Introduction

How many successful product managers do you know? I know lots of product managers, and I can count on one hand the number that I would consider successful. I've often wondered why the product manager's role is one in which it seems so difficult to succeed. The following are several possible reasons:

  • The product manager has ultimate responsibility without ultimate authority.

  • The product manager's responsibility is typically so broad that being successful in one area often negates being successful in others.

  • The product manager comes from one specific discipline, either engineering or marketing and concentrates their efforts in the area they feel most comfortable.

So what are the visible signs of a successful product manager? The most obvious one is when the product they manage is a strong seller and profitable. However, there are often times when a product manager is not judged on solely on the success of their product. The product manager must often prove their effectiveness not only by having a successful product, but also by appearing that they are on top of all product issues, customer issues, and proactively managing the product, and not just reacting to day-to-day fires. Of course the product manager who is on-top of the product and providing proactive support of the product is usually the product manager with the strong selling, profitable products. The only way for the product manager to be completely on top of all issues is to be extremely organized and proactive.

Target audience and objective

Product managers generally come from many diverse backgrounds. Many were formally Systems Engineers, others come from other marketing roles, occasionally they move over from engineering, and some come straight from getting their MBA. Because of these diverse backgrounds, product managers often concentrate or succeed in one specific area of their job, often neglecting or ignoring other areas where they are less familiar with the requirements of the job.

This book is designed to help product manager's stay on top of every aspect of their product marketing job. It is designed for both the beginning product manager, who doesn’t know where to start, as well as the experienced product manager who just need a reference of checklists and templates. The book outlines the product manager's job, provides templates for standard documents, as well as processes to help the product manager stay organized and keep the rest of the company informed on the product. Lastly this book provides insights and tips gathered from 20+ years of direct product marking experience with lots of input from other product managers in the high-tech industry.