Product management and product development is a complicated job that requires many skills and tools. The job has a few roles and responsibilities that stay constant, while some duties change according to the industry, company, and product. Among them, a senior product manager is usually on the front lines for all product-related processes and tasks.
The senior product manager job title can mean a number of things in different industries and companies. Some companies may assign them the tasks of a product manager, while in other cases, senior product managers are at the top of the hierarchy.
In this article, we’ll dive into what senior product managers do, their job description, and their roles & responsibilities.
Let's take a look.
What Does a Senior Product Manager Do?
Senior product managers lead product managers while coordinating with engineering, marketing, sales, and other teams. They develop the product requirements and roadmaps, as well as incorporate feedback from customers into the product strategy.
They usually work alongside senior technical product managers, senior product marketing managers, the director of product management, senior project managers, and other senior managers. The Sr. product manager employees consist of product managers, engineering managers, product marketing experts, design experts, associate product managers, software engineers, financial analysts, and an entire product team.
Furthermore, senior product managers are responsible for product promotion. They usually develop a long-term vision and strategy for the products. From there, they communicate this strategy with all the stakeholders.
Senior product managers need a thorough understanding of product management experience, project management, product marketing, tech, and finances. They need to be able to do custom market research, develop budgets, and collaborate with several parties simultaneously.
The sheer number of roles senior product managers have to fulfill justifies the senior product manager salary. However, the national average salary is often overstated in the US because of a few internet-based, SaaS, and eCommerce companies. Giants such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook (with massive company sizes) have an enormous base salary and total compensation packages. As a result, you’ll find that a senior product manager makes the most money in cities such as San Francisco and New York, where most large companies are headquartered.
Lastly, senior product managers usually have at least five years of experience in the product industry and a Bachelor’s degree. Most of them also have several certifications from reputable sources.
Senior Product Manager Job Description
If you consider the professional development of a product manager, you’ll notice how senior product managers become what they are. The senior product manager job description has to be devised while keeping that development in mind.
Therefore, here’s what a typical senior product manager job description would look like. Keep in mind that this job description isn’t tailored toward a specific industry, rather a general senior product manager job description.
“We’re looking for a Senior Product Manager with creative skills who is detail-oriented to find patterns and issues. You’ll be overseeing the development process, cooperating with design teams, operation managers, finance teams, and engineering managers.
As the senior product manager, you’ll work on product plans, project plans, and project development concepts. You’ll be developing a business strategy following the product strategy. Meanwhile, you’ll be taking care of your project management duties, which include making budgets, work plans, and ensuring departmental cooperation.
You’ll also be ensuring that product lifecycle deadlines are met, software development stages are completed on time, and will be communicating updates across all channels.
Finally, you’ll be analyzing and reporting product data for effective launches. You’ll also be making sure that all quality, usability, and reliability standards are met.
You need excellent communication skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to multitask. You should be familiar with agile methodologies and software such as Salesforce.
A Bachelor’s degree is required and additional education, certifications, and skills are welcome.”
To tailor this job description for a specific industry, company, or product, you have to include your company processes and use the appropriate terminology.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Senior Product Manager
The roles and responsibilities of a senior product manager may differ based on what industry you’re working in. While the gist of the job remains the same, there might be changes in how you do the job.
Here are the typical duties of a senior product manager. They may vary from industry to industry and company to company.
Continually Collaborate with Teams
Senior product managers usually oversee the entire product development process – everything from product ideation to product distribution. The whole process requires a lot of communication and collaboration among different departments.
The product team needs to work alongside the development team, marketing team, sales team, and even recruiters and hiring managers at times. The senior product manager is responsible for making sure all this collaboration is smooth and effective.
They often work cross-functionally with several departments. As a result, managing cross-functional teams is a significant part of a senior product manager’s job.
Senior product managers need to develop strong relationships with all these teams, and even third parties in some cases. They need to be able to handle and manage all stakeholders to make sure all product activities and development are on track.
Handling the Product Line Lifecycle
As a senior product manager, you have to oversee every step of the product line lifecycle. That includes product ideation, strategic planning, tactical initiatives, product vision, product strategy, product roadmap, product development, and product distribution.
The senior product manager has to provide some sort of input and approval at every single stage. For example, at the start, they need to specify the market requirements with respect to the product using market research. During the product development stage, they have to make sure all resources and tools are available for effective development. At every stage, senior product managers have to collaborate with all parties to make sure everything is staying on track.
Usually, their duties are the same, whether it’s an existing product or new products. In any case, customer interactions and the user experience help senior product managers make more effective decisions throughout the product line lifecycle.
Managing the Product Analysis and the Market Analysis
A considerable part of a senior product manager’s job is to perform and analyze the market and strategies related to the product. Therefore, they regularly conduct pricing, competitive, and profitability analyses.
These analyses help devise new business and product strategies to improve the product’s market position. It also helps improve quality, beat the competition, and help with cost reduction in some cases.
The research also helps other departments, such as the product line departments, manage their product lines. The real-time data helps them execute their duties better and more accurately.
Furthermore, working alongside a product marketing manager during these analyses helps the product marketing department. Alternatively, data gathered by the product marketing team supports the senior product manager in his or her analyses.
Creating a Product Strategy
While the entire product team handles the development of the product strategy, the senior product manager has the final say.
The senior product manager has to bring together the team that will help develop the strategy. They round up the product owner, product managers, product marketers, and any other product people.
While the product team works, the senior product manager uses their interdepartmental relationships to influence all the stakeholders into accepting the product strategy.
They also have to convince the Director of Product Management and the Head of Product Management that the strategy is acceptable. The complex part of this task is proving the product strategy aligns with the goals and vision of the company.
Furthermore, the senior product manager also has to develop a company-wide market plan for the product. That usually involves working with multiple departments at the same time, therefore, requiring excellent collaboration and communication skills.
Handling the Recruitment
Another major part of a senior product manager’s job is to interview, onboard, and train new product employees. They might also get involved in planning, directing, and delegating tasks for some of the employees.
As a result, they’re also responsible for performance appraisals, problem resolution, and rewarding employees.
Senior product managers assist the human resources department with hiring new product people by providing insights. Furthermore, they may also have to report any issues or problems among the management people to the appropriate HR people.
Other Roles and Responsibilities
Senior product managers may have more roles and responsibilities depending on the industry or company they work with. They may be responsible for product promotion, pushing sales, and may even work on core product functionalities.
At times, senior product managers attend tradeshows to represent the product or business they’re associated with.
All in all, depending on the company, industry, product, and other factors, there may be some minor changes in the senior product manager’s roles and responsibilities.
Becoming a Senior Product Manager
The product management field requires a lot of experience, knowledge, and drive. Becoming a senior product manager may take years without the right set of skills and knowledge.
However, the first step to becoming an excellent senior product manager is to understand their roles and responsibilities. While those responsibilities may be subject to change, having a general idea of them is enough.
As a recruiter, you need to make sure you get the senior product manager job description right. Tailor it to your industry, company, and product so candidates can understand the exact requirements of the job.
If you are new to product management and are looking to break into your first product role, we recommend taking our One Week PM course, where you will learn fundamentals of product management, launch your own product, and get on the fast track towards landing your first product job.