A Day in the Life of a Product Manager

Managing diverse teams, championing customer satisfaction, steering product development strategy, and patiently influencing the decisions of company leaders – it’s all in a typical day’s work for today’s product managers, along with customer problem resolution, communicating effectively with key stakeholders, cultivating new ideas, pitching their business cases, and other management challenges.

A lot to manage for these servant-leaders, for sure. But in a recent survey of Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Science in Product Management (MSPM) program alumni, many of whom came to the program as engineers, user-experience designers, and other specialized technical professionals to learn to leverage both the technical and business sides of product management, one respondent summed up the overall attraction to the PM role perhaps best, with one word: “Ownership.”

Ownership of the strategy. Of product development and improvement. Of capturing customer feedback. Of aligning their teams. And of the process for achieving product success.

Of course, ownership of the process for developing and improving products and services comes with its own set of rewards, as well as challenges. Not surprisingly, many of those challenges revolve around managing diverse teams, leveraging divergent perspectives and expectations, removing obstacles that impede progress, and striking the right balance with team members between the technical and business nature of product management.

 

Carnegie Mellon’s MSPM program is designed to embrace such challenges, teaching aspiring product managers how to optimize their teams’ seemingly divergent skillsets to effectively develop and manage products that ultimately drive the company’s success.