The rising importance of product managers in a digital transformation
As the world moves further towards digital, our products and services are moving faster than ever. The same is true for changes in customer buying habits. And the ever-moving world of technology. Our organizations need people with the right skills and capabilities to respond to this rate of change. Today our people are the difference between the success and failure of our products.
How are organizations dealing with the shift to digital?
In this crowded marketplace we’re being forced to innovate more than we used to. There are a few things that must run in harmony to make innovation happen. First our idea must hold value in the eyes of our customer. If our product isn’t desirable, it won’t sell. Simple.
“We believe putting customers first is the only way to create lasting value for shareholders.” – Tom Szkutak, Amazon CFO
We need a strong business model so we know our product can generate revenue both long and short term. The idea has to be viable. Then of course the product has to work.
The third aspect to consider is whether the idea is feasible or not. The technology to produce it must exist and we need a team with the right skills and competencies to bring the idea to life.
Where does the product manager fit in?
At the heart of innovation. The product manager has a clear view of the desirability, feasibility and viability of an idea, and a key role in steering the innovation process.
They know the customer
It’s all about the customer. Companies need to have a deep understanding of their customer. Product managers acquire a deep understanding of their market and know how to convert these people into paying customers. They meet customer needs and ensure that they find and see the value in an idea, sometimes before anything has even been built.
They understand the market
Changes are occurring faster and faster forcing organizations to become more agile in the way they work and respond to these changes, understanding where the opportunities and the threats are.
Product managers know the size of the opportunity for their idea. They develop a strong business model and make sure teams and stakeholders have a shared view of it.
They are responsible for running experiments in order to maximize learning. This way they gain feedback and achieve problem-solution fit and product-market fit.
This knowledge helps exploit opportunities in the market and achieve the goals of the business; to generate lasting revenue and profit and create services that customers want to interact with. These positive experiences can then be shared with others.