“What Do You Do, Exactly?” – Hacker Noon

A few months ago, I left Beatport to help start Postlight, a product development agency in New York City. When we started the company I took on the role of Director of Product Management, which means I lead a team of PMs who work on various products for our clients. This new role has required me to reflect a bit on my experience as a PM, how I define the position, and what I’m looking for in the PMs I hope to add to my team. As it turns out, my responsibilities at hostess.fm provide a good framework for thinking about what a PM should do:

1. Figure out what to build means…

Identify a problem, talk to affected users, experiment with existing products and workarounds, brainstorm potential solutions, and define a minimum viable product that addresses your users’ needs.

2. Convince people it could make money means…

Sketch or prototype your product, estimate development timeframe and costs, identify potential revenue streams, outline a viable business model, solicit buy-in from key stakeholders, set clear expectations, and define KPIs to measure your product’s success.

3. Find designers and software developers to build it means…

Conduct interviews, assess talent, build a team, and help motivate and lead that team to develop the product you’ve agreed upon.

4. Make sure they build it right means…

Manage the daily product development process, facilitate communication, give feedback, be familiar with modern design and development practices, apply project management methodologies as needed, communicate changes in the roadmap to stakeholders, and be held accountable whether things go right or wrong.

5. Convince users to use it means…

Define a rollout strategy, A/B test product features, craft a marketing plan, manage an analytics dashboards to see what works and what doesn’t, and implement a support system to help users when things don’t work as expected.

6. Repeat means…

Understand that a product is never done – that it is a living, breathing thing that should constantly be adapting to incorporate feedback, to better serve its users, to address changes in the market, and to capture new opportunities as they emerge.

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