Exploring this Job
An internship or part-time job in a product management department is a good way to learn more about the daily tasks involved in this work while seeing if this is a good fit for you. Ask your school's career services office for help with finding job listings and internship opportunities. You can also search for job listings on the Product Development and Management Association's Web site, https://jobs.pdma.org. Conduct an informational interview with a product manager to find out what they studied in school, how they got their first job, and other information that might be helpful for someone interested in this career. Prepare your list of questions before your meeting. Keep up with developments and trends in product management by reading articles on Web sites such as Product Management Today, https://www.productmanagementtoday.com, and Product Management Insider, https://medium.com/pminsider.
Product managers help companies develop and manage products. The Product Development and Management Association defines a product manager as "the person assigned responsibility for overseeing all of the various activities that concern a particular product. Sometimes called a brand manager in consumer packaged goods firms." Product managers manage products throughout their lifecycles, from market research and conception, product development and specifications, product planning and roadmaps, to prototypes and sample production, testing, product launch, promotions, and post launch.
Product managers work for many different types of industries, including health care, banking and finance, entertainment, and technology. Their specific tasks vary depending upon the type of company and size of the company they work for. Their core responsibilities, however, are to help establish the strategy and the vision for their company's product; this is often put into a document called a "roadmap."
Product managers are responsible for establishing the strategies and vision of the product as well as coordinating and communicating the product goals with the product management team and all others involved in the product. They work closely with managers from other departments, including development, design, engineering, finance, marketing, advertising, and sales, among others. They make sure that everyone understands and follows the product roadmap, which maps out why the product is being developed and the timeline for its development.