Data product managers haven’t been around for very long, but they are a special kind of managers. We still hear and use “product manager” more often, but the role has evolved over the years. Because of the massive changes in the tech and business landscapes, product managers deal with more information than they used to. Sometimes people say “product manager” when they talk about “data product manager” without really knowing the difference. So what’s the distinction? Data.
What is a product manager?
The product manager is the product expert. Everything from ideation and research to design and performance analysis is all part of the job. Product management means being a jack of all trades and managing every stage of the product life cycle. That means any and all details about the product are the product manager’s responsibility. Additionally, product managers must also be able to clearly communicate the product internally and to customers. And if all goes well, you’ll have a successful product launch.
What makes a data product manager different?
Think of it this way: All data product managers are product managers, but not all product managers are data product managers. Both roles require market research and testing viability, developing strategies, and product development, almost everything a general product manager does. But the data product manager does something the general product manager does not. The key difference is the use of data.
From the beginning, data is the foundation, product, and the goal. A data product manager delves deeper into big data, using algorithms and statistics to produce a final product and then analyze the data produced by the product. The position combines many roles but doesn’t favor any single one. Programming, designing, engineering, and other skills are all encompassed into this manager role. It’s this combination that produces an expert manager who can handle every stage of development.
Data related skills like algorithms, machine learning, and UI/UX are skills not used with simple products but are a must for data products. This is what makes the data product manager such a desirable and necessary employee.
The future of data product managers
Digital data isn’t going away anytime soon (or ever, probably). And the role of data product managers will only continue to grow. Remember, data is the currency in today’s tech scene, so it makes sense that the data product manager is rising and why you should know just how important it is. So treasure your data product managers. Because they’re special.