The Position: The Software Product Manager is responsible for the vision and profitability of a product line. Product Managers work closely with various teams to make business decisions and create product strategies that ensure the company’s long term sustainability. In the execution of these strategies Product Managers work with XAP departments to ensure corporate goals are met on time and on budget while client and market needs are met.
The Product Manager works with the Technology, Sales, and Client Services teams to build and enhance products from existing ideas, and help develop new concepts based on industry research and the needs of customers and prospects. A Product Manager possesses a unique blend of business and technical savvy, a big-picture vision, and the drive to make that vision a reality. A Product Manager conducts market research including working in the field to understand target audience needs and issues, and find innovative solutions for existing and new market segments. The Product Manager will stay on top of current trends and develop long term plans for the success of the product line.
The Product Manager is the champion for the product and must communicate with all areas of the company. He or she will work with Business Analysts and Engineering to define product requirements. The Product Manager will work with Sales and Marketing Support to define the go-to-market strategy, helping them understand the product positioning, key benefits, and target customers. The Product Manager will also serve as the internal and external subject matter expert for product offerings, working with the sales channel and key clients. The Product Manager is also responsible for the financial sustainability of the product, creating and updating profit and loss documents.
The Responsibilities: The Product Manager is responsible for all aspects of a product line including the coordination of activities across various departments. This extends from deepening the profitability and penetration of existing products to developing new products for the company. Specific responsibilities in this role include:
- Managing the product line life cycle from strategic planning to tactical activities.
- Specifying market requirements for current and future products by conducting market research using multiple channels supported by on-going calls and visits to customers and prospects.
- Prepare, maintain, and evangelize the product roadmap which defines product enhancements for short- and long-term releases.
- Developing and implementing a company-wide go-to-market plan, overseeing interdepartmental activities to execute plans.
- Analyzing potential partner relationships for the product.
- Define feature roadmap for XAP’s products based on business opportunities and market research.
- Propose an overall product budget to ensure success.
- Monitor and set prices on products in product line to meet revenue and profitability goals.
- Work with sales management and other contributors to evaluate and prioritize opportunities and develop strategy.
- Create feature descriptions to provide guidance to Business Analysts and contribute and approve the product-related Business Requirements Documents.
- Validate detailed specifications and development costing versus market potential and future predictable revenue.
- Become subject matter experts in product’s markets and provide vision and leadership to technology R&D efforts.
- Responsible for product launch and release plans. Coordinates internal and external product launches working with Marketing Support and Training teams.
- Help develop and deploy key market messages and communication strategies for the product line with Marketing Support team. (Including Release Notes, demonstrations, and Improvement Reports.)
- Collaborate with technology to create strategies by which technology will be developed or adapted to meet market needs and leverage opportunities. (e.g., Buy/Build decisions)
- Monitor and analyze new technologies and inform company of their potential applications to our business. Conduct and lead forward looking research studies.
- Develop and when necessary deliver concise and meaningful presentations for internal and external audiences, including education and training of sales staff, training of support groups, train the trainer programs, and presentations at symposia, trade shows, and key customer accounts.
- Act as liaison between Sales, Client Services, Marketing Support, and Technology teams to support product positioning and customer demand as part of new product development.
- Work with Training team to develop product training plan internally and externally.
- Consult with Client Services team to ensure appropriate service levels for the product line.
- Act as a product champion within the company.
- Create and maintain profit and loss documentation for products and services.
- Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work experience combined with some postsecondary education.
- Product Management certification a plus.
- Project Management certification a plus.
Experience: A Product Manager possesses a minimum of three years experience in Product Management, ideally with a deep understanding of the education industry. The following experience is also beneficial:
- Computer-literate in Windows, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project.
- Complete knowledge of SDLC.
- Demonstrated success defining, launching, and maintaining excellent products.
- Knowledgeable on use of computer technology in the education market.
- Basic knowledge of web development platforms, databases and infrastructure.
- Corporate CRM experience a plus.
Qualities and Attributes: A Product Manager has exemplary people and communications skills coupled with the savvy and maturity needed to garner the respect of senior management and clients. Additionally, the professional is a self-starter who goes above and beyond the expected requirements of the role. He/she is highly adept at building mutually beneficial relationships that result in value, benefit, and revenue growth for XAP. Further qualities and attributes that aid in the success of this role are:
- Work well under pressure and be able to prioritize to meet deadlines and quickly shift priorities as necessary.
- Ability to multi-task, work independently and demonstrate keen attention to details.
- Ability to communicate with diplomacy and tact and communicate ideas including responding to resistance and criticism.
- Ability to influence cross-functional teams without formal authority.
- Team player attitude is mandatory.
- Positive attitude and demonstrated optimism are necessary.
- Project management skills to understand project plans and aid in communication to others are beneficial.