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Product managers rule the day

May 17, 2019

Product managers rule the day

Product managers are hot right now. They’re the subject of countless books and blogs, and the focus of numerous conferences, seminars, meet-ups and talks. The role of product management has become so central in the creation of new technology it’s difficult to imagine a time before there was a World Product Day.

May 15 was only the second annual World Product Day ever. Labs attended the London event to mingle, learn, and discuss ways to advance the practice of product development. “This year’s presentations were all about how to approach physical and digital products,” stated Esin Over, Octopus Choice Product Lead, who sang praises for the event’s speakers and organisation.

Why has it taken so long for the role of product manager to come to the foreground of business development? Historically, the role of product manager had much more to do with marketing and sales than design and engineering. But, along with the advancement of digital products and technology, the role of product manager has shifted to become central to the creation of each new product, placing product managers as the main conduit between client, user, engineering, and design. All the while, ensuring that business objectives and client needs are both met effectively.

Product managers have also become top management figures, often reporting directly to company CEO’s. “This is critical,” writes Martin Eriksson in The History and Evolution of Product Management. “because it aligns the product team directly with the business vision and goals, makes them internal as well as external evangelists of that vision, and gives them the independence necessary to make tough prioritisation calls.”

“We are lucky to have a great product team here,” stated Esin about her Labs colleagues. “They think about user needs/business needs/team needs a lot every second of their day. Nothing would be possible without a good product team. If you look at all successful businesses in the world, they are product focused businesses.”