A technical product manager is a product manager (PM) with technical understanding as they will work closely with the engineering team. While they have technical expertise, they don’t perform technical tasks but they focus more on the product management side. So what exactly does an IT Product Manager do? Let’s find out!
The Role of a Technical Product Manager
Product management includes the planning, management, and control of products and services to be marketed. As a coordination point between marketing, sales, manufacturing & development, product management is oriented towards customer needs – and determines product requirements on this basis.
Now in terms of IT, there’s an additional aspect in play – that of the technical side.
IT companies generally develop software and applications in accordance with market needs.
And so IT product managers have a dual responsibility because they not only work as product managers but also need to understand the product they are dealing with.
Ultimately, technical product managers or IT product managers are the human interface between application developers, stakeholders, and end-users.
What are the Responsibilities of an IT Product Manager?
The job description of the IT product manager involves the management of a product within a technical field such as Computer Science, Engineering, Medicine, or IT. This could mean the management of a group of engineers working on a technical product.
Technical product managers receive product orders from the company’s head department and then get to work planning strategies. They are responsible for ensuring the completion of the product on time and within the set budget constraints.
IT Product Managers must make sure that all planning documents have been completely and thoroughly checked in the production department, and whether all the materials and tools necessary for the production are available.
The technical product manager is therefore responsible for compliance with all parameters for the manufacture of an IT product, as well as the required quality compliance.
What are the tasks of a technical product manager?
- Defining goals, creating release plans and handling distribution of tasks.
- Ensuring technical specification, technical construction, testing, final implementation, and quality assurance.
- Mediate as an internal contact person, hold meetings and stay in constant contact with programmers and product designers.
- Advise the customers, include feedback and keep them up to date.
- Customer acquisition and marketing of IT products
- Monitoring of the product life cycle
- Evaluation and implementation of product optimizations
- Planning and implementation of marketing and communication measures
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Skills needed to become a Technical Product Manager
Product managers need a range of soft skills including strong communication skills, the ability to motivate oneself, a pronounced discipline, leadership qualities, must be ambitious and have the ability to accept criticism. They are in the middle point amongst the marketing, design and engineering team, so they must be good with people.
In addition to soft skills, tech product managers require hard skills too. While they shouldn’t be a software engineer expert, they should be able to understand complex coded products to be able to manage time and prioritize projects. Often companies require having a good eye for design and a good understanding of UX and UI design.
What skills should an IT product manager have?
- Knowledge in business administration as well as marketing and controlling
- Some basic software understanding
- Good with design and understanding of UX / UI
- Analytical thinking skills, and a high level of comprehension
- Independent working methods
- Strong communication skills
- Knowledge of critical faculties
- Good decision making based on real data
- Eager to try new approaches and fail fast
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Background and Education
IT product managers are usually academics who have a Bachelor’s or better yet, a Master’s degree. Preferably in a discipline like business administration, marketing or even engineering.
Product Managers in the tech industry are generally business specialists, but computer scientists and engineers are also welcome in the field.
IT product managers are not restricted in terms of industry. The prerequisite is a product that requires support. This is the case in most industries and is also becoming increasingly important in the service sector.
Technical Product Manager Salary
Your starting salary as an IT product manager is influenced by various factors. The industry, the employer, the type of products they are promoting and your degree also have a significant impact on the number on the payslip.
The starting salary for an IT product manager is around $59,000 gross per year. The average salary is about $130,000 and the top salary can reach up to $200,000 per year.
How much does a tech product manager make?
The average freelancer hourly rate of an IT product manager is $135. Extrapolated to an 8-hour day, the daily rate is thus around $1,080 (freelancermap price index – as of February 2020).