Microsoft created the “modern” role of product manager 25 years ago, and the job holds an aura of myth even today. Two-and-a-half decades later, the role of product manager is still misunderstood and ill-defined, and the most important qualities in a product manager are often overlooked. As a result, startups are missing out on valuable opportunities to improve their product, teamwork, and efficiency, not to mention chances of success.
Large Silicon Valley companies, such as Google, Facebook, eBay, and Yahoo, have standardized the function of a product manager, but many mid-sized and younger tech companies continue to churn out one-dimensional product managers that primarily exist to fill gaps within the company. Without the proper experience and training, many of these brilliant “PMs” become one-trick ponies. They are either a design/UX maestro or an expert project planner or a user acquisition guru, or maybe even someone whose main job is keeping engineers motivated with Redbull and pizza.