ResourcesBlogIn Honor of Product Management Day, Here’s a History Lesson—and an Offer You Can’t Refuse

In Honor of Product Management Day, Here’s a History Lesson—and an Offer You Can’t Refuse


The role of Product Manager is an essential one in the modern enterprise. LinkedIn rates the job as the most promising of all, and Glassdoor says it’s the fourth best job around. But where did it all begin? Where did the idea for a dedicated resource for managing projects originate? 

Back in 1931, the future president of Procter & Gamble, N.H. McElroy, wrote a memo that would change the history of Product Management. In it he defined and explored the role and responsibilities of “Brand Men” in supporting and growing a brand. 

According to McElroy, Brand Men were in charge of understanding demand for a product, creating a go-to market strategy, and briefing upper management on the plan of action. He felt that when a Brand Man would take complete responsibility for the success – or failure – of a product, his marketing department would run smoothly. This belief gave rise to what we know as the modern practice of Product Management.

But is today’s Product Manager a Brand Man (or Woman)? Let’s examine the similarities and differences between the two roles, and why a Product Manager is even more critical to brand and product success in today’s rapidly evolving business environment.

Bigger Role, More Responsibilities

Over the years, the role of Product Manager has expanded beyond Brand Man to encompass additional responsibilities. An effective Product Manager in today’s business environment must:

  • Understand the market need for products and services: First and foremost, it’s the Product Manager’s responsibility to understand and define what the market needs and what type of product or product features will solve their target audience’s problems and pain points. This process requires research and competitive analysis, reading and processing customer feedback, and identifying trends.
  • Define the product and its features: The Product Manager is heavily involved in determining what features and functionalities to focus on—a huge responsibility that can either make or break a company’s ability to generate revenue. After creating an assumption on what a product will be and how it will answer a market need, the Product Manager works closely with the Product Development team to determine what features will not only make the product differentiated and marketable, but are feasible to develop.
  • Drive product strategy and roadmap: Product Managers must create a business case that sets goals and justifies buy-in from upper management, as well as a roadmap outlining the development schedule. Once the product roadmap is approved, there’s more hard work ahead. Creating a formal launch plan and forecast, developing a pricing strategy, planning marketing and launch activities, and conducting briefings are all part of bringing the product or new feature to market.
  • Oversee development: During development, Product Managers work closely with developers and engineers, tracking the progress of new features and evaluating whether they produce the expected results. When development schedules change—as they almost always do—Product Managers act as messengers, relaying updates to other departments and revising forecasts and schedules accordingly. Following a launch (and hopefully celebrating the team’s success!), Product Managers start the process over again, tracking the market response to a product or new feature, gathering additional feedback, and fine-tuning future development plans.
  • Be data- and tech-savvy: In today’s data-driven world, Product Managers must be experts at analyzing data and gleaning actionable insights. They must also be adept at using a variety of software platforms, from Project Management tools such as Asana or Jira, to road-mapping software like ProductPlan, data analytics platforms like Google Analytics, and customer survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or TypeForm—all in addition to standard business applications, presentation software, and CRM tools.
  • Multitask all day: Product Managers must be master multitaskers. During a typical day, they may meet with senior management to discuss high-level business objectives, present market research, answer questions about product development, or go over the product roadmap. Then, they might transition to granular discussions about certain product features with developers and engineers. After they may jump on a sales call to present the product to a prospect and convince them to buy, or review marketing materials to ensure the writers got the messaging just right.
  • Evangelize and problem-solve: Product Managers are often asked to participate in forums, webinars, events, and training sessions, as well, which require excellent communication and presentation skills—and even a bit of stage presence. They must also be skillful mediators who can problem-solve both structurally and on the fly and make sure the needs of various teams within their organization are met.

With so much on their plates, Product Managers are far busier than the Brand Men of yesterday – and much more critical to a product’s success. To arm themselves with the skills and knowledge necessary for juggling their many responsibilities, formal training is essential. 

Celebrating Product Management Day 

280 Group has been at the forefront of the continued evolution of the Product Manager role for two decades. We partner with enterprises and individuals to advance the role of Product Management and maximize the positive impact Product Managers have on the success of an organization and its products. product and organizational success. 

To that end, we’re celebrating Product Management Day with an offer you can’t refuse! If you sign up online for any of 280 Group’s Product Management courses or toolkits between May 12-23, 2022, you’ll receive 15% off the retail price!* 

280 Group’s extensive list of courses help you build the full spectrum of skills and knowledge required to be a successful Product Manager, from core skills to cutting-edge Product Management techniques, Agile development, and using data analytics to drive better business outcomes. Our instructors bring in-depth and real-world Product Management experience to their teachings, along with a passion for teaching others to succeed in the field. They’ve worked at market-leading organizations such as Apple, Amazon, Intuit, and Microsoft as well as many successful startups, which means you’ll benefit from their unmatched technical and business expertise.

Matthew Caleb Madison
May 13, 2022