Product Managers are the central lifeblood of the technology firm regardless of what category of product is being sold. It is an unfortunate reality that the role itself should be retired. Why? Simply it is about the product, not the customer requirements. The role is designed to manage and shift product regardless of claims to customer centricity. Ask any product manager what they sell and they will give you a deeply detailed rundown of the features, form and acquisition of the product. As an analyst, I meet with several product managers a week. I have been increasingly frustrated in recent years as it is clear that they all have the same failure. Selling product, not outcomes. This has to end.
Meet the Outcome Manager
The switch to outcome manager is essential and needs to happen now. What outcomes are you providing the client? Which product provides the outcome it is less relevant than business success. The product design and capability is not what should be sold nor bought. The business benefit is all that matters
Don’t think that it is enough to just change the title. The mentality and functionality have to change. You have to understand how the product is being used, what is the measurement of success, what are the impediments, you then need to be able to articulate this in business language, not product or technology.
Instead of providing a CRM platform, you enable a client to communicate with verified prospects today, leading to accelerated sales. At the same time, the customer has to understand that instead of asking for a CRM platform, they need to understand their business requirements and outcomes. It is simple to say of course, but the history of the product manager means that it may become more difficult to migrate.
It is more than worth noting that the redundancy of the Product Manager is not just restricted to those firms that have struggled with the technology transition of the past few years. Some of the leading SaaS and IaaS vendors have caught the trap of the product manager even with the capability and brand acceptance to most readily provide outcomes to clients.
The redundancy of the Product Manager reflects the issues and challenges when IT meets business. It has to change, and even simple mind shifts such as the concept of the Outcomes Manager is a shift in the future required direction. It is an example when a simple name can actually transform and make a difference.