Most of you are probably familiar with skills & expertise on LinkedIn. Among the many skills to choose from is product management. Being a product management professional, I have posted that on my profile and have been widely endorsed. But I was surprised to see that some of my colleagues who are recruiters, CFOs, VCs, sales people, etc. posted product management as one of their skills. That got me thinking, does one grasp what product management really is?
I strongly believe that Product management is not a skill, but rather a profession and as such is comprised of many skills such as: market research, market segmentation, competitive analysis, product planning, defining requirements and more to name but a few.
So why do so many other professionals list product management as one of their skills?
In my opinion it stems from not knowing what product management really is and confusing management tasks with product management.
A recruiter is managing job openings, a CFO manages the company’s finance, a VC manages investments in companies, sales people manage sales accounts, but that is not product management.
A product manager identifies needs in a market and designs* a solution (which can be a service, a product or a combination of both) to address those needs. The need is common among a particular segment of the market and the solution addresses that need.
So to all my contacts, colleagues and friends who claim to have product management skills, take a good look at your professional skills & expertise and ask yourself, does my title include the words product manager? If not, then you probably should not display that as one of your skills.
*The word design means coming up with an idea of how to address a need.