My sincerest apologies for the first line, but I came along different articles now, suggesting that we all need a new role: The Growth Product Manager. Why is that? Because product led companies with a growth mindset need someone taking care that the product is growing, too. Guess what? This is essentially a Product Manager’s job.
- He/She is setting everything up to build, grow and release a product.
- He/She is defining what is needed for that, so he is writing the requirements or is at least managing them.
- And he/she is communicating to the inside and outside world in a target group specific manner and with corresponding content.
Building up a Growth Product Management would be like building up an Innovation Product Management or a Idea Product Management: In times of cross-agile working methods there’s no point in separating roles in this manner. Growth Management, Idea Management, Innovation Management are skills of Product Managers and based on the actual focus and target the one or the other aspect has the biggest influence on prioritization or the work done overall.
Building up splittend roles for Product Owners, Product Managers, Growth Product Managers, and so one will stop you from growing as fast as possible. Splittend responsibilities with different targets will lead to an immense amount of unnecessary communication effort and will slow you down! Doesn’t this sound like a déjà vu for management overhead, non-agility and pointless discussions? Instead keep your products and product components small or slice them well. If you’re interested in patterns to handle Product Ownership / Management in different sized companies, you may want to read my article Who is leading the Product ?— Product Management vs Product Ownership
To be fair and to be clear: Innovation Management, Idea Management, and maybe even some kind of Growth Management are skills that are important to a company. Also there may even be the need to have an Innovation Manager in your company for example: Somebody defining how to handle innovations throughout the company. This is somebody you consult if you need help with the process or you want to learn from other innovations. The same makes sense for Idea Management.
When it comes to growth: How could you grow if it is not a commonly installed mindset in your companies DNA ? What is right is that you have to have somebody in place as the stakeholder for the growth strategy. In smaller companies or startups this will be the CEO, in bigger companies the manager you are reporting to as a Product Manager. Also you might have somebody handling the organizational development and it makes sense to keep an eye on the activities here, because for a growing product you have to develop the organization actively.
My basic arguments are of a constructive type as you can see, but still I want to counter some of the typical arguments for the need of Growth Product Management. For that I refer to an article here on medium. Most of the content in the article makes sense — except the conclusion for Growth Product Management as a separate role does not feel right based on my experience.
PMs and GPMs work toward improving the quality and performance of products, but they do so in different ways and are led by different aims. These competing priorities have the potential to cause friction, so it’s important to define the distinction between the roles.
- Combining different competing priorities is one of the main goals of Product Managers!
- Pursuing a growth strategy based on product marketing aspects is already the job of Product Management
- All the KPIs used in this article to describe what a GPM is doing are some of the KPIs a Product Manager is already using.
What is told is that Growth Product Managers are most valuable if they work on already existing products. Product Managers with no eye left for product growth is a typical pattern. But it’s cause is a misled organization.
Develop the organization and give clear growth strategies and coach all the participants! Strengthen their backs when it comes to communicating with existing customers. Please do not just throw in a new management role and hope for things to get better.