So what makes being an Product Manger any different from being a regular program manager? Hey, we’re better! Well, maybe not BETTER, but we do see ourselves as being part of a very special group: technical professionals who have also been invited to live in the business world.
What this boils down to is the simple fact that what sets IT Product Managers apart from all others is that they need to be good at doing three things (at the same time of course):
- Think/Act/Breath Like a CEO: simply because you are. An IT Product Manger IS the CEO of his/her product. It is not a stretch to say that the product will succeed or fail based on it’s Product Manger’s abilities. How’s that for some pressure?
- Understand the Bottom Line and Up Time: cut ’em in half and you’ll find that IT Product Managers don’t just have a left brain / right brain thing going on, they’ve also got a tech / biz thing happening. As we move from meeting to call to meeting, we are constantly shifting gears in order to deal with both sides of the company. We are the bridge between to very different worlds.
- Be A SME: this is the key. This is the one feature that distinguishes a Product Manager from a Program Manager. IT Product Managers have to be Subject Matter Experts. We have to truly know our products from the inside out as well as the technologies that they use and why they are needed. More than any other feature, this is what makes IT Product Managers so special — the immense amount of knowledge that we need to know in order to be able to do our jobs.
I think that it was Charles Dickens who said “… It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” For IT Product Managers it couldn’t be truer. There are times that we feel, move, and act with all of the power of a true CEO. However, then there are those times that we feel overwhelmed with the complexities of everything that we still have to accomplish.
No matter, now you have found this blog and together we shall find a way for you to overcome all problems. Exactly how you are going to do this is a topic for a future posting…