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Strategic Product Management – Job Responsibilities or End Results?

By John Mansour

Is your reference to “strategic product management” more about job responsibilities considered to be strategic or product initiatives that produce results with strategic impact?

I ask the question because product managers almost always refer to strategic product management as job responsibilities considered to be more strategic than tactical. But when I listen to executives, their definition of strategic product management is almost exclusively discussed in terms of end results or impact. Strategic as it appears on most job descriptions is somewhere in the middle.

I use the following two guidelines as it relates to strategic product management:

  1. Product initiatives are strategic if they advance the strategic initiatives of your target customers. If they have that kind of impact, they’re strategic to your organization because of they’re  high value to one or more defined market segments.
  2. Strategic product management isn’t about the management of products or skills of individuals who manage products. It’s an organizational discipline that’s consistently capable of uncovering and solving bigger problems than the competition in a simple, clear and differentiating manner to establish and maintain a market leadership position.

Both of the above guidelines eventually come back to the makeup of your product management discipline. But it’s less about the skills of the individuals on the team and more about structuring your team around the skills you have to consistently produce results with strategic value to the organization.

Does your organization define strategic product management in context of job responsibilities or results? Why?


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About the author

John Mansour is a 20-year veteran in high technology product management, marketing and sales, and the Founder of Proficientz, a services company focusing on product portfolio management.