This question is pretty hard to answer – it really depends on their role within the company, the team, their experience, the product and of course where the product is in its lifestyle.
At a very high level, I agree with this quote, a PMs primary responsibility is to
Help your team (and company) ship the right product to your users
Another similar quote that I like is
A PM is responsive for articulating what a winning product looks like, rallying the team to build it & iterating until they get it right!
That might not always be true, again depending on the situation and role within the company, for example, associate PMs and Senior PMs will likely have very different responsibilities.
Job titles aside, if we just take a look at job ad for a PM that I read a while ago, it had a list of things a they would be responsible for which included:
- Understand the business strategy and deliver product to achieve it
- Manage the roadmap: capture work from a wide range of inputs, understand and prioritise this work so your team is always working on the most impactful projects
- Deeply know the problems that you’re tackling through research and regular interaction with customers; define and frame those problems for the team
- Collaborate with your team in thinking big, to imagining future solutions that solve these problems
- Scope these solutions to their smallest coherent state to ship to customers as early as you can
- Constantly evaluate if your solutions have solved the problem through quantitative and qualitative measures, both in beta’s and after full release.
- Own and maintain the quality of the product areas your team are responsible for; deliver world-class software in every release.
- Motivate a group of committed, smart people to do the best work of their careers
A blog post I stumbled across mentioned PM’s are responsible for
- Conceiving and appraising new ideas
- Planning the design and development of new products or features
- Working with teams to develop new products or features
- Accepting new products or features
- Launching new products and features in market
- Managing and optimising existing products
- Withdrawing existing products from market
Another post mentions
Product managers are responsible for guiding the success of a product and leading the cross-functional team that is responsible for improving it.
The product manager is the person responsible for defining the why, when, and what of the product that the engineering team builds. This means they lead cross-functional teams from a product’s conception all the way through to its launch.
The post goes on to say that the responsibilities include
- Strategy: The product manager is responsible for setting a product vision and strategy. Their job is to clearly articulate the business value to the product team so they understand the intent behind the new product or product release.
- Releases: Product managers must plan what their teams will deliver and the timeline for implementation
- Ideation: Product managers own the creative process of generating, developing, and curating new ideas.
- Features: The product manager priorities features by ranking them against the strategic goals and initiatives.
Oh and here’s a relevant quote from Marty Cagan.
Product manager’s job is to understand and balance the many, often competing, needs of users and customers, sales, marketing, finance, customer success, legal, business development, engineering, design, and more.
So as you can see, it’s a hard question to answer, but hopefully this post is helpful!