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Anne Davis
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What to Know Before Hiring Your First Product Manager

Anne Davis

November 06, 2018


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If you’re running a small business making products and struggling to successfully keep up with all the moving parts yourself, you’re probably putting serious thought into hiring a product manager. But before you do, there are some important aspects of the job and its role within an organization that are worth taking into consideration. By better appreciating the challenges and responsibilities of product management, small business owners can maximize the results they see from bringing a PM onboard.

Collaboration and Control

Product managers are hired to oversee virtually every stage of the product lifecycle, using research and data to draw definitive conclusions about where the line should be headed. However, one of the biggest challenges of product management is balancing this level of control with the collaboration expected of most small business owners. This collaboration frequently extends to other employees as well.

With this in mind, it’s important for small business owners hiring product managers to set up a framework conducive for success. In other words, you need product management software and other proven tools and resources designed with collaboration in mind. The right solutions will be those which provide PMs with the instruments necessary to effectively do their jobs while also giving them a reliable means of sharing their findings and recommendations with the rest of the company.

Owners must also make sure they are in the right frame of mind to successfully incorporate the product manager’s plans into their existing business model, as well as be willing to modify their operations to fit the product management solution. At the same time, owners shouldn’t assume the PM is impervious to making mistakes. It’s a balance of personal judgments, the compromise of which will be the path going forward.

What is a Product Roadmap?

At the heart of the collaboration experienced by product managers, owners, employees, and stakeholders is the product roadmap. The development and presentation of a product roadmap is one of the most important responsibilities of a product manager, as it essentially makes the case about the path the company needs to take going forward regarding its products.

As the name implies, a roadmap is a navigational tool for plotting out a course for the lifecycle of one or more products. If there is any room for doubt about this path forward, it makes itself apparent via the roadmap. Owners can keep this in mind when concerned about the precursory findings of product management prior to the unveiling of the product roadmap. Save your worries for the roadmap.

Deciding to hire a product manager is a major step for a small business. It signals a graduation from being a two-bit operation to becoming an established enterprise on the up-and-up. However, it’s crucial for owners to appreciate the role of product manager prior to bringing one into the fold. Their effectiveness hinges on the proper balance of collaboration and control, which is itself the result of using the right resources to get the job done. Furthermore, the success of a PM depends on the willingness of the owner to not only listen to what their product manager has to say but act on it accordingly.


                   



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