Platform product management is the process of operating the work of a component or set of components used by multiple consumer-facing products and potential end-users.
So, what is a product management platform? It is a set of technologies that allows the exchange of data and experience between one and another.
Having a platform is inevitable for any successful business. Platforms result from establishing multiple products that share one component or the growing popularity of the core product. Platforms also require an additional layer between the basic technology and the customer's product.
The main difference between platform product managers and product managers lies in their customers. Product managers’ customers are end-users who interact with the product. In contrast, platform product managers’ customers are developers and their company's employees.
Product managers mainly focus on growing their user base, financial metrics, and customer satisfaction with the product. Platform PMs are more internal, technical, and architecture-driven. They’re not customer-facing and are more technical and architecture-driven. They need to possess strong analytical skills, preserve relations with stakeholders, know all the aspects of products from design to deployment, and know what features should be added.
Maintaining and supporting the developing product strategy, product vision, product roadmap, goals, and metrics
Aiding with the development of customer-facing features
Preserving well-balanced internal product management
Transforming worker’s initiatives into developed plans and objectives
Prioritizing one set of tasks over another and making smooth tradeoffs
Allocating resources wisely
Assisting with building a product roadmap based on many factors
Together with the product development team, researching how different software products would work along with other products and services
To switch from customer-facing PM (or “Solution PM”) to platform PM, you need to draw a clear line in your mind between these two titles. Solution PM background will be useful to anyone looking to switch. But beyond that, there are a few more qualities on top that a Platform PM needs to have.
A platform PM needs to see the whole picture from the bird-eyes view. Since the platform covers the work of multiple products, the platform PM should be able to predict the influence one product will have on the development of other products and the overall business strategy.
A platform product manager needs to collaborate with many stakeholders. Since at least three users are leveraging the platform (the actual customer, solution PM, and developers), you should be able to successfully negotiate with all of them.
As a platform PM, you need to be responsible for product roadmaps.
Having technical knowledge is a big plus for a platform PM. Because platform PMs deal with all the platform processes and constantly communicate with the developers, technical expertise can be very helpful.
According to market data, the annual salary of a Platform Product Manager in the US ranges from $129,800 per year to $153,000 per year, with a median salary of $140,000 per year. The middle 67% of Platform Product Managers are paid $140,000 per year and the top 67% have a salary of $153,000 per year.
Around the world, the platform product manager role can pay a very different salary indeed:
In Germany: $72,000 per year
In Spain: $45,500 per year
In the United Kingdom: $71,000 per year
In Italy: $46,000 per year
In Brazil: $36,700 per year
In Norway: $80,000 per year
In South Africa: $29,000 per year
In Australia: $88,000 per year
In Canada: $76,000 per year
So how can a platform product manager negotiate a higher salary?
PPMs can increase the amount of money they make by focusing on their specific role and upskilling within it. A platform manager has a very different audience, and therefore responsibilities, versus an application manager. They deal with a whole product ecosystem, not a specific base of users.
The role of a data platform product manager includes democratizing data and optimizing how much time is spent on, and how much value is gained by, that data. They plan, create, and oversee the overall creation of a platform for data storage or a set of particular data tools for multiple clients.
While it’s not essential for most product managers to know programming, the role of the data platform product manager is a challenging one to perform without the necessary technical knowledge. This is a position that necessitates a grasp of complicated systems as well as collaboration with highly technical peers.
In some cases, a data platform product manager will report in to and collaborate with data scientists and data analysts. In other cases, they can collaborate with operations teams, software developers, or, in bigger organizations, executives. A data platform product manager should also be comfortable speaking with users.
Some of the responsibilities a data platform product manager has are:
Creating and building a product managers team while mentoring and coaching
Lead the product direction according to the company’s strategy while enabling large-scale, digital data analytics and management across the company’s economical network
Oversee the data platform portfolio’s conceptualization, development, planning, maintenance and deployment
Be up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry and implement the relevant innovations
Assist and mentor the team in order to develop into influential positions and scale the company
Foster and encourage a culture which is driven by data
Facilitate collaboration and accelerate innovation.
The median pay of a data platform product manager is comparable to that of a platform product manager: $120,000 a year in the US. That said, data product management is an emerging space and so this salary is likely to increase in the future as demand soars.