The role of a product manager is challenging, complex and often misunderstood.

Across the high-tech industry, the "product manager" title is used in many ways to describe drastically different duties and responsibilities. Diverse interpretations regarding the role of the product manager have created an untenable situation for some, who therefore struggle to define their own role.

Properly defining and structuring the roles and responsibilities of the product management team would enable the team members to be more efficient and productive, leading to better revenues and higher-quality products that meet customer needs.

This article explores the challenges faced by modern high-tech product managers and proposes a solution to formalize and structure the responsibilities and makeup of the product management team.

What's Your Role?

Job titles are important, and the role one plays in an organization is often identified by one's job title. But often this is not the case in the world of product management. The myriad interpretations of product management job titles, especially the product manager title, make it very difficult to ascertain what roles and responsibilities are associated with a specific product management job title.

Ask several product managers what their responsibilities are, and you will get a variety of answers and descriptions. Even if working in the same company and department, they may provide very different perspectives on their position.

Most people accept that "product management" is a term used to describe the sum of diverse activities performed in the interest of delivering a particular product to market. Such a broad definition, used by many companies today, is the root of much grief because it dilutes the professional focus necessary to achieve successful results and allows virtually any product-related task to be assigned to the product manager.

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Gabriel Steinhardt is a principal with Blackblot. For more information, visit