Day in the Life of a PM

Aug 22, 2021

7 Min Read

Because product managers are employed by many different industries and organizations, their specific duties can vary greatly.

In general terms, product managers share the following responsibilities.

  • Planning projects in collaboration with other professionals at a higher level as well as with team members.
  • Initiating a timetable and schedule for completing a project.
  • Organize the budget for each project and manage it.
  • Manage project timelines.
  • Facilitate communication between project stakeholders and other participants.
  • Motivate team members to complete all project tasks.
  • Identifying and addressing potential risks associated with a project.
  • Preparation of reports and other project documentation.

The early phases will involve ideation and user interviews to validate your ideas. Your engineering and product design counterparts help you define the MVP during the define stage. Requirements and epics will be written in this section. Next, execute your plan by ensuring that any engineering and design roadblocks are addressed. A/B tests can be conducted to assist the team in making a design decision.

How to get started

Before you start working on a project, it’s important for the Product Manager to double-check that it’s on track.

You should keep tabs on your projects on a daily basis to see how they are progressing. It’s especially important if the team is working on multiple deliverables at once.

Keep an eye on progress every morning to avoid any surprises. As a result, you will be better prepared to answer the inevitable questions that will arise during the day. Here below are the key tasks.

Communicate with team members

Daily, product managers must communicate with and check in on their team members.

Monitor the budget

To ensure that the budget is on track and that the project is on schedule, many product managers check the budget daily or every few days.

Skim through emails and messages

While daily activities will always be unpredictable, the first thing a product manager should do every day is checking his or her email and messages. Make sure there are no urgent requests or fires that need to be put out. That can act as a guideline on how the rest of the day will look. Hectic emails have a tendency to completely take over your day and shift your priorities. You can also check your email first thing in the morning, but don’t let it dictate your entire day if there are other important items you need to tackle. Knowing how to prioritize is a huge part of the job.

In addition, the Product Manager should be on the lookout for urgent requests and respond to them as quickly as possible. Both of these things happen as a result of this:

  • You won’t be the bottleneck for other projects that are waiting on your response.
  • It keeps the number of unread emails and messages to a reasonable level.

Product managers should be required to sync their work emails and calendars with an email and calendar app that is easily accessible by phone. 

Check off tasks from the daily project checklist

Every day, successful product managers ensure that all necessary tasks on their daily to-do list are checked off at the end of the day. If some didn’t make it through, that’s all right — shift them to later in the week or month.

Get to work

Get the materials you need to keep your projects moving forward. As a rule, the mornings are more structured, with activities and next steps planned out through the end of the day. Afternoons are more likely to be spent reviewing the events of the day.

In other words, you’ll be taking care of the following: 

  • Preparation for tomorrow / the rest of the week.
  • Reviewing incoming work and tasks.
  • Responding to client emails.
  • Communicating with the internal team to get things done.

Get reading

During the afternoon or at some point during the day, spend ten minutes doing research on the world and industry around you. To succeed in your role as a well knowledged product manager, you must stay abreast of industry jargon. As a result, you will be able to present new ideas to the team and to your clientele.

Meeting of the minds on engineering issues

This should be followed by a “standup” meeting between the product manager and the engineering team as part of this scrum-style agile meeting, everyone is brought together to clarify any unclear requirements or remove roadblocks.

Finalize your action plans and make decisions

You act as a liaison between the client’s team and your development team, facilitating communication. In most cases, the sole purpose of routine meetings is to provide updates on ongoing projects and to provide visibility into them. Relationship building, trust, and communication are also central to all client-facing activities.

Time management

Many professionals who are product managers either maintain a daily timesheet or have their team members fill out a timesheet each day so they can keep track of how each person’s time is being used and whether it is being used in the most efficient manner.

Monitor the health of the product

Monitoring the dashboard of metrics by the product manager will help ensure that everything is going according to plan.

Every experienced product manager should:

  • Share good news with the team and encourage the client to fill out a reference survey to monitor how well the team is doing.
  • Dig deeper into the customer’s complaints and share them with their team in order to prevent similar criticism in the future.
  • Review feature requests submitted in the form of a ticket, and update firm’s objectives and Key Results as necessary.

Bond with your team

Teams feel closer when they spend time together outside of meetings and work conversations. According to social science research, people feel more connected when they eat together. Lunch is a good opportunity to do that!

Synchronize

As a result of these regular team syncs, members of the product team are less likely to work in isolation. During this time, we also discuss our priorities and set them in motion.

Build a cohesive team

A successful product manager must be able to keep his or her team motivated and working together effectively. As part of their product management responsibilities, good product managers regularly implement team-building strategies and look for ways to keep their team motivated and inspired to complete their project tasks.

Keep standards of excellence high

Maintaining quality standards is essential to a successful project’s execution. Standard compliance and maintenance should be checked at least once a week in order to avoid oversights and substandard work.

When necessary, take corrective action

For a project to be successful from start to finish, it is important to regularly check in on its progress. Instead of waiting until the end of a project to take corrective measures, good product managers often conduct weekly analyses of the project status and make changes or resolve conflicts as soon as they occur.

Evaluate the project’s status

Weekly assessments of a project’s overall progress can help ensure that the project is successfully completed from start to finish, experts say. An effective product manager can keep an eye on each project detail, as well as the team’s contributions and productivity, using a variety of tools.

Preparation of reports and documentation

The job of a product manager includes preparing reports and documentation for each project. A product manager may update their records on a weekly basis and then compile all necessary documentation and reports quarterly or after a product launch. Budget, completed tasks, team information, and advice on how to improve in the future are common components of a project report.

Execute a risk management process

Risk management is often performed by a product manager on a quarterly basis, at the very least, for larger projects. Keep an eye on potential hazards to prevent them from occurring in the first place, and be prepared when they do.

Evaluate the customer’s level of satisfaction

To be successful, a product must be completed to the satisfaction of the customer. A product manager should check on customer satisfaction at the end of a project, or at regular intervals throughout the project, and make any necessary changes to improve customer satisfaction.

Recognize and reward performance

A product manager should recognize and reward their team’s productivity and excellence both during the course of the project and at its conclusion. As a result, team members are more likely to be motivated and inspired to do their jobs well.

Inform stakeholders about the progress of the project

Being a product manager also involves keeping stakeholders informed throughout the project’s completion. Ideally, a product manager should update stakeholders at least once every three months. For smaller projects, updates should be made more frequently, such as every week or every two weeks.

User Survey

Customers should be interviewed frequently by the product manager, not only to maintain our relationship but also to get their feedback on our product.

This is usually followed by a debriefing with a coworker to discuss what went well and what lessons were learned from the conversation with the user. After each interview, the product manager should send a thank-you note, along with any follow-up information the customer may have been interested in receiving.

Cross-functional collaboration

A product manager should meet with the cross-functional teams on an individual basis at times. Included in these conversations are staff from the following departments: design; sales; business operations; release management; and marketing.

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