development
A product development team includes quality assurance analysts, designers and engineers. Team leaders are the glue between these individuals and the ones who keep all of those activities running smoothly and within the given timelines.
The product development team’s focus is pretty clear: developing the actual product. However, there are other things to think about when designing a product, like marketing and communication of the updates or consumer feedback.
3. Curate Market Value
While product development managers are not responsible for marketing objectives, they still need to be in the loop and take them into consideration when building. Synchronization between marketing and product development is key, because the product needs to fulfill the promise that the marketing team is selling to customers.
To ensure consistency across these disciplines, the product manager can gather consumer feedback, which will provide key insights for updates or new features.
Product development managers are experts in the product and are able to work with multiple teams in order to transform ideas into great products. They know what is best for the product and can sense when something new will turn into something groundbreaking or essential for their technology product.