7 Challenges of a Product Manager
By Maayan Gottleib, Senior Product Manager, Leverate Product managers are sometimes like octopuses, with one too many hands, one in each department. In my case, I work with sales, making sure the products we have developed are being represented properly and that the sales team is showing the USPs correctly; with marketing making sure the […]
By Maayan Gottleib, Senior Product Manager, Leverate
Product managers are sometimes like octopuses, with one too many hands, one in each department.
In my case, I work with sales, making sure the products we have developed are being represented properly and that the sales team is showing the USPs correctly; with marketing making sure the messages represent the product’s features correctly when reaching both new and existing clients; with the account managers, which are one of our best sources for feedback so we can make sure our clients are happy with our products and what new features or products we should look into developing to meet their needs; and with the training department, making sure our products are being used correctly, the way in which they were designed to be used.
When we are developing new products or features, the source of our inspiration comes in part from our vision, from what we want our product to be like in the future, but it also comes from a strategy based on requests from existing clients, from an analysis of the competition and from researching market trends.
When I get a clear view of what the product should look like in say 2 months, 6 months, a year from now, then together with R&D and with the designers we’ll start creating. Along the way, of course, there are challenges. The top challenges I encounter as a Product Manager of a tech company are:
1: The fact that I am managing people, but I am not their boss. Because of hierarchy, I am not a team’s manager, however, I do need them to work according to what I have envisioned and to what I need, or the company needs. Because I am not the team’s direct manager, my strength must lie in my leadership skills and in making them understand that we are not working against each other whenever there is a conflict of interest, but rather as part of the same team working for the same goal.
2: Maintaining a balance between innovation and keeping the systems stable, fixing bugs, etc
3: Pleasing every client. We get feedback from our clients and they each want something different. The challenge lies in listening to everyone and finding features that will bring the most value to the most clients both while maintaining our existing clients happy and attracting new ones.
4: Our industry is ever-changing. There is constant need for innovation and in such a dynamic environment, you need to move fast or you are left behind.
5: Maintaining a balance between what a Product Manager wants and what R&D wants and needs in terms of infrastructure and capabilities. When we need changes constantly, there will be a point in which R&D will say “wait, I need to do this from scratch”.
Developers want to build this beautiful code, but as a PM, I don’t have the kind of time required to build beautiful codes, but I do understand that if the code isn’t written right in order to support the demands in the long term, it will stall, so I need to maintain a balance and allow R&D to develop this “new and beautiful code” in stages, little by little so that there is no need for a total refactoring that takes months.
6: A big challenge as a PM is remembering that the work doesn’t end with a product release, which you would think is the ultimate goal, but that’s rather just half the race. You think that it is all about developing a product, but the reality is that when the product is finished and you launch, there is a lot of work in order to ensure that the product is implemented as you envisioned. After product launch comes training, making sure the adoption process is correct, configuring and customizing systems, receiving feedback, etc.
7: Because we are a B2B2C, getting feedback is a big challenge. We sell our products to brokerage companies, but the products are really being used by traders and because they are not really our direct clients, getting their feedback is extremely difficult.
Featured photo: Leverate diplayed its proprietary brokerage solutions at last week’s iFXEXPO Asia 2016 in Hong Kong. Photography copyright FinanceFeeds