A 2023 Deloitte survey shows that U.S. consumers spend nearly 3% of their monthly income on digital products. These products include health and fitness apps, smart collars for pets, and entertainment apps. It competes closely with spending on clothing and electronics, signifying a huge potential for the growth of the digital product market. It will undoubtedly create a high demand for digital product managers, making it one of the most promising career paths. Let’s understand the role of a digital product manager and the skills it entails.
This blog discusses the following:
- What are the Key Responsibilities of a Digital Product Manager?
- How Does a Digital Product Manager Collaborate With Development Teams?
- What Skills and Qualifications are Required to Become a Successful Digital Product Manager?
- How Does a Digital Product Manager Contribute to the Overall Strategy of a Company?
What are the Key Responsibilities of a Digital Product Manager?
A digital product refers to any product delivered electronically and used over the Internet without the requirement of a physical inventory. Software as a Solution (SaaS), mobile applications, hardware solutions using the Internet of Things (IoT), and customized IT solutions are examples of digital products. Therefore, the core responsibility of a digital product manager is supervising the lifecycle of a digital product. This includes successful development, planning, marketing, and launching of a digital product. The following are some of the main responsibilities commonly included in a digital product manager job description:
- Build a digital product strategy according to organizational goals, market trends, customer demands, and the requirements of other stakeholders.
- Develop a comprehensive product roadmap that includes all product features, resources, timelines, and other essential details.
- Collaborate with designers and developers to ensure the deployment of necessary features.
- Gather product feedback from customers and other stakeholders and optimize the digital product accordingly.
- Partner with other teams to manage the product roadmap and eliminate product backlog.
- Conduct market and customer research and derive insights to gain a competitive edge.
- Use various tools for customer surveys, task management, and other essential tasks.
- Train the sales and marketing team about the product and all its features.
How Does a Digital Product Manager Collaborate With Development Teams?
The average timeline of a product lifecycle is quite long, usually five years. Product teams pick up speed right from the start to ensure timely development and marketing of a product. According to the State of 2022 Product Management Report, autonomy is essential for product management teams to thrive because it helps them make decisions independently and quickly without relying on other teams. However, product teams can be autonomous only when they align with other teams in an organization.
Digital product managers collaborate with other team leaders to understand their concerns and goals and make decisions accordingly. Moreover, a digital product manager documents all the communication with other teams and internal and external stakeholders to keep a record for future purposes.
Here are some of the most effective ways a digital product manager collaborates with the development and other teams for successful product development:
- The first step is to clearly define the responsibility of the product and development teams. While the former focuses on customer needs and product vision, the latter develops and deploys features and runs tests.
- They conduct regular meetings with the development team, either face-to-face or through online channels like Slack and Zoom
- Implement Agile and Lean development methodologies to boost collaboration
- Use tools like Jira, Trello, and Confluence to design and manage workflows.
- Create a product development roadmap to ensure team alignment.
What Skills and Qualifications are Required to Become a Successful Digital Product Manager?
Let’s look at some of the most popular digital product manager skills from a technical perspective:
1. Design Thinking and Innovation
Digital design thinking and innovation are critical skills for a digital product manager. They require experience with programming languages like HTML and CSS, and User Experience (UX) principles, as well as customer-focused design to ensure that the product aligns with customer demands.
2. Experience Using Product Management Frameworks and Tools
One of the most popular digital product manager skills in any digital product manager job description is familiarity with popular project management tools like Agile and Scrum methodology. A digital product manager should also be adept with tools like Trello, Jira, Asana, Notion, and Figma.
3. Value Proposition Development
A value proposition is an important element for digital product success. It defines the importance of various features of a product and what value they generate for the customer. The value proposition describes why a customer should purchase your product. Hence, developing a value proposition is one of the most critical digital product manager skills because it helps generate demand for a business. A digital product manager understands customers’ pain points and develops the value proposition explaining how the product can solve specific challenges faced by the customers.
4. A/B Testing
It is a strategy to test which variants of product features will perform better in the market. Product managers divide their target audience into two separate groups, and each group is given a different feature to test. Based on the customers’ responses, a digital product manager assesses which feature performs better and should be offered to all customers.
A product roadmap comprises a vision, final goal, milestones, and direction of a digital product. It essentially serves as an action plan for the product lifecycle. Developing a product roadmap is, therefore, an essential skill for a digital product leader. They build both internal and external roadmaps that serve as guiding documents for all stakeholders.
Soft Skills Required to Become a Digital Product Manager
- Excellent communication
- Strategic thinking
- Organizational Skills
What are the Qualifications Required to Become a Digital Product Manager?
In addition to the above digital product manager skills, you also need the following qualifications to become a digital product manager:
- A Bachelor’s in Marketing or Business Administration
- Since this role requires technical knowledge of digital products, a Bachelor’s in Computer Science or IT can also be an added advantage
- Moreover, many organizations prefer to hire candidates with a Master’s or Doctorate in Marketing or Business Management
- At least three to four years of experience in product design or development
ALSO READ: How to Become a Product Manager in 7 Steps
How Does a Digital Product Manager Contribute to the Overall Strategy of a Company?
The State of 2022 Product Management Report reveals that product managers play a critical role in customer acquisition. The product-led movement has made product managers all-rounders who oversee the development, product launching, marketing features, and product messaging. In fact, product experience has a 40% role in customer acquisition in comparison to sales function, which contributes to 30% of the customer acquisition journey. Thus, digital product managers contribute to the overall growth and strategy of a company. Let’s understand their role further:
- Responsible for smooth communication among the stakeholders and ensuring team alignment.
- Develop and communicate a product strategy by understanding the requirements of all stakeholders.
- Set actionable product goals and initiatives, decide on a suitable product management framework, and develop a product roadmap.
- Define a product vision to guide the team throughout the product lifecycle. It essentially includes the reason or purpose of developing a product. The vision should align with the mission, story, and objectives of the company.
- Analyze the target market and build an Ideal Customer Persona (ICP) for a digital product based on age, location, and other factors.
- Position the Unique Selling Point (USP) of a product in the market to gain a competitive edge.
The above-mentioned roles and responsibilities highlight the importance of a digital product manager for an organization’s growth. As the business landscape transforms further, the demand for skilled product managers facilitating competitive advantage will increase. Hence, now is the best time to build a career in product management. Emeritus’ online product management courses teach the latest strategies, tools, and product management frameworks, helping professionals acquire relevant skills. Explore these product management courses today and advance your career in digital product management.
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