Product Development Manager

What is a Product Development Manager?

A Product Development Manager (PDM)—often a software engineer, QA tester, or UX designer—is responsible for identifying new opportunities for developing a new marketable product from concept to distribution. They are also responsible for improving an existing product to meet customers’ needs better and invigorate a current market.

A PDM accomplishes this by accomplishing the following:

  • Conducting market research
  • Analyzing industry trends and developments
  • Working with existing customers to understand their needs better

Product Manager vs. Product Development Manager

While there is a great deal of overlap between product managers (PM) and product development managers, it’s typically a PM who first provides a PDM with a particular problem to solve. Put simply, a PM defines the problem, while a PDM defines the solution.

In the words of one product management leader:

Product management looks at ‘What problem are you solving?’ Product development solves for ‘How are you going to do it?’”

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Key Skills for Success

A day in the life of a product development manager involves managing and coordinating product development projects by focusing on technical feasibility, design optimization, and production issues.

Throughout opportunity exploration and product development, a PDM will generate product requirements, determine specifications and pricing, and develop marketing strategies.

The role of a product development manager also involves working effectively with other departments like marketing, engineering, and manufacturing throughout the product development process. Together, they work to develop a new product’s design and vendor strategy.

To do all of this successfully, the following critical skills come in very handy.

product-development-manager

You can also nurture any parts of this powerful triad that don’t come naturally.

In order to recognize the right opportunity to develop a product that will delight customers and succeed in the market, an effective PDM must have extensive knowledge of the entire product development cycle. They also need a keen understanding of customer needs and marketplace behavior.

Read The Anatomy of a Product Launch

Related terms: Customer Empathy/ User Research/ Technical Product Manager/ Platform Product Manager/ Product Management Talent/ Roadmap/ Project Roadmap