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Product Management: What’s the Role of the Leader?

James Dykstra

Product Management: What’s the Role of the Leader?

Leadership and Product Management

For many companies, success is directly tied to an amazing product. Developing and launching an amazing product requires excellent management of the product development process. Some companies call this critical role Product Management, while others call it Program Management. No matter what you call it, it probably can be boiled down to owning the vision, design, and execution of your product. And this requires leadership.

Product Vision  

Owning the vision for a product means clearly identifying your audience, the problem you are trying to solve, and your unique solution. This requires that you have an understanding of your target market, including knowing who your current competitors and solutions are. It also requires that you explore options and solutions that will give you a unique advantage over your competitors.

In order for your product vision to move forward, leaders have to be able to share the vision and get others on board. Clarity in your messaging will keep people on course and giving them the opportunity to dialogue will provide a sense of ownership in creating the “world’s best product.”

Product Design  

When developing a product, it’s critical that the product’s attributes are tested with your target market. If you don’t understand how people use your product, what they like and don’t like about it, or what they wish it did, you won’t be able to design a product that will be a home run. Leaders have to make sure that the product development team is not making assumptions here—they have to listen to feedback, even when it’s not the feedback you were hoping for! Based on user feedback, the development team may need to go back to the drawing board, make improvements, or refine certain aspects of the product.

Product Execution  

This is the part of the Product Manager’s job that is probably most visible—doing whatever it takes to make sure the product is launched. It’s the most concrete aspect of the Product Manager’s job and many product managers rush to get to this point. But effective leaders know that it’s not just about getting the new product out the door—successful product execution also means removing barriers and looking for ways to improve the product, the launch, the communications, or any other aspect that will ensure the product’s success in your target market.

While the daily responsibilities of a product manager are diverse, each aspect requires leadership. When leaders remember to apply the concepts of Vision, Alignment, and Execution to their product development process, they will be rewarded with innovation, creativity, and success.

What leadership aspect do you think is most important when it comes to product management? How do you integrate Vision, Alignment, and Execution into the product management process?

Veseca Staff

Source: Everything DiSC Blog