In Honor of Product Management Day, Here’s a History Lesson—and an Offer You Can’t Refuse
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Going Back in Time
Have you ever wondered how far back the role of Product Management goes? Where did it all begin?
It started on May 13, 1931, when former president of Procter & Gamble N.H. McElroy wrote a groundbreaking memo, which articulately described the role and responsibilities of “Brand Men.” In his estimation, Brand Men were in charge of understanding demand for a product, creating a go-to-market strategy, and briefing upper management on the plan of action.
Driven by a desire to better manage resources in his marketing department, McElroy defined the “Brand Man” as an individual who takes complete responsibility for the success of a brand or product. His vision launched the evolution of what we refer to as Product Management today.
Let’s examine how the role of the Product Manager is similar to the original “Brand Man,” and how it has evolved to be even more critical to the success of products in today’s fast-paced organizations.
The Modern-day Product Manager
Today, the role of Product Manager is very similar to what McElroy outlined back in 1931, but it has grown to encompass even more responsibilities:
- Understanding the market need: First and foremost, it’s the Product Manager’s responsibility to understand and define what the market needs and what type of product or product features will solve the problems and pain points of the target audience. This process requires research and competitive analysis, reading and processing customer feedback, and identifying trends.
- Defining the product: The Product Manager is heavily involved in determining what features and functionality to focus on—a huge responsibility that can either make or break a company’s ability to generate revenue. After coming to a conclusion about what a product will be and how it will answer a market need, the Product Manager works closely with the Product Development team to determine what features will not only make the product differentiated and marketable, but are feasible to develop.
- Defining success: Product Managers must create a business case that sets goals and provides business justification to get buy-in from upper management, and a roadmap that outlines the development schedule. Once the product roadmap is approved, there’s more hard work ahead. Creating a formal launch plan and forecast, developing a pricing strategy, planning marketing and launch activities, and conducting briefings are all part of bringing the product or new feature to market.
- Overseeing development: During development, Product Managers work closely with developers and engineers, tracking the progress of new features and evaluating whether they produce the expected results. When development schedules change—as they almost always do—Product Managers act as messengers, relaying updates to other departments, and revising forecasts and schedules accordingly. Following a launch, Product Managers start the process over again, tracking the market response to a product or new feature, gathering additional feedback, and fine-tuning future development plans.
- Dealing with data: In today’s data-driven world, Product Managers must be experts at analyzing data, and gleaning actionable insights. They must also be adept at using a variety of software platforms, from Project Management tools such as Asana or Jira, to road-mapping software like ProductPlan, data analytics platforms like Google Analytics, and customer survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or TypeForm—all in addition to standard business applications, presentation software, and CRM tools.
- Acting as an advocate: Product Managers must be master multi-taskers. During a typical day, they may meet with senior management to discuss high-level business objectives, present market research, answer questions about product development, or go over the product roadmap. Then, they may transition to granular discussions about certain product features with developers and engineers. After that, they may jump on a sales call to present the product to a prospect and convince them to buy, or review marketing materials to ensure the writers got the messaging right.
- Taking center stage: Product Managers are often asked to participate in forums, webinars, events, and training sessions, as well, which requires excellent communication and presentation skills, and even a bit of stage presence. And, they must be skillful mediators who problem-solve and make sure the needs of various teams within the organization are met.
The Brand Men of the early 20th century would likely be overwhelmed by the scope of work today’s Product Managers take in stride—and their heads would spin at the rapid pace of modern product innovation. Fortunately, as the role has evolved, so have training programs that help Product Managers acquire and hone all of the skills and expertise they need to be successful.
Evolving Along with You
For more than 20 years, 280 Group has been at the forefront of the continued evolution of the Product Manager role, partnering with enterprises and individuals to advance both the role and the measurable impact it has on product and organizational success. That’s why it goes without saying that we’re eager to celebrate Product Management Day—in a big way!
From May 13-21, we’re offering 15% off all online purchases of 280 Group’s Product Management courses and toolkits*. Our extensive list of courses help you build the full spectrum of skills and knowledge required by the job, from core skills to cutting-edge Product Management techniques, Agile development, and using data analytics to drive better business outcomes.
The instructors at 280 Group have in-depth, real-world Product Management experience, and are driven by their passion to teach others how to succeed in the field. Having worked at market-leading organizations such as Apple, Amazon, Intuit, and Microsoft as well as many successful startups, they offer an unmatched level of technical and business expertise.
Celebrate with Us—and Get 15% Off an Online Course!
Spend some time learning about our courses and how you can further your career as a Product Manager with 280 Group, no matter what level you’re at today.
Learn all the core skills in the Product Lifecycle and prepare to become a Certified Product Manager.
Learn the latest PM techniques needed to develop products at the speed of digital.
Learn the Agile methodology from the PM perspective so you can rapidly meet customers’ needs.
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We hope you celebrate Product Management Day with us by taking advantage of this special offer—and we look forward to working with you to continue to evolve, expand, and strengthen the role of Product Management now and into the future. McElroy would be proud!
*Terms and Conditions: This offer is not valid for previous purchases and does not apply to services such as private training, consulting, assessments, or optimization programs. Coupon codes cannot be combined. Availability of in-person training courses may be limited. This offer is only available until Friday, May 21st, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT.