Product Management at Google – By Dinaaz Aga
In an effort to demistify profiles, I have been running interview shows which focus on a particular profile. Eg: Interviews with Amit Somani and Sean Johnson on the roles and responsibilities of Product Manager. In todays episode of coffee with experts, Dinaaz Aga explains Product Management @ Google. Dinaaz has been leading the PM recruiting efforts. She has played a significant role in expanding the PM organization in Google Bangalore. Its over to Dinaaz Aga.
Every member of the product team is important. To succeed, a company must design, build, test and market the product effectively. There is one role that is absolutely crucial to producing a good product, yet it is often the most misunderstood and underutilized of all the roles. This is the role of the product manager.The first confusion that we often encounter when looking at the product manager role is that it is often referred to by another name, or it is lumped in with another role: program manager, product marketing, project management, engineering management, or sometimes in small companies, a founder or executive.
At Microsoft, and at a few other such companies, the role of product manager as we use it here is known as a program manager. To confuse things further, Microsoft also has a role known as the product manager, but that is what most refer to as product marketing.
We also find some companies using the old-school definition of product manager, which is essentially the brand manager concept from the consumer packaged goods industry. This is primarily the product marketing function under the title of product manager.
Your job as product manager is to evaluate these product ideas and decide which product ideas are worth pursuing, and which are not. If you do decide to pursue an opportunity, your assessment needs to determine what it will take to succeed. The product manager is responsible for this product strategy and the steps that will get the product from here to there. The strategy and roadmap should reflect the input and buy-in of the full product team, and should be reviewed and approved by the company executives. Its important to note that PM’s manage products and NOT people unlike other companies.
He has to represent products internally playing the role of :-
- Executive Review
- Sales and Marketing
- Work with the UI team to make sure all products are user centric
- Represents Customer
- Strong CS background is a must, coupled with a MBA is a plus
- Education must be from elite schools with very good CGPA’s
- 5 + years of experience is required with solid on hands PM experience.
Skills required to fit in to this role
- Applying Technology
- Clear focus
- Time management
- Excellent written /verbal/ presentation/ business skills
- Creative with great product insight
- In depth market awareness (PM’s are hired as global PM’s ; hence they should have world wide market awareness and not just for the country they live in)
- Strong analytical skills
- A personality thats strong, composed, dedicated, passionate and some one who has a drive to believe in their idea and always be up for trying something new.
Thanks Dinaaz..Hope you enjoyed this edition of coffee with experts.. You know where to find the other episodes of CWS.. Check out the tab at the top!