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.
A comprehensive look at what product management is and how to distinguish what good product management looks like.