How will you explain product management to your parents?

How many times have you found yourself in this whirlpool of questions around your role as a product manager by your friends and family? Your parents in particular?

What is Product Management?

But what do you do exactly as a product manager?

What do you manage?

We get it! It’s not an easy answer to give. After all, PMs do a lot. Not even exaggerating. Putting it into a few sentences, what PMs do might require some real thought and creativity. Also, many times one makes the mistake of answering with all these technical jargon that revolve around product management. The other person, your parents in this context, will get confused in every way possible.

We decided upon speaking to a couple of product managers to get an insight into their personal experiences. Based on the gatherings, we have listed below the points that might help you with answering the question after all.

To narrow down something so complicated into an easier version, one must break it down into parts.

Simplify

We have this tendency to seek validation from our friends and family. That validation becomes the most important when it comes to your parents. Heck, you want them to know that their child has turned out to be somebody of substance! This becomes exceptionally true when it comes to our job roles. We want them to know that we are doing something important. And, then when it comes to product management, it is in itself something difficult to explain. So what do we do then?

Remember, they have nothing to do with the field. So do not expect them to get what you do with all the heavy showering of words around the field of product management, just because you want them to know how important is your job or what all do you juggle. As mentioned earlier, Even though describing the role is not a piece of cake, complicating it won’t help either. They might just lose interest at the beginning itself.

Simplify it for them. Make them feel comfortable with it, Use relatable examples.

In simple words, product management aims to create a new product or make a better version of the existing one in the market. It is motivated by a customer’s requirement and how they engage with the product to value them. Also, a product manager can be a single person or a group of people in a large company.

Merve Cankız Çoruh , Cofounder at Producter

Well, that’s a tough one,:) I’d briefly explain product management as an iterative process of finding customer pain points and executing the solution from idea to launch.

Explain the “product” in product management

Yes, that is also a common point of the question? What product do you manage? What is a product in product management?

A product can be anything. Any good or service that you offer is to satisfy the need or desire of a consumer is the product. A product may either be tangible or non-tangible. Tangible items include long-term items (such as automobiles, furniture, and computers) and non-sustainable commodities (such as food and beverages). Non-tangible/virtual goods or services include experiences offered (such as education and software).

Once you have explained the basics of a product, it is time to dive into the details of it. “Your product”

Tell them

  • Who are your product’s users?
  • What problem is your product solving?
  • More importantly, how does this product earn your firm money (or aim to make money)?

The Headmaster of Questions

Another interesting way of describing the role is calling yourself “The Headmaster of questions

A big part of product management is asking questions. These may apply to managers, other product members of the team, coworkers in other departments, and users.

“The big boss says, ‘Let’s do this!’ and the product manager says, ‘Let’s do this — here’s why.’ Then the product manager works with a designer and says, ‘Let’s do this — here’s what’ and then the engineers say, ‘Let’s do this — here’s how.’ And finally, the project manager says, ‘It’ll be ready in two weeks.’ And then, the product manager goes home with a product feature.”

Ending it with an amusing example of how you might explain the role in a story format if your parents are up for it!

Gardener Theory

What is a job of a Gardener?

To monitor the health of all plants and greens capes, watering and feeding plants, trimming trees and shrubs, fertilizing and mowing lawns, weeding gardens, and keeping green spaces and walkways clear of debris and litter.

  • Now to plant a tree or any other plant for that matter which is the basis of the whole responsibility, a Gardener decides upon planting the seeds into the soil, take into consideration the right temperature, positioning regarding the sunlight, the amount of water required.
  • In the next coming months, he will look at the stem growing out. There is a possibility that nothing grows at all, he will try to find out the reason for the failure. Maybe ask a Gardener friend for some advice. He might take the suggestion and try different ways like speaking to the plant, etc. The results might start showing up. Voilà! There is that stem growing.
  • All this while, the Gardener keeps going back to the plant, readjusts the amount of water and sunlight the plant is getting, makes sure there aren’t any animals around that cause trouble around the plant, also uses some of his friend’s advice that might help in the healthy growth of the plant, spoke about it more with others so that people are also looking forward to enjoying the fruits of the plant and by the end of it the plants shall grow into a beautiful one!

Now imagine your product to be your plant. It is alive and needs continual concentration. It requires constant focus. The product manager’s role is to create the product and then stick by the product throughout. Take feedback when necessary, monitor the company from time to time, make sure your engineers deal with the main pain points, and reassuring everyone about what is going on. This might be a quirky way to explain the role. You might as well try this.

We are hoping that you find the article helpful. Is there a different method to convey product management according to you? We are all ears! Let us know by reaching out to us on our social media.

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Zeda.io aims to make Product Management and Development Simpler & Smarter. We write about Product Management, Product Design, Product Development, and startups.