What is Product Management, Really?

Even within the software industry, many professionals misunderstand the role of the product manager. Perhaps this problem is compounded by the fact that in German colloquial language, marketing is often treated as a synonym for advertizing and PR. On top of that, we also find the role of product marketing manager which is not always cleanly separated from the product manager. That way, people quickly end up suspecting the product manager to be the wizard behind product-specific advertizing.

Of course, advertizing and PR are important for driving product sales – yet, product management determines product success on a much more fundamental level: product managers are in charge of a product from market entry to obsolescence. The objective of the product manager is to maximize the value generated from a product – usually measured in the profits generated – over the entire life cycle of the product.

Key to product success is a suitable product strategy, from target segment definition to development of a business case, as well as product planning across product generations. In addition to these strategy and planning initiatives, product managers continuously track previously defined implementation milestones and success metrics and take corrective action as required.