A well-tailored Product Manager role is crucial to an organization's success. Although it sounds trivial, surprisingly many companies make mistakes in this area, often already at the stage of recruiting specialists for this position. What are the most common problems and what solution does itMatch come with? This is what you will find out in this article.
Why is the Product Manager so crucial?
The PM's role is one of the most essential for product companies. This is due to its strategic importance to the product itself - the Product Manager works in a much broader scope than the Project Manager or Product Owner. Due to the many areas covered and often very high requirements, creating the PM role and getting the right person for the position is extremely complicated.
We will meet a Product Manager literally everywhere. In many companies, his duties will include cooperation with both the research team (researchers) and developers, as well as the sales or PR department. A well-prepared PM will certainly skillfully coordinate processes and manage the product, but there is another side of this coin. During the recruitment process, you need to pay attention to the candidate's fit with the organization's culture.
What do we actually expect from our PMs?
When planning a recruitment, it is worth realizing what we expect from Product Managers. More than likely, the list will include:
- Knowledge of methodology of user expectation research and information analysis;
- Understanding of UX and product user needs;
- Technical knowledge to adapt plans to technological limitations as efficiently as possible;
- Extensive communication skills;
- Understanding of the principles guiding the market, which allows the PM to deeply analyze the competition.
Product (not always) owner
While intuition tells us that the PO sits lower in the organizational structure than the PM and operates more locally, many companies unfortunately confuse these roles when opening new positions. Of course, the boundaries and specifics of the roles depend on internal standards, and it is impossible to create a universal single recipe for a Product Manager or Product Owner, but no company operates in a vacuum, and it will be difficult to find a PO who can immediately handle all the duties of a PM.
The issue of separating PM and PO positions arises primarily in smaller companies with less extensive projects. Hiring a new manager is not only costly, but also problematic, since opening another position means having to make changes in work organization and organize recruitment, which without the involvement of a proven agency can be not only challenging, but also definitely time-consuming.
What usually goes wrong?
Based on my observations, there is quite a lot of overlap in the mistakes made by organizations. As I mentioned earlier, it is quite common for a role that largely resembles a Product Manager to be named Product Owner, making the offer go to the wrong group of candidates. Incorrect naming also makes it difficult to analyze the competition, because we are looking not exactly where we should.
Another problem is the lack of consideration for the specifics of the market in which we are moving. If an organization originates from the United States, for example, the customs it has developed may not work very well in Poland. It is also worth remembering that in Europe the role of Product Manager is relatively new, so recruitment processes in many companies are not yet adapted to local specifics.
Problems can also occur at the stage of candidate screening, which again is due to the freshness of the PM role in Poland. First of all, the role of Product Manager is very versatile, and this already makes it difficult to interview a candidate. Many organizations open recruitment for the position of Product Owner, actually looking for someone who is not one. This is due at least to the limitation of using their own experience and looking at the world through the lens of standards that have been developed internally.
This is one of the main reasons for cooperating with an external company when it comes to recruitment. Knowledge gathered about processes in other companies allows you to improve the vetting of candidates and revise the current form of the search for a future manager. It also often turns out that the criteria established at the beginning of the recruitment process turn out to be too specified, which paralyzes the recruitment, because there are too few applicants.
What should you do to make a Product Manager the envy of all your competitors?
If you are a Hiring Manager, at the very beginning of your search for a PM, it is worth defining precisely the tasks and duties that will be associated with this role. This is very important, because each organization should tailor this position to its requirements. Unfortunately, there is no universal recipe for a Product Manager.
Also make sure that this person will be responsible for overseeing the entire product lifecycle. This path will include initial planning, MVP development, as well as further development, bringing the solution to market and maintaining it to meet customer expectations.
Also pay attention to the culture of innovation. Although the PM must comply with constraints, such as technological ones, it is worth freeing his creativity and allowing him to think outside the box. Innovation will also help him to better adapt to the requirements of customers, who expect functionalities that no one originally intended.
Give yourself the opportunity to make mistakes. If you know that your organization is developing a cutting-edge and perhaps one-of-a-kind product, you need to be aware that mistakes will happen sooner or later. The Product Manager may, basing on the data collected, propose something that unexpectedly doesn't work, and in such a situation, the only thing you can do is to successfully break out of the problem. It is the PM's responsibility to deal with many people and departments, and this also carries the risk of problems - after all, in all probability this person will not be familiar with the company's culture at first, or will simply need some time to integrate with his co-workers.
How can itMatch help you?
Working with more than 50 clients, itMatch recruiters have had the opportunity to participate in numerous projects and help to create hundreds of positions. The know-how we have gathered over the years and our knowledge of the realities of the Polish labor market allow us to effectively advise on the formulation of product and project roles. Working with and educating many hiring managers, we have thoroughly understood the needs and expectations of many organizations, both small and international. Directing the search is also key - we are flexible and adapt to changes in the market.
Operating with itMatch is more than outsourcing certain tasks to a recruitment agency. When you start working with us, you get a partner who will help you implement best practices and continuously improve the effectiveness of your team. Working in an RPO model, our recruiters can keep in touch with the development team in your organization on an ongoing basis. and by researching needs and analyzing market data, we continuously improve candidate sourcing.
Is your organization in need of new product roles or looking for IT specialists? If so, itMatch will be an excellent choice. Don't wait, contact us!
Do you like our recruitment articles? Share them on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. And soon, we'll be covering more product roles!