1. Brief Description of the current-state description and why this position is needed
Product managers are the facilitators of the product: they lie in the intersection of the sales/marketing, design, engineering, and business teams. Often these product managers are expected to hold diverse skill sets combined with a wide range of relevant experience in the above fields. With a strong focus on visionary leadership, an empathic understanding of the customer and teamwork/communication skills they foster teams by helping them build great products.
Product manager skills and qualifications usually vary to great lengths depending on the firm as well the industry in focus. For example, a more technical focused product manager will be expected to have a master’s degree in computer science and practical software engineering experience. Subsequently, a more strategy focused product manager will be expected to hold an MBA and several years of relevant work experience. With that in mind, being an aspiring product manager with past experience in product management, I wish to improve the current job description for product managers.
2. Strategic Goals for updating this job description:
Currently, there is a lot of ambiguity in the exact responsibilities and qualifications needed to thrive as a product manager. This is primarily due to the role of a product manager varying in great detail depending on the type of company and product they are working for/with. Secondarily, since product managers lie in the intersection of various disciplinary skills and roles as stated above — they tend to have mixed opinions on the skills needed to succeed in the role. As we have gone through in class, the job description should be clear and in-depth about what constitutes a successful candidate, that too without any form of discrimination or bias. With that goal in mind, I have chosen to improve the job description of a product manager who in this context is seeking a senior role in a competent company.
3. Updated Job description
Title: Product Manager
Job Type: Full-time
Work Location: New York, NY
Product managers primarily focus on product strategy and execution, translating customer needs and opportunities into a compelling roadmap and working cross-functionally to deliver impactful solutions for team productivity and collaboration. The product manager will work directly with Engineering, Design, Experience Research, and Data Science, as well as with Sales, Support, and Marketing to ship great products. Specifically, here is the workflow of the product manager: from strategy to product to process improvements — conceptualizing, launching, and iterating on the product for its end users/customers.
We are looking for a product manager for our core data-loading infrastructure that delivers delightful and fast user experiences. You’re a product manager who has deep empathy for customers and can take on difficult, ambiguous projects where the solution is not clear from the outset. You love building fast, stable, and secure infrastructure with an eye towards speeding up engineering velocity. You thrive on cross-functional collaboration and are excited to partner with engineering, design, user research, product marketing, product leadership, and the rest of our amazing PM team.
About The Firm: XYZ
We are building innovative products to influence long-term savings behavior. You’re going to play a significant role in our commitment to rapidly iterate towards impact and scale.
● Our direct-to-consumer product reaches over 300,000 people nationwide and is growing. You have a chance to improve the lives of millions of Americans largely ignored by the financial services industry.
● We have real-time digital data on our members’ behavior and needs. We use it continuously to help them succeed.
● Through research and storytelling we continuously “make the case” for how savings can help address society’s most critical issues -such as health, housing, employment, and economic stability.
● Our small team means everyone participates in projects outside their domain. We’re always learning together about new markets, technologies, behavioral economics, data science, digital marketing techniques, advocacy efforts, and more.
● Lead our user testing process to continually gather input from our users on the XYZ experience and rapidly prototype new ideas.
Essential duties and responsibilities
● Understand and lead analyses of user needs, product metrics, and the broader competitive market landscape to determine the right set of features to build.
● Drive global product requirements definition, product planning and product design of new features and enhancements. Work cross-functionally to launch new features
● Clearly communicate product benefits to our users and internal stakeholders
● Understand how to build an ecosystem of products and make trade-off decisions for the good of the ecosystem
● BS Degree in a computer science/data science OR equivalent experience
○ Excellent communication skills with the ability to interact with and understand technical subjects and emerging technologies and their relevance to the marketplace
○ Ability to handle detailed work accurately and quickly with the drive to meet deadlines on multiple projects
○ Proficiency in Microsoft Office products / G Suite
○ Ability to manage and lead across highly cross-functional teams
○ Ability to communicate findings clearly to both technical and non-technical audiences
● MS degree in a technology-related field or MBA
○ 2–4 years of Product Management experience at a B2B or a B2C software company
● Experience building digital products with a demonstrated ability to drive product roadmaps, development, and launch
● Strong understanding of the most recent trends around consumer usage including experience with social media
○ Experience with building apps through gamification
○ Experience with growing B2C marketplaces
○ Zendesk/JIRA or other ticketing software experience a plus
○ SQL and experience with data analysis is a plus
Our Offer and Commitment
● The salary and benefits package for this position is competitive.
● XYZ values diversity in our workplace and encourage people of color, women, people with disabilities, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and anyone belonging to any other federal or state-protected category to apply for this position.
● Health insurance
● Dental insurance
● Vision insurance
● Retirement plan
● Paid time off
How To Apply
If this opportunity sounds like it’s for you, please visit https://xyz.com for information on how to apply.
The main takeaway of the job description is that there is no fixed set of standard qualifications for a product manager. This is primarily due to the role of ‘Product’ diverging into many industries and subsequent sectors. For example, a product manager a high-tech company like Google will typically hold a master’s degree, have experience with data science and software engineering. Alternatively, a product manager at a retail store like Walmart may not need to process the same experience in software engineering, they will be expected to have more of a sales/marketing person so that they can help design products/experiences that customers will ultimately love.
Also, another interesting observation that I made was that product managers tend to vary in requirements needed on the job, based on the sectors of design, project management, software engineering, sales/marketing experience necessary. Some companies will need design-centered PMs, where are other companies may need data-centered PMs, etc. To fill in these gaps, candidates most likely depend on their core competencies that they developed in the past and tend to be a generalist in the other areas.
That is something that I learned by really going deep into what it takes to be a product manager, and one thing is for sure, there is no clear set of standards or paths that one could take to land in the product.
Good to have
If time permits — jobs to do
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Call To Action
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