The good news: when it comes to software, product management is now being seen as a legitimate profession and increasingly critical to a company’s growth strategy.
(Ok, maybe it was always thus in Silicon Valley, but the rest of the world is now catching up.)
The bad news: There are still many myths and misconceptions folks have about our profession.
Here are some common ones:
- Product Managers are proxies for project managers.
- Product Managers are “technical people”, so it’s not necessary to involve them in business, sales, marketing, pricing or (worst of all) strategic discussions.
- Product Managers are “technical people”, so naturally they define/understand the database structure, system design, server configurations, etc.
- A Product Manager is a “technical role”, so must sit under Engineering or IT.
- A Product Manager’s primary (only?) job is writing requirements…
- …And how hard can that be? (One of my favorite quotes from non-PMs: “I could write those requirements over the weekend.” Go for it, boss.)
- If the product has a technical issue, like something wrong with the data model, SQL stored procedure, or the system design, the PM is responsible and answerable. (Uh, no.)
- A Product Manager can come up with a product roadmap without a well-defined product strategy.
- A Product Manager can come up with a product strategy without a well-defined business strategy.
- A roadmap is simply a case of plotting a bunch of features on a timeline with dates. How hard can that be?
- The Product Manager must come up with delivery estimates and dates, and stay true to them no matter what. (Because we product manages are fortune tellers, of course.)
- The Product Manager must spend most or all of their time with the development team / in the scrum. (Nope. They must equally spend time, if not more, in the market.)
- The Product Manager is “CEO” of his or her product. (Nope. The CEO is the CEO.)
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