Product management in IT encompasses defining, conceiving, delivering, refining, and monitoring products in a market to achieve the best possible results for a business.
IT product management includes a wide set of ongoing strategies and responsibilities. In the information technology industry, companies often can’t integrate and manage all of the functions associated with launching and developing products.
For example, the CFO might say that the marketing department spends too much money. The technology department might require better market intelligence to focus on new products for their target market. The marketing department could say the development team has to be more customer-focused. This is a common situation for IT companies and would usually require direct intervention by the CEO or president of the business. But because of time constraints, immediately finding a solution proves tricky.
That’s where an IT product manager can help.
IT product managers, or technical product managers, are in charge of the roadmap, strategy, and features for a product. They also directly influence how the product is built, launched, and maintained.
The main responsibilities of IT product managers are:
Monitor the performance of the product and redesign as required.
Design, develop and manage all activities from product planning to production and release.
Develop a product roadmap and strategy.
Set priorities between business impact, customer experience, post-launch support, and performance.
Work closely with technology and design teams to ensure a quality release of the product or its enhancements.
Apple: at Apple, product managers maintain a holistic, top-down approach to best adhere to Apple’s goals. They work closely with the engineering team and other cross-functional departments to design the best strategic elements of all Apple products. Product managers also deliver and create formal presentations and engage with the company’s partners. The ultimate goal of an Apple PM is to own the whole process — taking the product from the discovery stage to release and support while making sure customers and Apple get the best results possible.
Google: Just like Apple, Google is a product-centric company. Google product managers are expected to do in-depth research and present a vision for the product to the stakeholders. They also need to oversee the launch.
IT product managers share a lot in common with IT project managers, especially when it comes to training. Product and project managers often work together. A product manager focuses on the product's goals, vision, and business trajectory. A project manager is a leader responsible for all the projects, big or small, to make those goals a reality.
Since they work together, there is some overlap in training and certification. However, there are specific programs available for each role.
IT product managers certifications:
Product Management 101 by Todd Birzer
One Month PM by One Month
Project Management Certificate by Cornell University
Product Management Training by Mind the Product
IT project managers certifications:
BVOP Certified Project Manager
Certified Project Director by IPMA
Masters of Project Management (MPM)