Product Management

The Product Manager Role Versus the Product Management Discipline

product manager
Written by Therese Padilla

 Product Manager Role vs. Product Management Process

Contrary to popular belief, the product manager role is not representative of the entire discipline of product management. The line between the two is not blurry, but distinct. It is the difference between a unique position with specific responsibilities and an entire discipline that spans the product life cycle and industries.

First, let’s examine the product manager’s role. Their responsibilities can vary depending on the following factors: industry type, company size, business ecosystem, and business model. Due to these variations, an individual product manager’s work adapts to the needs of the company and the product they represent. This is the reason that a product manager may never work on the entire life cycle of their product. In some cases, a product manager will have responsibility for just one part of the product management process or one phase of the product life cycle. Products may spend many years in the maturity phase and even outlast their original product manager.  Alternatively, a product manager might focus on a specific component or feature(s) of a product. For this reason, it is essential for a product manager to understand how their unique skill set and experience fit in their current position or one that they are looking to enter. That’s why AIPMM is offering a resume consultation with AIPMM Anthropologist Paula Gray. This exclusive opportunity is free to for all AIPMM members. If you’re not a member and would like to become one, click here. For AIPMM members go here to schedule your appointment.

In contrast, product management is also a discipline. According to the ProdBOK, “product management is the process of conceiving, planning, developing, testing, launching, delivering, and withdrawing products in the market” (Eppinger & Geracie, 2013, p. 43). Thorough knowledge of the product management discipline will span all industries and all product manager roles. This level of knowledge can lead to improved personal and product performance as it gives a bigger picture view of the requirements for success. Courses and lessons are the keys to becoming the informed expert on product management. Our partners including 280Group, AIT, and Product Innovation Educators, offer a wide selection of courses to suit any product manager.

There are thousands of career opportunities for a product manager. It is essential to recognize that while the role of a product manager varies, the discipline of product management remains the same, and spans the entire life cycle. The savvy product manager will leverage that knowledge for their success.

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About the author

Therese Padilla

Therese is President of the Association of International Product Marketing & Management. She is a product management professional with broad experience in all areas of product development and management, including consumer products, enterprise software in startups and large corporate environments. Therese created the first product management certification program at the AIPMM which she co-founded in 1998.