04008 What Is a Product Manager For?

When I tell people at parties that I’m a Product Manager at a software company, the response is usually: “Oh, that’s nice … what exactly is a Product Manager?”
That’s only natural, but what’s pretty unusual is that you’re just as likely to get that question from a software company colleague. I suppose this stems from the nature of the product – software, in an industry that is not mature. I don’t think this is the same issue in other, much more mature, industries like household products.
So I find myself explaining what a Product Manager is for, and I try not to launch into an article-length speech. My answer always boils down to something along these lines:
“A Product Manager fills in the gaps between different functions and departments in order to make sure that the product develops and makes progress, with the aim of making the product perform better relative to the competition.”
So what are some of those gaps? Read on for a list of potential gaps you’ll encounter at your company.