A Product Development Manager, or PDM for short, takes the lead on researching, assessing, and coordinating a new product’s build. It’s also their responsibility to manage the development and improvement of existing products and services, to better meet user needs.
A PDM’s main role is to assess the viability of new products and, once in development, ensure that they continue to solve customer problems. To do this, a PDM will carry out market research, liaise directly with customers, closely monitor industry trends, and manage the technical development of the product.
While it’s true that Product Managers and Product Development Managers both work in the same realm, the key difference is one of focus and scope.
A Product Manager will usually focus on a specific product, its customer, and how that specific product can be improved or developed.
The Product Development Manager is a more strategic role, focusing more on the development and conception of new products, as well as the high-level monitoring and management of products already in development.
PDMs are required to communicate and collaborate with many other teams in the organization. And, as a result, a myriad of soft skills are required:
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are a must. After all, PDMs will need to work alongside engineers, marketers, and C-level executives, perhaps on a daily basis.
Time management and organizational skills will help the PDM manage their many projects. From budgets and roadmaps to customer interview schedules, solid time-keeping and project management capability is essential.
Technical skills are an important factor for PDM. Specific knowledge of software engineering, UX, testing, and more will be invaluable in the day-to-day of the role.