March 02, 2023
Product Development Manager as Your Chance to Succeed in 2023
Wonder how to create a successful digital product? First, consider consumer needs and current market offers to choose crucial features. Otherwise, you may end up in the 21% of businesses whose products do not satisfy consumers. Also, you should control each stage of the development process and check the quality of the intermediate product. It looks overwhelming unless you hire an experienced product development manager (PDM).
PDM links developers, top management, and customers. This expert effectively guides the team, monitors the budget and deadlines, draws up documentation, solves issues, and offers the most optimal solution.
In this guide, we will explain how a product development manager can help your product and what to consider when looking for the right expert. We will also illustrate our cases for ProCredit Bank and DTEK, showing how competent development management drives impressive results.
What Is a Product Development Manager?
PDM monitors all stages of the software product development life cycle, from idea building to product launch and improvement.
A product development manager differs from a product manager, although they work in the same area.
- The product manager focuses more on the consumer’s needs and the product, considering what to improve or modify.
- The product development manager handles concept creation, workflow planning, and guiding problem-solving.
Often PDM is a software engineer, QA Engineer or UX Designer, revealing new opportunities for developing a product or improving the existing one. He is responsible for the time frame and the cost of developing or finalizing the product.
PDMs analyze market trends, consumer needs, and existing developments. Managers are responsible for the time frame and the cost of developing or finalizing the product. Also, they observe quality testing to ensure the final user is satisfied.
The role of PDM has recently been growing because companies want to simplify the product development process and release it to the market faster.
What Does a Product Development Manager Do?
A PDM is good at leading the team, supervising, motivating, and helping to overcome difficulties. And here are the key product development manager responsibilities:
The development process of any product begins with the identification of new opportunities. However, there is always a risk that fresh competitors' solutions will make your software outdated. Therefore, saving and increasing the market share is only possible by anticipating trends and competing with yourself.
The product development manager understands how to improve an existing product or create a new one. To do this, the expert attends specialized events, reads reports from reputable sources, and conducts market research to determine consumers' explicit and hidden needs.
Creating Product Plans, Roadmaps, and Strategies
Creating product plans, roadmaps, and strategies provide the foundation for product development efforts and guide the team in the right direction:
- The product plan includes product development details such as timeline, budget, specific goals and objectives, and resource allocation.
- A roadmap provides a timeline of key milestones and development deliverables. These documents are crucial for senior management, investors, and clients.
- The product strategy defines the product direction and covers positioning, pricing, key features, and promotion. It considers the market situation, the client's needs, and competitors' offers.
The product development manager takes part in creating these documents, working closely with senior management and all involved teams.
Product Development Management
Product development project management covers all phases of its creation, including design, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing. To ensure the success of the project, PDM:
- Manages the project team, including assigning tasks, tracking progress, and resolving conflicts.
- Communicates with stakeholders such as senior management, suppliers, customers, and anyone who needs to be aware of the project's progress
- Manages potential risks and develops a problem-solving plan
- Monitors the project progress, tracking milestones and goals compliance
- Controls the project budget
Product Quality Assurance
The development manager ensures that the quality of the product will be at a high level using:
- Quality standards, including design specifications, performance requirements, and safety recommendations
- Testing protocols such as performance, convenience, and stress testing
- Test results analysis with a subsequent solution for identified problems
- Audits reviewing design documentation, manufacturing processes, and testing procedures
- Gathering feedback from customers and other stakeholders to identify areas for improvement
The responsibility for the product launch lies on the shoulders of the development manager. At this stage, PDM works closely with:
- Marketing team — to develop an effective plan for attracting the target audience, creating interest in the product, and informing about its key features
- Sales department — to train and support sales managers so that they can answer any question and close prospects' objections
Product Performance Monitoring
The product development manager role continues even after the software launch, as it is vital to monitor its performance. The manager collects customer feedback through surveys and face-to-face communication to keep track of issues.
After receiving feedback, getting together with the team and finding ways to solve these problems is essential. For example, the PDM may explore similar market solutions or experiment with product improvements.
How To Find a Perfect Product Development Manager?
Hiring a great product development manager is critical for product success. Here are some tips to help you hire the right candidate:
1. Analyze the Experience
The best choice is a candidate who already has product development experience in your industry and who can manage cross-functional teams.
2. Appreciate Skills
Your product development manager job description should contain the required skills such as:
- Leadership. The PDM must be able to set clear goals, delegate tasks, motivate the team, make difficult decisions, and resolve conflicts diplomatically.
- Problem-solving. Good PDM should quickly identify a problem, develop a solution, and successfully implement it. It is also necessary to ensure that each project is completed on time and within budget.
- Strategic thinking. A manager with a strategic vision makes decisions that help achieve the company's goals. To do this, the specialist constantly explores the market and the competitive environment, identifying opportunities and threats.
- Communication skills. You need a manager who effectively communicates with the team, stakeholders, and clients, understanding their needs and sharing the vision.
- Passion for product development. The passion for innovation motivates a manager to identify customer needs, develop new products, and bring them to market successfully. Also, it may captivate the rest of the team members, which positively affects your company's growth.
- Market knowledge. A good PDM should deeply understand your market, keep abreast of the latest industry trends and solutions, and understand the consumer's desires.
- Commercial acumen. Manager product development includes proper product evaluation, selection of an effective marketing strategy, carefully organized sales, and after-sales customer support.
- Technical skills. To lead a team of engineers and technicians, a PDM must have an advanced understanding of engineering principles and be proficient in using product development tools and processes.
3. Check Recommendations
Always check references to be sure of the candidate's experience, soft and hard skills, and work ethic.
4. Make Sure the Values Match
A product development manager should fit in with your company culture and share your mission, goals, and values.
5. Use a Structured Interview
Ask behavioral, technical, and situational questions to assess a candidate's skills and experience.
6. Offer Competitive Terms
To attract the best PDM candidates, offer a competitive compensation package with a high salary, insurance, benefits, and other stimuli.
Where to Find a Product Development Manager?
There are several places where you can find your perfect product development manager:
Contact professional associations such as the Manufacturing Excellence Association (AME) or the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) and post jobs there.
Contact a recruiting firm specializing in product development to find the right manager with relevant skills and experience.
Many IT companies, including Artkai, provide extended team services. You will be able to replenish your team with a qualified product development manager, as well as other specialists.
It is much cheaper and more convenient than hiring an in-house specialist as you do not have to deal with the administrative hassle, train the manager and provide them with a compensation package.
LinkedIn will help you find PDMs based on their skills, job titles, or the companies where they work. Also, you can join groups related to a job posting or product development.
Post job openings for Product Development Managers on platforms such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster.
Ask your employees and partners if they know of a suitable specialist looking for a new project. Often, personal recommendations help find the necessary personnel.
Artkai's Expertise in Product Development Management
Artkai is a conduit for digital innovation across a wide range of industries. Our team has extensive experience in developing software from scratch with competent product development management at every stage:
- At the discovery stage, PDM dives into your company and industry. The specialist studies the market, competitors, and the consumer, draws up a customer journey map, and determines essential features that accurately cover the client's needs.
- At the design stage, the manager oversees the development and visualization of the concept. We create information architecture, map the customer journey, and create sketches and prototypes. We test UI/UX design until we get the most convenient and attractive option.
- At the build & maintenance stage, we develop the front-end and back-end when PDM controls compliance with deadlines and budget. Once the code is complete, we test the product for usability, functionality, performance, speed, reliability, security, and others to ensure its quality.
Let's look at case studies that prove our experience in product development management:
Digital Transformation for Energy Sector Enterprise
DTEK is a Ukrainian electricity distribution system operator. The company asked Artkai to create a flexible digital platform for informing consumers, managing their accounts, and quickly paying for services.
Thanks to competent product development management, we reached all the goals:
- Built a multifunctional portal considering the needs of different age groups of consumers
- Improved the quality of customer experience and reduced the support center load
- Optimized operations by lowering transaction costs and bureaucracy
- Met high requirements for system security and reliability, allowing to serve up to 1 million users per day
As a result, our solution increased the customer satisfaction score (CSAT) by 1.5 times and reduced the number of calls to the support service by three times. Also, the company noticed a boost in the number of contracts for electricity consumption.
Internet banking program for ProCredit Georgia
The client wanted to create a mobile banking app and improve the site to relieve physical branches and provide customers with quality financial advice.
To develop software, we paid particular attention to interaction with employees and consumers to consider their wishes as much as possible:
- Interviewed employees to learn the company goals and priorities
- Provided 21 in-depth interviews with bank clients to understand the client journey, priorities, pain points, and decision-making process
- Conducted nine usability tests to create a loan application and track progress
The created solution made it possible to digitalize 99% of services, speed up the entrance to the application by two times, and reduce the time for transferring funds by 1.5 times.
Hiring a product development manager will help you control all production stages, manage risks and improve collaboration across departments. A company can stay competitive and grow its market share by providing strategic vision, market research and analysis, and innovation. Also, you can bring your product to market faster and more efficiently.
Finding a qualified PDM can be challenging as you must consider their soft and hard skills, work experience, industry understanding, and other vital factors. And here we have something to offer you.
Artkai is a company that provides the development of software products of any complexity, from web and mobile applications to enterprise solutions, such as CRM, ERP, FMS, etc. We pay special attention to market research and software testing to ensure high quality and meet the target audience's needs.
Contact us to develop a quality product under the guidance of an experienced manager or hire such a specialist in your in-house team.
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