What to Do If You’re A Product Manager and You Want to Be an Online Rental Application Manager?

You may think you know what to do once you’ve been promoted to product manager. But just as with any other position, there are numerous paths to the job you hold. One of them may surprise you.

The Traditional Approach

If you followed the traditional approach to becoming a product manager, you may have started your professional career in one of the product development or marketing roles. Your first assignment may have been to design a business plan for a new product. From there, you may have moved on to the design of an entire product line or worked on a marketing plan for a new product. Along the way, you received training in technical skills such as:

  • market research
  • business analysis
  • product design
  • logistics
  • marketing
  • sales
  • operations
  • project management

While all of this may have helped you to become a more complete professional, it probably didn’t prepare you for what is commonly known as the entrepreneurial path to product management. As the name implies, this is a route that doesn’t require you to follow the traditional job roles listed above. Instead, you’ll be expected to jump in and take charge of existing products or departments. And because this role doesn’t follow the traditional path, it is relatively less understood and, therefore, more under-appreciated. But that shouldn’t be the case. In fact, this is a role that can play a critical part in a company’s success.

To be clear, not all products managers will be expected to hit the desk every day and manage a team of product developers. The vast majority will be well-versed in product strategy, marketing and sales. And while the specific responsibilities of a product manager may vary from company to company, you can usually expect them to include:

  • creating the product roadmap
  • managing the product development process
  • ensuring that deadlines are met
  • analyzing customer behavior and needs
  • negotiating with suppliers
  • market research
  • presenting key findings to top managers
  • creating detailed project plans
  • meeting with team members regularly
  • monitoring and maintaining project records
  • preparing project reports
  • responding to requests from higher-ups for information
  • analyzing trends and patterns in the marketplace
  • planning and coordinating events
  • liaising with various departments
  • identifying new product opportunities through market analysis
  • prioritizing and assigning initiatives
  • identifying specific goals and metrics for the product
  • contributing to budgeting and cost analysis

The Online Rental Application Manager Pathway

Now, you may be thinking that the above roles sound great. And you would be right. But just because they sound great doesn’t mean that they’re easy. In fact, applying for a job as a product manager is a whole lot harder than it seems. You’ll need to hit two birds with one stone. And because the above roles don’t necessarily prepare you for what is actually needed, you’ll have to find a way to supplement your education with real-life experience.

To get a head start, you can review the job description for a product manager and compare it to your own job description. You may find that you have some of the responsibilities listed below, while others may be slightly different. But it’s always best to tailor your skills to the specific requirements of the job.

  • Creating the Product Roadmap
  • Managing the Product Development Process
  • Ensuring that Deadlines Are Met
  • Analyzing Customer Behavior and Needs
  • Negotiating with Suppliers
  • Market Research
  • Presenting Key Findings to Top Managers
  • Creating Detailed Project Plans
  • Meeting With Team Members Regularly
  • Monitoring and Maintaining Project Records
  • Preparing Project Reports
  • Responding to Requests from Higher-Ups for Information
  • Analyzing Trends and Patterns in the Marketplace
  • Planning and Coordinating Events
  • Liaising With Various Departments
  • Identifying New Product Opportunities Through Market Analysis
  • Prioritizing and Allocating Initiatives
  • Identifying Specific Goals and Metrics for the Product
  • Contributing to Budgeting and Cost Analysis

The Hybrid Pathway

Just because the above paths don’t necessary lead you to product management doesn’t mean that you can’t mix and match the skills you learn along the way. And because life rarely follows the exact path we think it should, it’s always a good idea to be flexible. For instance, you may start out in one of the above roles, decide that you don’t enjoy the day-to-day management and go back to school to get a second degree. Or, you may decide that you enjoy the above responsibilities but don’t feel equipped to hit the ground running and decide to sit back and take a few months off before starting your new job.

While there may be many more paths to becoming a product manager, these three broad categories described above are probably the most common. And because they don’t require you to start from scratch, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of the different roles that can lead you there. Thinking about what you’ll do if you get the job can help you to become more decisive about what you need to learn and where you should apply.