Building Successful Product Management Teams

I just had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine about the various activities product management performs within companies. He was fairly new to product management and was only ever exposed to the technical side of product management. Product Managers go about their daily, weekly, monthly activities – which are primarily in the tactical space … requirements gathering & documentation; working with the dev and sales teams; creating collateral; etc.; etc. Occasionally Product Managers get the opportunity to lift their heads into the strategical space and perform activities such market analysis; competitive analysis; etc. But by and large their focus is on the tactical activities.

But how do product managers determine what it is they need to do and when? How do they know when to go deep and when to pull back? People in charge of product management – typically directors – see product management from a different lens. They define what their product management team does, when they do it and why they do it. In other words one of the main responsibilities they have is the definition, implementation and training of the process within which the team operates. This typically takes anywhere from 30% to 35% of their time. The other responsibilities that they have is people and team management (typically 10% to 15%) and product strategy (typically 50% to 60%). Team management includes such tasks as mentoring / coaching; objective setting; performance reviews and product strategy is about the long term health of the product (i.e. strategy, roadmapping, prioritization, etc.).

As a director or someone in charge of a product management team are you slicing your time like this? Is something differently working for you?