The Evolving Role of Product Management

This post is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of “Product Leadership.”Read the full book on Safari.

As Marty Cagan, founding partner of Silicon Valley Product Group and a 30-year veteran of product management, puts it, “The job of a product manager is to discover a product that is valuable, usable, and feasible.” Similarly, co-author Martin Eriksson, in his oft-quoted definition of product management, calls it the intersection between business, user experience, and technology (see Figure 1; only a product manager would define themselves in a Venn diagram!). A good product manager must be experienced in at least one, passionate[1] about all three, and conversant with practitioners of all three. …

Perhaps most importantly, the product manager is the voice of the customer inside the business, and thus must be passionate about customers and the specific problems they’re trying to solve. This doesn’t mean the product manager should become a full-time researcher or a full-time designer, but they do need to make time for this important work.

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