So your company is starting a journey to build custom software– great! It can be an exciting and rewarding process. As with any technology initiative, you should know the roles of each team member involved. You’re going to spend a lot of time with this team, so you should know how you’ll interact with them throughout the project.
Most software projects need a diverse set of skills throughout the development process, which may include:
- Product Managers
- Front End Developers
- Back End Developers
- UI/UX Designers
- System Analysts
An often overlooked role in the process is your product manager. In this article, we’ll walk you through what this role is for and why this expert is crucial to the success of your project.
What is a Product Manager?
By definition, a product manager (PM) guides the success of a product and leads the cross-functional team that delivers it. While they don't write the code themselves, this means they set the product strategy, roadmap, and feature definition.
The product manager is the bridge between software developers/designers and the needs of your company. Ultimately your PM ensures your business requirements are met and your users are happy. They champion important insights and feedback from all stakeholders to shape the final product.
That’s all great, but what do product managers have to do with my own technology project?
Product managers play a similar role for your own project. They oversee the development process and work directly with you the whole way. They’re responsible for translating your business needs into successful technology features.
That sounds a lot like a project manager. Is there a difference?
A project manager is the lead role for the planning, execution, and control of any type of project. In both roles, managers will define the project plan, timelines, and scope management.
Historically, project managers put most of their focus on controlling time and budget. They mainly ask questions like “did you get this done? or ”why wasn’t this completed?”. They’re not as disciplined on ensuring the technology at the end meets your needs.
Too often software products miss the mark on creating a technical solution that solves the client’s business problem at hand. It’s frustrating and often leads to failed projects that waste time and money.
To avoid this fatal misstep, keep reading to see why SPARK uses product managers to deliver successful technology projects.
The Benefits of a Product Manager for Your Technology Project
Product managers are more than project managers. Their focus is delivering a high-quality product that is usable and successful for the client. Here’s how:
Asking the Right Questions
Determining the right project scope is the foundation for any successful project. A skilled product manager asks the right questions to uncover a client’s needs. They “get in your business” and understand what’s keeping you up at night. They converse with multiple stakeholders to create a vision for your project.
Translating Business to Technical
Product managers are key in translating your business problems into technical features for their development team. Too many projects fail at this step. Development teams need a clear understanding of what they’re building for the client and why.
Read more about how a team communicates the "why" of a project can make or break a software project.
Product managers understand the “big picture” of the project. They help the development team prioritize software features that will have the most impact on your business. This ensures that the project never loses sight of its high-level goals.
How frustrating is it when a project wastes time on features you don’t care about?
Accountability and Transparency
They’re your dedicated resource focused on full transparency throughout the development process. They hold both the client and their team accountable for delivering a high-quality product on time and budget.
Product managers are crucial to your project’s success. They’re responsible for delivering a product that meets your needs exactly.
Let’s Work Together!
Are you ready to take on a new technology project? Discuss your idea with the SPARK team today. We love hearing company’s unique challenges and crafting a solution that works for them.
Not ready to talk yet? No problem! Download our eBook that walks you through how to turn your technology idea into a successful product for your team.