Have you ever revealed your profession to someone just to get their puzzled expression in return? Product management is a relatively new discipline. The generation before our parents didn’t even think about it. A typical non-techie is completely unaware of its significance. What led to the creation of the position of product management? Is it something that has always existed, but in various forms? Understanding the origins of your job would be beneficial for product managers. Then, at the gatherings, we can assist in providing answers to the questions that are often asked.
Many product managers, both new who pursue product management certification online and seasoned who are working in companies, are curious about the origins of the position and the reasons for its seeming high degree of overlap with other positions like marketing and user experience. Although there is no proven record of product management, it is often helpful to reflect on our beginnings and comprehend how the position developed through time. It is useful for understanding the organizational trade-offs that occur when our skills and thoughts grow.
Where And When Did The Term Product Management Evolve?
Procter & Gamble was where modern product management first began in 1931. It began as an excuse to recruit additional personnel but evolved into a pillar of contemporary brand management theory, and eventually, product management. What they outlined was a clear and comprehensive explanation of “Brand Men” and their complete accountability for a brand, including overseeing the product, marketing, and promotions in addition to monitoring sales. They specifically said that comprehensive field testing and customer engagement were the best ways to do this.
Just-in-time manufacturing was created in Japan after the war as a result of shortages and cash flow issues. Over 30 years of continuous improvement, the Toyota Manufacturing System and the Toyota Way were created, with an emphasis not only on reducing waste in the process but also on two key ideas that every contemporary product manager would be familiar with: Kaizen, which stands for continually improving a firm while fostering innovation and evolution, and Genchi Genbutsu, which means to seek out the truth to make the right choices.
Hewlett-Packard was among the first to appreciate and embrace just-in-time production when it arrived in the west. Alumni from HP transferred this new style of thinking which is centred on the customer, brand identity, and lean manufacturing to their subsequent employment, swiftly contaminating the expanding industry with the same mindset. From then, it expanded to every hardware and software business, creating the widespread movement that we are familiar with and adore today.
How Product Management Entered the IT and Tech Industry?
A large portion of today’s FMCG product managers, as well as the initial product managers, were integral parts of the marketing department. They concentrated on the process of comprehending the demands of the clients and figuring out how to meet those needs by using the traditional marketing mix. Since the creation of the product was left to others, product management in FMCG gradually evolved into a marketing communications function that was concerned with finding the ideal balance of packaging, price, promotions, brand marketing, etc.
But when the position evolved into one in technology, the division from the product’s creation and development became impossible. The majority of the cutting-edge IT businesses were creating whole new markets, so their success couldn’t be just based on how those markets were packaged and priced. Due to the need to both understand the client and their demands and coordinate the creation of the product with them, Product Development was once again placed at the forefront of the Product Management job.
In many organizations today, where both departments believe they “own” the client and have a thorough awareness of the industry, this division between marketing and product management is still visible. However, in the majority of IT companies, marketing now primarily focuses on controlling the brand and customer retention, while the product is responsible for the value creation and the product’s evolution.
The importance of effective product management is growing as a long-term competitive advantage. Given that a strong product is often the easiest and most affordable way to expand, product management continues to absorb parts from marketing. As a result, many organizations have integrated user acquisition into their product strategy. It keeps incorporating aspects of user experience while separating visual design from user processes and experience.