What Does a Software Product Manager Do?

Updated on December 14th, 2021
What Does a Software Product Manager Do?

Have you ever wondered what a software product manager does? If so, this blog post is for you.

Software product managers are integral to the software development process and their responsibilities can include many different aspects that involve both business and technical skills.

This article will discuss some of the following: what is a software product manager, what are their responsibilities, and their average salary in the U..S. Also, I’ll share with you some tips on how to become one, the qualifications needed to be successful at it, and if it’s worth pursuing.

Let’s start by taking a look at the definition:

What is a Software Product Manager?

Software product managers are product strategists within a software company who oversee the development of new products.

Software products can be used for business-related tasks such as managing finances and inventory, or they could be developed to help individuals with their personal needs, like finding a job or staying healthy.

This person is in charge of researching trends, gathering market data, and coming up with ideas for products.

They then pitch the product idea to other team members and management, who will decide whether it’s worth pursuing.

If a decision is made to produce the software, he or she becomes responsible for managing the development of that product while keeping in touch with marketing about how it can be marketed best.

Software Product Manager: Roles and Responsibilities

In order to be a great product manager, you must have deep knowledge of the software industry and how products are developed. Some of the most common responsibilities and tasks for a software product manager are:

  • Plan product lifecycles
  • Agile modeling
  • Create product roadmaps
  • Analyze product requirements
  • Collaborate with the scrum master
  • Collaborate with the engineering team
  • Do backlog prioritization
  • Create product marketing strategies,
  • Manage the product teamwork
  • Create product vision
  • Plan the product launch with the project management team

Let’s take a look at some of them in more detail:

1. Manage the software development cycle

One of the main roles of a software product manager is to manage the development cycle — meaning they have to be able to come up with ideas for products, pitch those ideas internally and externally, determine which ones are worth pursuing, and then direct the team on how they will develop that particular idea.

They also becomes responsible for managing internal as well as external deadlines and coordinating the team to develop a product.

2. Define a strategic vision for the product

Another important task of a software product manager is to define the strategic vision for their products. This includes coming up with ideas that address customer needs, determining which features are essential, and laying out the plan of attack for how your team will work on developing those features in an efficient manner.

3. Do competitor research

Software product managers are also responsible for doing some research on their competitors. This includes looking at what is out there, determining how they plan to stay competitive in the market, and seeing if any changes need to be made for your startup’s product as a result of that research.

4. Do market research

Not only is it important to know what competitors are doing, but it’s also important to know what your customer base is looking for. This means gathering feedback on a regular basis and figuring out which features are most popular amongst them, as well as the ones they feel need improvement.

5. Manage the software development team

Like any other type of manager, software product managers are responsible for managing the software development team. This includes assessing their skills and understanding what their strengths are, making sure they have everything they need to do a good job, and keeping them on track with deadlines.

6. Manage the workflow of other departments to make sure they align with the goals

This is another responsibility that software product managers share with other types of managers and departments such as the sales team. Software product managers need to be able to foresee any potential issues in order for them not to happen and make sure all the departments are working together towards a common goal.

7. Work on the creation and enhancement of new features

Software product managers have to keep up with the latest trends in technology and be on the lookout for anything that may make their product more appealing. Software Product Managers focus mainly on enhancing new features to keep a software system current

This is another responsibility of Software Product Manager’s, keeping track of what consumers want from today’s technological advances. They have to stay updated with any recent developments in order to add them into the company’s products so they can continue to evolve along with technology.

8. Create a pricing strategy and decide on a price

One of the software product manager’s responsibilities is to create a pricing strategy and offer. They need to do research into other products, competitors, or even ones from the same company before deciding how much their product should cost.

It all depends on what they think would be fair for consumers based on this information as well as what it takes to produce. The software product manager has the final say in which price goes out into the marketplace

Software product managers also have to determine how these prices are going to fluctuate throughout time. With new technologies coming out every year, sometimes there will have to be updates that require an increase in prices due to different production costs and such.

9. Establish communication with stakeholders

Software product managers need to know how to communicate with stakeholders. They have the responsibility of making sure that everyone on their team is clear on what they are working toward and why, so it’s important for them to keep in touch with all departments within their organization.

10. Analyze market trends, statistics, and sales data

Software product managers need to be able to analyze the market trends, software PM metrics, and sales data. This will help them determine what their competitors’ strategies are as well as stay up-to-date on any new developments in technology that might affect how they do business.

11. Plan product release strategies

Software product managers need to plan their release strategies. They set the schedule for releases and make sure that all the tasks are completed on time, with high quality. This is a big responsibility because it can affect how well they do in terms of competition as well as customer satisfaction.

12. Prepare product demonstrations for potential clients or stakeholders

Software product managers should prepare presentations when presenting products to prospective customers or other members of management within their organization.

Presentations will help them get across what needs to be done in order for everyone else to understand the company’s product goals from an outside perspective and communicate any necessary changes needed before launching new products onto the market.

Software Product Manager Vs. Product Owner

Although these two terms can be used interchangeably, software product managers are typically found in large companies.

Product owners usually work for smaller organizations where the needs of a particular project can change based on customer feedback and business demands.

Software product managers are responsible for making sure the product they manage is successful in terms of customer satisfaction and profitability.

Product owners, on the other hand, focus more on how to meet their company’s goals by ensuring that products work as intended within a set timeline with limited resources.

What Skills Should a Software Product Manager Have?

A successful product manager needs to have the following product management skills:

  • Must be a team player
  • Understand the importance of customer feedback and what it means for product development
  • Know how to manage their time efficiently while meeting deadlines and staying on top of marketing initiatives
  • Have a deep understanding of the product and be able to explain it easily
  • Understand how products are developed and how to find gaps in the market
  • Must have strong analytical skills
  • Be able to make decisions and work autonomously.

Also, in order for a product manager to succeed, they must be: innovative, detail-oriented, organized (able to balance priorities), selfless, extroverted (can clearly communicate with others). These are crucial qualities that need to be possessed by any candidate who wishes to become successful software product managers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Average Software Product Manager Salary?

The average salary for a software product manager in the U.S is $112k. Of course, this will depend on the company and location you are working at. Software product managers in New York, for example, will earn an average salary of $134k annually.

What is a Software PM Preferred Qualifications?

In order to land a job as a software product manager, it is important to have an engineering degree. It’s also helpful if you have experience in design and development. This can be obtained by attending PM bootcamps or taking PM certification programs.

Also, being a software product manager is not easy. You need to be passionate about what you are working for and enjoy solving complex problems that come with the position.

How to Become a Successful Software Product Manager?

The Software Product Manager career path is a difficult one to follow. Software product managers must have a deep engineering understanding and be interested in design, development, or technical pursuits.

Is software product management worth pursuing, then? — Software product management is rewarding because you are able to work with engineers and designers on a team. This can help you learn how to work with people and come up with solutions.

So, if you are interested in software engineering, design, or solving complex problems — this might be the path for you.