Product management is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers in the tech world. But it’s also one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented. There are many myths and misconceptions that cloud the reality of what product managers do, how they do it, and what skills they need to succeed. In this blog post, we’ll bust five of the most common product management myths and reveal the truth behind them.
Myth 1: Product managers are mini-CEOs
This is probably the most widespread and persistent myth about product management. It suggests that product managers have total authority and accountability over their products, and that they can make decisions without involving anyone else.
The truth is that product managers are not mini-CEOs. They are more like product coaches. They have to work with various stakeholders, such as engineers, designers, marketers, salespeople, customers, and users, to define and deliver a product that solves a real problem and creates value.
Product managers don’t have the final say on everything. They have to align their vision and strategy with the company’s goals and values. They have to collaborate with their teams and stakeholders to make decisions based on data and feedback. They have to influence without authority, inspire without ego, and lead without being bossy.
Myth 2: Product managers need to be technical
Another common myth is that product managers need to have a technical background or experience to be successful. This stems from the assumption that product managers need to code, design, or debug their products.
The truth is that product managers don’t need to be technical experts. They need to be technical enough to understand the problem they’re solving, the solution they’re building, and the trade-offs they’re making. They need to be able to communicate with engineers and other technical stakeholders in their language, but they don’t need to do their job for them.
Product managers need to have a diverse set of skills and competencies, such as customer discovery, user research, data analysis, prototyping, prioritization, roadmapping, storytelling, and more. Technical skills are just one part of the equation.
Myth 3: Product managers come up with all the ideas
This myth suggests that product managers are the sole source of innovation and creativity in their teams. It implies that product managers have to constantly generate new ideas and features for their products.
The truth is that product managers are not idea generators. They are idea curators. They have to collect, validate, and prioritize ideas from various sources, such as customers, users, competitors, industry trends, internal feedback, and their own intuition.
Product managers don’t work in isolation. They work with their teams and stakeholders to brainstorm and evaluate ideas based on data and market research. They don’t fall in love with their own ideas. They focus on solving customer problems and delivering value.
Myth 4: Product managers know everything about the product
This myth portrays product managers as omniscient beings who have all the answers and information about their products. It assumes that product managers have a clear vision of what their products should be and how they should evolve.
The truth is that product managers don’t know everything about their products. They have hypotheses and assumptions that they need to test and validate with real users and customers. They have to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity on a daily basis.
Product managers don’t work with perfect information. They work with incomplete and sometimes contradictory data. They have to make decisions based on evidence and intuition. They have to learn from their experiments and outcomes. They have to adapt to changing customer needs and market conditions.
Myth 5: Product management is a one-size-fits-all role
This myth implies that product management is a standardized and uniform role across different companies and products. It suggests that product managers have the same responsibilities and expectations regardless of their context.
The truth is that product management is a highly variable and dynamic role. It depends on factors such as the size of the company, the stage of the product, the type of the market, the nature of the problem, the culture of the team, and more.
Product managers have to adjust their style and approach based on their situation. They have to understand the specific needs and challenges of their customers, users, and stakeholders. They have to align their goals and strategies with the vision and mission of their company. They have to adapt to different methodologies and frameworks, such as agile, waterfall, lean, or scrum.
Summing It Up
Product management is a fascinating and rewarding career that offers many opportunities for growth and impact. But it’s also a complex and challenging career that requires a lot of skills and competencies.
To be a successful product manager, you need to be aware of the myths and misconceptions that surround this field. You need to be able to separate fact from fiction and learn from the best practices and experiences of other product managers.