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  • Writer's pictureDeepankar Dey (aka Deep)

What do you do for a living?

Someone: What do you do for a living?

Me: I am a Product Manager

Someone: Ah, so what does that involve?

Me: Well...

Despite my 15 years of experience as a Product Manager, I find it challenging to succinctly answer this question. It's not due to a lack of understanding of my role, but rather because it encompasses a multitude of tasks that are often misunderstood. For instance, I am responsible for crafting the Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy for a product or multi-product solution. However, this is frequently mistaken for a marketing role. These misconceptions and queries underline the unique and complex nature of our profession.

It's crucial to understand that the role of a Product Manager is far from standardized. There are various types of product managers, such as Technical Product Managers, Outbound Product Managers, and those who perform the roles of product owner and business analyst. Some product managers, like me, have both inbound and outbound responsibilities. Moreover, different companies use various job titles, such as Program Managers or Product & Project Managers. This lack of standardization underscores the variety and adaptability of our role, which can be both challenging and exciting, but also empowering as it allows us to shape our roles to best fit our companies and industries.

To explain my role, let's consider an example. Let's consider a subscription service like a mobile plan or an OTT service. The service company must build channels to acquire subscribers and maintain a good relationship with them throughout their subscription lifetime. They may offer promotions and giveaways to strengthen the ties and monetize their services further.

As a product manager, I envision and create products and solutions for enterprise service providers. My team and I work with engineers, data scientists, UX designers, and architects to build the products. We then work on the GTM plan with the marketing team and train our pre-sales, sales, and account managers to position and sell the products to service providers. We also evangelize and sell the products, work with partners and consulting teams during implementation, and share industry and solution best practices.

In summary, my role involves bringing different teams and individuals together to envision, build, sell, and operate one or more products. This collaborative aspect of our work is what truly makes it rewarding, as we are all working towards a common goal.

Phew!! Now it's your turn. How would you answer - "What do you do for a living?"?

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