The Product Management Team: The 4 Essential Roles For Product Success

Product Management Team

Table of Contents

A Product Management Team is a group of people that focus on the process of developing and launching new products. Product Teams are made up of Product Managers, Product Designers, Product Marketers, User Researchers and more. They come together to brainstorm ideas for new features or iterations on existing features. The Product Manager usually leads this team by guiding them through the product development cycle.

Product Managers, Product Designers and Product Marketers are very common but depending on your budget and team size you may need to occupy more than one role.

Product Manager 

Product Managers are responsible for the Product Roadmap, Product Strategy and Product Vision. They need to be able to prioritise features based on your company’s business goals as well as user needs/wants. They need to be able to understand the market your product is in, the customers that use it and what you’re trying to achieve with it. This ensures that they can prioritise features that will bring the most business value as well as user delight.

Product Designer

Product Designers have a focus towards design processes, wire framing & prototyping, information architecture and usability testing. The Product Designer should own all aspects of the Product Experience. They should be able to create visually compelling mockups and prototypes that demonstrate their ideas. The Product Designer should be the ones to guide the concept efforts as well as creating design specifications for web, mobile and tablet applications.

Product Marketer

Product Marketers are responsible for Product Pricing, Positioning and Product Launch Strategy. They work closely with Product Managers to determine what features will be included in a product launch based on your company’s revenue goals. Product Marketing will also be responsible for developing and executing the rollout strategy and communicating product updates to customers and prospects.

User Researcher

User Researchers have a focus towards user research methods such as usability testing, contextual inquiry and customer surveys. Product Managers should work with Product Designers to incorporate the findings of User Research into new features or iterative features. This ensures that you’re building products your customers want to use.

Cross Functional Teams

Today the Product Management Team is no longer confined to roles you see above.  Product Management Teams are now made up of Product Managers, Product Designers and Product Marketers as well as Engineers, Quality Assurance Specialists & Data Analysts. This is a cross functional team where everyone has an important role to play in the development process.

Engineers

The engineers have a focus towards coding and building product features based on the analytics/metrics and designs that Product Managers, Product Designers & User Researchers give them. They will collaborate with the Product Management Team to make sure that they can implement new features and iterate on existing ones.

Quality Assurance Specialists & Data Analysts

QA Specialists have a focus towards testing, process automation and product analytics/metrics that Product Managers and Product Designers can use. While data analysts work with Product Marketers to analyse the results of tests or trends in user behaviour.

Stakeholders and Users

Both stakeholders and users should be considered part of your product management team. Product Managers should be working closely with the Product Marketing Manager to identify your user base and what they want. Product Designers can work directly with stakeholders or users throughout each phase of the product development process by incorporating feedback into iterative feature development.

The Product Management Team & Product Development Lifecycle

The product development lifecycle requires each person in the Product Management Team to understand what their goals are in each phase.

Data & Ideation

In the Ideation phase, Product Managers should be working with the whole team to determine what idea they want to move forward with and why. They should also work closely with other stakeholders such as sales and marketing teams to validate their ideas. The goal of this stage is for everyone to learn whether or not their idea is a good one.

Design – Concept/Prototyping

In the Concepting & Prototyping stage, Product Designers should be working closely with other designers and engineers to concept ideas as well as create a prototype of these concepts. The goal of this stage is for everyone to learn whether or not their idea works.

Development

In the Development phase, engineers should be working closely with the whole product team to implement the features that were discussed in the previous two phases. The goal of this stage is for everyone to learn whether or not their idea works as intended, and what (if any) changes need to be made.

Testing & Validation

In the Testing & Validation phase, QA Specialists should be working closely with the whole product team to test and validate whether or not a feature works as intended. This is a critical stage in the product development lifecycle because if something doesn’t work, it needs to be fixed before going live!

Deployment

In the Deployment phase, engineers should again be working closely with the whole product team to deploy the features that were tested in the previous phase.

Monitoring & Iteration

In this final phase, everyone on the product team should continue working closely together to monitor and iterate on existing features. This will ensure that your product is constantly improving. 

Putting It All Together

As you can see, the Product Management Team is comprised of many roles, personalities and skills. If you’re in a smaller product management team you may occupy more role than one so double down on the process and project planning in order to reduce the overwhelm people face when bringing a product in to the market.

If you’re a startup founder just like me, you might occupy every role at the very beginning!

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