Product Portfolio Manager

What Is a Product Portfolio Manager?

A product portfolio manager (PPM) strategically oversees all of the products in a business’s portfolio and ensures alignment with the organization’s overall strategy. A PPM tells a broader solution story to the market that explains not only what each product offers, but also the combined value proposition of the entire product suite. Other responsibilities may include allocating resources for optimal ROI and identifying areas of improvement.

Product Portfolio Manager vs.Product Manager

A product manager (PM) is typically only responsible for the outcome of a specific product. A PPM, however, must ensure consistency among products and deliverables across an entire portfolio and prioritize resources for each area according to its contribution.

Here are a few notable differences between a PM and a PPM:

Product Manager
  • Often responsible for a single specific product, its features, product roadmap, and broader strategy.
  • Targeted persona is usually the product’s end-user.
  • Focuses on identifying additional features that could address the needs of a given product’s users.
Product Portfolio Manager
  • Responsible for an organization’s portfolio of products, their inter-relationships, and the portfolio’s role in the market.
  • Targeted persona tends to be a higher-level buyer, such as a C-level executive.
  • Focuses on what additional products the company might want to build to address the needs of users.

Product Coalition, the world’s largest independent product management community, explores the differences between a PM and PPM (and also how the two roles differ from a project manager and a program manager) here. In short, a PPM is responsible for “managing multiple projects or products and is more concerned with managing shared resources—including budgets and teams or facilities.” Metrics for success include “resource utilization, investment risk balancing, percentage success rate, etc.”

Learn how a software PM made the leap to managing a portfolio of products.

3 Key Skills of a PPM

To be successful in the role, a PPM should have these three essential skills:

  1. Outstanding communication skills
  2. Keen listening skills
  3. Ability to create high-level view and prioritize strategically

Why Is a PPM Important to Product Management?

As product lines expand, businesses need someone who can take a broad, strategic view of an entire product catalog. A PPM does the heavy lifting in identifying market opportunities and better ways to allocate resources.

PPMs look at the whole product portfolio and monitor the broader market at all times. They continuously evaluate all products in terms of how they perform relative to each other. The relative performance informs strategic prioritization of these products, any gaps in the portfolio representing the most viable opportunities for new markets, increased revenue, and other business objectives.

See also: Product Manager, Program Manager, Product Owner, Program Management, Product Leadership, Product Portfolio Management.

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