Product management is a multifaceted field that has significantly evolved. Understanding the diverse types of product managers is crucial for businesses aiming to innovate and excel in today's competitive market. This overview will delve into the importance of specialized roles in product management, trace the evolution of these roles, and address the common misconception that all Product Managers (PMs) are the same.

Evolution of Product Management Roles

The journey of product management roles from generic to specialized mirrors a coming-of-age story within the industry. This transformation celebrates the diversity of skills and expertise that professionals bring to the table, encouraging them to embrace their individual strengths in areas such as data analytics, marketing, and technical prowess to drive meaningful impact and innovation.

Misconception That All Product Managers (PMs) Are the Same

Imagine walking into a grocery store and expecting every employee to be the baker, cashier, and stock person all rolled into one. That's kind of how the misconception of product managers (PMs) works! While they all share a core mission of bringing great products to life, PMs specialize in different areas to tackle specific challenges.

Here's why the "one-size-fits-all" view of PMs doesn't hold water:

  • Deep Expertise: Products are becoming increasingly complex. A PM focused on mobile development might not have the same level of expertise in building AI-powered tools. Specialized PMs dive deep into specific areas, like technical aspects, user experience, or data analysis, to bring a sharper focus to the product development process.
  • Tailored Skill Sets: Just like doctors have specializations, PMs do too. A growth PM might be a master of user acquisition strategies, while a platform PM excels at understanding the technological challenges and opportunities to enable scale for the platform.
  • Efficient Teams: By having specialized PMs, teams can operate more efficiently. Each member brings a unique skill set to the table, fostering smoother collaboration and faster product development cycles.

Essential Skills for Product Managers

Product managers do a lot of things, but there are a few aspects that are very crucial to this role. Let's understand a few of them.

Strategic Thinking:  

Imagine a product manager as a chess grandmaster. Strategic thinking allows them to envision the long-term product vision, anticipate market shifts, and define a winning course of action. It's about seeing the bigger picture and making choices that ensure the product stays relevant and successful.

Data Acumen:  

Data acumen is a critical skill for product managers, enabling them to harness data insights for informed decision-making, prioritisation, and strategy alignment. They work closely with business analysts and data scientists to collect, organize, and analyze data, enabling data-driven decision-making. Product managers with strong data acumen excel at interpreting data trends, identifying opportunities, and driving product success through evidence-based strategies.

Technical Knowhow:  

While product managers don't need to code, understanding the technical landscape is crucial. They need to speak the language of engineers, have a grasp of technical feasibility, and effectively make technical tradeoffs. Think of it as a bridge between the business world and the world of technology.

Business Acumen:  

Product managers don't operate in a vacuum. A strong understanding of business fundamentals – from market analysis to cost structures – is essential. They need to align product development with overall business goals, ensuring the product contributes to the company's success.


Not all features are created equal. Product managers with strong prioritization skills can effectively weigh the value of each feature against development effort and user needs. This ensures resources are allocated efficiently, and the product focuses on delivering the most impactful features first.

Below is the list of 5 common types of product managers you must know:

1. Technical Product Manager

The tech world runs on innovation, and Technical Product Managers are the captains of this innovative spirit. They oversee products with a strong technical backbone, ensuring they meet user needs and business goals. Technical Product Managers typically have a computer science background or significant engineering experience. They work hand-in-hand with developers, ensuring clear communication and smooth product development.

Here's a deeper dive into what a Technical Product Manager does:

  • Oversees technology-driven products: From complex software applications to cutting-edge hardware, Technical Product Managers manage the entire product lifecycle for these tech-centric offerings. They understand the technical roadmap and ensure features are built to meet user requirements.
  • Strong technical background required: Unlike some PM roles, a technical background is a must-have for Technical Product Managers. They should be comfortable with technical jargon, understand software development methodologies, and possess an appreciation for the intricacies of building tech products.
  • Collaborates closely with engineering teams: Technical Product Managers are the glue that holds the product vision and engineering execution together. They work side-by-side with developers, translating user needs into actionable technical tasks and ensuring clear communication throughout the development process.

For example:  

A Technical Product Manager at Tesla would be deeply involved in the development of their self-driving car technology. The Technical Product Manager would collaborate with engineers on features like lane-changing algorithms, obstacle detection systems, and the overall user experience within the autonomous vehicle.

2. Growth Product Manager

Imagine a product manager whose sole mission is to supercharge growth. That's the realm of the Growth Product Manager. They're laser-focused on acquiring new users and keeping them happily engaged. Growth Product Managers are masters of data analysis, wielding this power to identify growth opportunities and implement data-driven strategies.  

Here's a closer look at what Growth PMs do:

  • Focuses on user acquisition and retention: Growth isn't a one-way street. Growth Product Managers strategize to bring in new users through various channels and then implement initiatives to keep them coming back for more. They might explore marketing campaigns, refine onboarding experiences, or design loyalty programs to foster user retention.
  • Uses data-driven strategies to maximize product growth opportunities: Data is the Growth Product Manager's best friend. They leverage data to understand user behavior, track key metrics like acquisition rate, cost of acquisition, engagement, and churn rate, and identify areas for improvement. This data guides their decisions and helps them experiment with features and functionalities to optimize the product for growth.
  • Tracks user behavior and conducts market research: Growth Product Managers are keen observers of user behavior. They utilize user research techniques and analyze in-app data to understand how users interact with the product. They also conduct market research to stay ahead of industry trends and identify new user acquisition opportunities.

For example:  

A Growth PM at Spotify might discover that users acquired through influencer marketing campaigns on music streaming platforms have a higher LTV (lifetime value) compared to those acquired through traditional banner ads. This insight reveals that influencer marketing attracts users who are more likely to become long-term, engaged subscribers. Based on this data, the Growth PM could invest more in influencer partnerships, potentially expanding their reach to a wider range of music genres or collaborating with micro-influencers with highly targeted audiences.

3. AI Product Manager

The realm of artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly evolving, and AI Product Managers (AI PMs) are at the forefront of this exciting frontier. These specialized PMs oversee the development and management of products powered by AI. AI PMs navigate the complexities of AI development, ensuring these products are not only innovative but also ethical and user-friendly.

Here's a glimpse into the world of an AI Product Manager:

  • Specializes in AI-powered products: From chatbots and recommendation engines to voice assistants and self-driving cars, AI PMs manage the entire product lifecycle for AI-driven solutions. They understand the capabilities and limitations of AI and translate user needs into actionable development plans for these intelligent products.
  • Manages ethical considerations around AI: AI development raises critical questions about bias, transparency, and privacy. AI PMs play a crucial role in ensuring ethical considerations are addressed throughout the product development process. They work closely with engineers and data scientists to mitigate potential biases and promote responsible AI development.
  • Focuses on customer-centric solutions: At the heart of it all, AI products are designed to serve users. AI PMs champion a customer-centric approach, ensuring the AI solves real user problems and delivers a positive user experience.
  • Very comfortable with data and machine learning: Data is the fuel that powers AI. AI PMs need a strong understanding of data analysis and machine learning principles. This allows them to effectively collaborate with data scientists and translate user insights into actionable development strategies.

For example: 

Imagine an AI PM at Netflix. They might collaborate with data scientists to analyze viewing habits and ratings, then translate those insights into algorithms that power the "Because you watched..." recommendations. By ensuring that the recommendations are tailored, unbiased, and privacy-conscious, AI PMs contribute to creating a more personalized streaming experience for users. They'd also work on the user experience, ensuring these suggestions are presented clearly and don't lead viewers down rabbit holes of recommendations irrelevant to their tastes.

4. Platform Product Manager

Platform Product Managers are the unsung heroes of the product world. They oversee not just one product, but an entire ecosystem of interconnected offerings. That's the realm of the Platform Product Manager. They are the architects behind the scenes, crafting the technical foundation upon which multiple products thrive. They play a pivotal role in ensuring these platforms function seamlessly and unlock synergy across different products.

Here's a breakdown of what Platform Product Managers typically do:

  • Creates and optimizes technical components for multiple products: Platform Product Managers design and manage the core technical infrastructure that underpins various products within a platform. They ensure these components are robust, scalable, and meet the evolving needs of each product.
  • Focuses on cross-product synergy: A platform's true power lies in the connections between its products. Platform Product Managers champion a holistic approach, fostering seamless integration and data exchange between different offerings within the platform. This creates a more unified user experience and unlocks new possibilities for product development.
  • Handles tech stack and scalability: The technical backbone of a platform needs to be strong and adaptable. Platform Product Managers have a firm grasp of the platform's tech stack, constantly evaluating and optimizing it to ensure scalability and performance as the platform grows.

For example:  

A Platform Product Manager at a company like Google wears many hats. They might be responsible for managing the core infrastructure that powers various Google products like Gmail, Drive, and Docs. The Platform Product Manager would ensure these services integrate seamlessly, allowing users to easily switch between them and leverage data across different tools. Additionally, they would focus on optimizing the platform's tech stack to handle the massive amount of data and user traffic generated by Google's vast product ecosystem. By creating a robust and scalable platform foundation, Platform Product Managers pave the way for a more integrated and user-friendly product experience.

5. Enterprise Product Manager

Not all products cater to individual consumers. Enter the realm of the Enterprise Product Manager, who champions the development of products specifically designed for large businesses. These product managers navigate the complexities of enterprise environments, ensuring their products are not only feature-rich but also scalable, secure, and seamlessly integrated with existing enterprise systems.

Here's a glimpse into the world of an Enterprise Product Manager:

  • Tailors products for business customers: Enterprise Product Managers have a deep understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by businesses. They translate these insights into product features that enhance operational efficiency, streamline workflows, and deliver a positive return on investment (ROI) for organizations.
  • Focuses on scalability, security, and integration: Enterprise products need to handle massive amounts of data and user traffic. Enterprise Product Managers prioritize scalability to ensure their products can grow alongside the evolving needs of large organizations. Security is paramount, and they work closely with security teams to safeguard sensitive business data. Additionally, seamless integration with existing enterprise systems like CRMs and ERPs is crucial for a smooth user experience.
  • Maneuvers through complex enterprise environments: The enterprise landscape can be intricate, with various stakeholders and decision-makers involved. Enterprise Product Managers possess strong communication and negotiation skills to navigate these complexities, effectively advocating for their product vision and securing buy-in from key players within the organization.

For example:  

At Salesforce, a CRM software giant, an Enterprise Product Manager might manage Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This product caters to the marketing automation needs of large enterprises. The Enterprise Product Manager ensures scalability for vast customer data volumes, prioritizes security for sensitive information, and focuses on integrating with other Salesforce products and existing enterprise systems used by marketing teams. By understanding the complexities of enterprise needs, they ensure their products deliver real value and empower businesses to thrive.


The world of product management is a diverse landscape, full of exciting opportunities. We've explored various PM roles, each with its unique focus and required skill set. From overseeing technical complexities to driving user growth, PMs play a pivotal role in shaping the products we use every day.

Finding the right product management role is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. It's about aligning your personal and professional aspirations with the specific demands of the position. Are you passionate about cutting-edge technology? Then an AI Product Manager role might be your calling. Do you thrive on analyzing data and optimizing user experiences? Growth Product Manager could be a perfect fit.

The key is to explore! Numerous resources like JustAnotherPM offer valuable insights and training materials to help you navigate the exciting world of product management. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your journey, there's a PM role out there waiting to unleash your potential. So, delve deeper, discover your strengths, and embark on a product management path that fuels your passion and propels your career forward.

How I can help you:

  1. Fundamentals of Product Management - learn the fundamentals that will set you apart from the crowd and accelerate your PM career.
  2. Improve your communication: get access to 20 templates that will improve your written communication as a product manager by at least 10x.
Mar 16, 2024
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