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New Tech Trend: The Growth Product Manager

Robin Walters | July 6th, 2020

Product management is one of the new hybrid roles that have evolved recently in the digital space. It’s different from the traditional project manager role, but there are elements of that job in product management. But true to digital technology, product management isn’t a static job description. We’re seeing product management already evolving into a new title called the growth product manager. For these professionals, fostering a product-led growth strategy is the new imperative for job success. But what does that mean, exactly? How does adding the word “growth” change product management? If you’re considering a growth product manager position, here’s what you need to know.

Growth Product Management is So New it Doesn’t Have a Face

If product management as a professional career track is in its infancy, then growth product management is really in the zygote stage. We’re starting to see the position crop up more on the west coast, which usually means the trend will be making its way to Columbus sometime soon. There are a few hurdles slowing widespread acceptance of growth product management as a legitimate field, like a global pandemic slowing the job market to a trickle. But if any new position could get us out of this mess, the Growth Product Manager roles is designed to help us reposition our products and services in a way that positively impacts cash flow. If you want to relaunch your products post-COVID, snag a Growth Product Manager to help you succeed.

Understanding the differences between product and project managers is one thing, but now we’re throwing this new iteration of Growth Product Manager into the mix. While anything that has the word “product” in it is by nature subject to change in subtle ways, here is an easy way to differentiate between product and project management and the newer Growth Product Management:

  • Project Managers run a project or series of tasks necessary to reach their goal.
  •  Product Managers focus on the product or service line and do everything and anything to promote it.
  • Growth Product Managers focus on the g-word “GROWTH” and they sleep, breathe, eat to that bottom-line number.

Unlike a Project Manager or a Product Manager, Growth Product Managers are often given the green light to work across multiple product functionalities to strategize, optimize, and implement targeted growth.

During a down economy, I imagine the job of being a Growth Product Manager causes a lot of stress; unless, of course, the growth is related to a field like videoconferencing, which has experienced unprecedented adoption rates. No matter the economic indicators, the Growth Product Manager must focus on reducing “barriers to value, which means that they enable customers and users to quickly find value within the core product,” according to Product Manager HQ.

Reducing the barriers to value during a global pandemic requires workarounds to accommodate our new normal to keep business going. This requires the Growth Product Manager to use their creativity to create new use cases for old products and remove any new points of end-user friction caused by COVID-19. When they wake up in the morning, what does a Growth Product Manager think about—besides what’s for breakfast? The answer should be, “What can I do today to drive more value from our existing products?”