It’s 12 weeks since my first post, and my internship has come to an end. I thought I would spend my last post discussing what a product manager’s (PM) job really is, since it took me about twelve weeks to figure it out :)
In a nutshell, the PM is the internal face of a project. You promote your project to others within the company and galvanize resources to keep it going, as well as serve as a resource for others who want to know more about the project.
As an information resource, a PM will need to answer questions others have about his or her project. Are you an engineer on another team interested in integration with Gmail? Ask the Gmail PM. Are you in sales and your client wants to know when a new add-on will be released? Ask the add-on's PM. Have a question about search, but don't know who to ask? Ask a PM on search and they'll point you to the right person.
As a PM, you don't need to know every detail of every aspect of a project, but you need to have thorough knowledge of what's going on and where it lies in the development cycle. You should be able to answer any questions team members or other employees might have about your product and its status.
An ideal PM allows no roadblocks in a project's path. In a perfect world, there would be no delays in approval, nor would any team member be blocked from working further. A PM should know every step needed to take a project from design to launch and take care of everything well in advance. So it makes sense that to be a good PM, you have to be extremely organized, as well as experienced with the launch process.
Without developers, nothing would get built. Without sales, the product would never get to users. Without designers, the product would look ugly. Without PMs? Everything would proceed normally...for a while. Ultimately, it would become difficult to know what was going on across teams, to keep product vision and priorities in line, and to rally resources behind creative new product ideas.
A PM is a jack-of-all-trades, which is the entire point. To be able to talk to all kinds of different team members, from engineering to legal to user experience, understand what they're talking about, synthesize it, and mold the direction for the product accordingly is a challenging and rare skill. But someone's got to do it.
Being a PM was great. I got to work with a bunch of different teams and meet some awesome people, and see my feature on the main page of Google Search. I learned more about technology and exciting new products than I thought possible. All in all, it was a great summer.
Signing off, thanks for reading!
Editor's note: Interested in the associate product manager (APM) internship? Apply online today!
Posted by Jessica Safir, University Programs Coordinator