Product Manager Personas – to help understand what you should be doing.

You may already use personas when developing propositions or working on requirements, but have you ever thought about using product manager personas?

They’re useful because they help product managers think through the skills they need, and the behavior they should exhibit, to be successful.

And that behavior will change based on where the product is in its lifecycle and the role of product management in your business.

The different personas are explained below.

  • The Product advocate – champions and promotes their product within and outside the business
  • The Troubleshooter – moves across the business sorting out product problems, resolving customer issues and fixing broken processes
  • The Expert compromiser – takes a view on what’s best for the product balancing the commercial, technical, operational and strategic issues
  • The Subject matter expert – knows their product inside out (or knows where to find the answers)
  • The Creator – comes up with new ideas and innovations for the product
  • The Owner of the numbers – knows exactly what’s going on with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for their product so they can spot trending problems
  • The Reliable project manager – drives things forward and gets things delivered
  • The Voice of the market – understands what the market wants and acts as focal point for customer requirements within the business
  • The Mini CEO – runs their product as if it was their own company, conducting things like an orchestra all around them

If you’re working on a brand new product then Voice of the market, Creator and Product advocate are important roles. If you’re working on a mature in-life product, Troubleshooter, Expert compromiser and Reliable project manager can be important.

The 9 product manager personas

The 9 product manager personas

So which personas are you?

If you asked your boss, which personas would they say you are?

And if you asked them what do they want you to be – given the products you’re managing and what’s going on in the company – would it be the same?

We’ve come up with 9 personas but it would be nice to have a round 10. Can you suggest one that might be missing?

Ian Lunn
Director, Product Focus

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I would add “internal cheerleader” as a persona. It’s easy for the development team to lose sight of why certain features are being prioritized or may be far removed from customer discussions being held. Or, they may only be hearing about bugs from the rest of the organization, in other words, “when will x be fixed and deployed to production”? In this atmosphere, it’s easy for the development team to get bored, frustrated, and lethargic. It’s often times up to the Product Manager to rally the troops, reinforce the company mission and why certain features will help the company get to the next level in order to get the team over the finish line for a big feature release.

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Fantastic idea I can identify with all of these personas! I would add “Customer Carer” – I get called in to help ease communication, depart information and help sales manage accounts of key customers, all which is great learning for Product, but can be very time consuming.

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