The Different Types of Product Management: An Overview of Specialist PM Jobs

An overview of product management roles in different specialist areas, including technical, business, and design with job descriptions and average salaries.

Posted March 13, 2024

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Product managers are responsible for developing a company’s products and creating/executing strategies. There are different types of product managers that vary based on the tasks they do, the industry they are in, or what they are specialized in. With that being said, here is an overview of product management jobs in different areas.

Technical Product Management

Technical product managers deal with, as the name implies, the more technical aspects of the product. Most have a background in computer science or a related field, and the products they deal with are grounded in engineering, data analytics, or something similar. Many times, the PMs in the technical area are product owners.

Technical Product Manager (TPM)

Average Salary: $130,000

Technical Product Managers work closely with both the product design and engineering teams. Their major responsibilities include analyzing market trends, working with development leads, providing product training, improving existing products, and studying competitor products and services. Rather than setting the entire product strategy, TPMs are typically more capabilities-focused and will not interact with customers as much. TPMs almost always come from a background in engineering, computer science, or a related field.

Software Product Managers (SPM)

Average Salary: $112,000

A Software Product Manager directs product development from conception to product release. They identify the needs of customers and develop strategies to increase revenue. Most of their work is focused on solving those needs through cooperation with the design team to create products and features. Typically, SPMs come from a background in coding and systems analysis/design.

Digital Product Managers (DPM)

Average Salary: $110,000

DPMs work on both the technical and business operation sides. Their main job is to create and develop digital products. Like SPMs, they identify client needs and build products and features that target those needs. Unlike SPMs, they will have more interaction with the customers and marketing teams. Their responsibilities include product launch campaigns, customer surveys and interviews, and market research. In addition to having an understanding of coding and web development, they will also need to understand marketing, digital product development, and business operations.

Business Product Management

These are the types of product managers focusing on the marketing and operations sides of the business. They manage customer relations and market research, and have less to do with product design and engineering.

Product Operations Manager

Average Salary: $165,000

Product Operations Managers manage the day-to-day operations of the product and business. Their main role involves using product data to analyze the efficacy of operations and implement strategies to improve it. Responsibilities include implementing effective practices, improving cross-channel communication, and managing resource sharing. POMs need an understanding of data management and analytics as well as system processes and work with other development teams.

Data Product Manager

Average Salary: $120,000

The DPM is in charge of all the data that is used inside of a company. The role involves gathering, analyzing, and producing data to improve the product development processes. They also work with other teams to build product features that provide data. More than just compiling data, DPMs are the ones primarily responsible for pulling insights and helping leverage them in decisions. Individuals in this role usually have a strong background as data scientists or analysts.

Analytics Product Manager

Average Salary: $135,000

Similar to data product management, analytics product management works with customers’ behaviors in an attempt to identify key needs and potential solutions. APMs use software tools to track user behavior on the product to identify potential user improvements and optimization strategies. APMs focus on the customer experience, rather than the original product intention or stakeholder concerns.

Marketing Product Manager or Product Marketing Manager (PMM)

Average Salary: $115,000

A PMM deals first and foremost with the marketing side of the product. Their role mainly involves understanding the technical aspects in order to market it effectively. Responsibilities include having a firm understanding of the end customers, implementing pricing strategies, and positioning products for market introduction. Unlike other PM roles, PMMs are much more externally focused as they work on messaging and revenue strategy.

Growth Product Manager

Average Salary: $125,000

GPMs work on key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve product metrics and performance. They will work with this data to improve short-term targets and increase revenue. The skills they must have include sales, marketing, and research. GPMs will work with other members of the product management team to use data to drive decisions in many important areas, such as go-to-market strategy, product testing, and user experience, among others.

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Design Product Management

Product managers in the design field focus more on improving the current design through the creation and development of new features. They work less with the overall product creation and other business operations areas like marketing, and more on improving products that already exist.

Design Product Manager

Average Salary: $140,000

Product design management is an important role within a company. They are responsible for the user experience of a product, including the user trial, and are involved throughout the entirety of a product’s lifestyle. Once the product has been released, DPMs will continue to work to improve the user experience through analytics, new feature development, and the designing of new products.

Visionary Product Manager

Average Salary: $110,000

One of the rarest types of product management is that of the VPM. They are much less focused on the day-to-day life of the product and instead work in high-level areas like product execution and strategy over months and years. They must have a deep understanding of the market, customers, and product in order to implement long-term strategies. The main responsibility usually involves analyzing product visions, features, and goals to ensure that they are in line with the company’s overall vision.

Where Can I Start?

If you’re interested in building a career in product management, we’ve got many resources to get you started. Here are some of our top articles:

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