Do you have a product manager on your team yet? If not, you might be missing a major opportunity to improve your company's efficiency--and your tech team's ability to meet major milestones.
More importantly, this go-to person can clear your plate of a lot of day-to-day management, helping you focus on the big picture instead.
We asked 10 founders from YEC to share the 10 most important things product managers do to make your life easy, from helping make sense of customer feedback to translating CEO-speak into engineering to-dos. Their answers are below.
1. Ensuring that you're building what you sell and selling what you build.
It's more than just this, but here's the gist (in my opinion): Testing and iterating the product/service to blow customers away. Being able to work across an organization at all levels to ensure that you're building what you sell and selling what you build. If you're doing this now, a good PM can take this off your plate.--Sean Daken, RefactorU
2. Overseeing the design and development team.
A great product manager can oversee the design and the development team. They should be prioritizing tasks and managing the daily communication with the designers and developers. This is very helpful as you will only have to discuss higher-level product decisions with the product manager and they can handle the execution.--Randy Rayess, VenturePact
3. Running the day-to-day.
There comes a point where you as the CEO should only deal with big-picture, high-visibility tasks. The minutiae involved in dealing with the day-to-day product operations should be delegated to a product manager, and (s)he should be able to produce brief but high-quality, detailed reports for you such that the data are easy to read and analyze.--Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
4. Understanding the gap between company goals and functionality.
Hiring a product manager recently saved my sanity! My product guy is my translator from business to engineering. He understands my business goals and then interprets what needs to happen for the engineering team. Because he should speak both CS and "human," he increases productivity by ironing out inconsistencies between the company goals and the actual software functionality.--Cooper Harris, Klickly
5. Testing your product hypotheses.
Besides managing your product roadmap, your product manager should know where your product exists in the marketplace, who your customers are, and what your metrics are at any given moment. But above all, your PM should own the experimentation process. Your product manager should be your go-to person for running experiments to validate your product hypotheses and moving your business forward.--Emerson Spartz, Spartz
6. Translating vision to reality.
For technology companies, a product manager is a strategic and "must-have" role. This person takes input from all areas of your organization--sales, customers, operations--develops a product roadmap balancing priorities and resources, and ultimately writes the detailed requirements that the engineering team can implement. As a CEO, your PM is your "go-to" for translating vision to reality. -Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot
7. Developing your product offerings.
A product manager should completely control and manage the overall development of the products and/or services that we offer. From selecting which products will go to market to choosing marketing plans to tracking sales and success rates, a product manager must follow a specific segment of our company from start to finish.--Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
8. Implementing and iterating.
A product manager should be able to take your big-picture vision and implement the necessary steps to make it a reality. That means following through with development, educating sales so they can sell the product, and giving marketing specs in plain language so they can get the word out. After release, a product manager should work on improving the product and creating new, related products. -Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com
9. Assessing market requirements.
Product managers should always start by assessing the market requirements. Understanding what customers want, and what they are willing to pay for, is the first step in preparing the product specifications. A good product manager will coordinate market research end-to-end, conduct surveys and phone calls, and engage third-party contractors as needed to conduct research on the company's behalf.--Sathvik Tantry, FormSwift