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In most companies, a group product manager (GPM) is responsible for the leadership and direction of a product management team that represents a particular group of products. Overall responsibilities include research and development (R&D) of both new and existing products, determining marketing and sales strategy for products, and overseeing the implementation of such strategies. Whereas a senior product manager is responsible for the implementation of product strategy, the GPM is responsible for deciding on actual strategy. This means the group product manager owns the full responsibility of the strategy, success and failure for each product he or she represents. A great deal of time is spent in the position asking questions and gaining a firm understanding of the unknown.
Day-to-day activities of a group product manager are varied. He or she will spend an ample amount of time writing sales and marketing plans, while coordinating those plans with the respective departments. Included as part of this responsibility is the identification of new opportunities in the marketplace and developing products that can effectively exploit those opportunities. The GPM will work with the R&D to create product development plans, determine required investment, and ascertain decision criteria to determine go-ahead with product development.
Once a product is decided upon for development, the group product manager will work with all associated product managers to develop and bring the product to market. As part of this process, he or she will provide feedback, ensure timely completion of all deadlines set forth, and make sure the product meets market expectations and customer requirements. Associated with new product development, the manager will also coordinate the provision of all market knowledge he or she gains through personal research. Aside from coordination and provision of such knowledge, the GPM will need to gather and analyze that information effectively in order to make qualified decisions about the direction of the product development. Asking questions is very much an inherent part of this process, particularly concerning areas in which the GPM is unfamiliar.
From the launch of a product throughout all phases of the product life-cycle, a product manager will coordinate and provide both product knowledge and market intelligence to support sales and marketing activities. Customers are important in this process, and the GPM may spend a considerable amount of time engaging customers and educating them about the product. The group product manager most often oversees and ensures accurate implementation of the product strategy he or she has developed, with contributing hands-on experience and expertise where needed.
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