Summary: The title product manager is used in describing a manager in various industries. As such, the duties a product manager varies greatly among companies and depends upon the nature of industry of these companies. For instance, product managers who work in banking, insurance and other financial institutions are responsible for “managing” bank products such as accounts or credit cards, while determining the product’s profitability, and strategizing the development of business. In industries that produce tangible goods, the role of a product manager includes investigating, selecting and developing products for a particular company.
Duties: In general, a product manager handles the entire life cycle of a product line, from deliberate planning to expedient activities. The product manager also specifies market requirements for current and future products by doing market research, which includes identifying potential clients, estimating consumer demands, studying products of competitions, and developing strategies for pricing. Production managers also oversee ongoing production operations, which includes Inventory Control, Scheduling, Documentation, Equipment Maintenance, Calibration, Shipping, and Quality Control/Inspection. In some instances, they analyze potential partnerships for the product. Regardless of industry, a product manager’s tasks fall under ensuring overall customer satisfaction.
Education and Training Requirements: One must complete a degree in Economics, Accounting, Finance or any business course to become a product manager. However, a product manager candidate with an advanced degree or CPA would definitely have an advantage over other applicants. Large companies usually prefer product managers to have several years of relevant work experience.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: A product manager should have extensive knowledge of corporate tax processes and current technologies, and must be at ease with software applications. He/she should have strong technology skills, exceptional business acumen, good written communication skills, PR skills, leadership skills, problem-solving and analytical skills, advanced computer skills, knowledge of effective marketing and advertising techniques, negotiation skills, as well as the ability to work independently or as part of a team.
Working Conditions: Product managers usually work in well-lit, comfortable offices. They follow regular 9 to 5 work hours. However, they may also have to work in the evenings and even on weekends to meet deadlines. Self-employed product managers have the advantage to choose their working hours. They may also travel around the country and overseas to clients’ worksites.
Salary: The product manager‘s salary depends largely on company, location, industry, experience and benefits, but statistics show that the average pay amounts to $68,000.