WTF is Product Management?

Holly Brooks
September 21, 2023
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Product Management Product Manager PM101 Fellowship

Ok. So we all hear the words “Product” and “Manager” thrown around. But WTF actually is Product Management and what does a Product Manager do?

Why are they so flippin important? And why are they in such high demand? 

Well. Let us tell you!!! 

Product Management

Product Management is the magical art of shepherding products from their inception to their dazzling debut in the market and beyond.

The Product Management arm of a business has oversight on a product's full life cycle. 

Product life cycle:

  1. Research: Customer research and discovery. Find a meaningful problem.
  2. Ideation: Brainstorm, research unique customer needs, generate ideas.
  3. Validation: Ensure market demand, chat to customers, confirm people will opt in.
  4. Prioritisation & Planning: Sequence solutions in the correct order. Define a product roadmap.
  5. Prototype: Develop MVP product. 
  6. Goals & Metrics: Define the right goals and metrics to measure impact and success. 
  7. Experiment: Test with users, receive feedback, iterate. 
  8. Go to market strategy: Build out your product story and customer “buy in”.
  9. Vision: Shape the future with a compelling product vision and strategy that connects with the product roadmap.
  10. Launch: Ship that product!!!!
  11. Improve: It’s never finished. Always iterate and improve to stay relevant and ahead of competition. 

Ok that’s a lot. Isn’t it? 

So where does a Product Manager come into all of that? 11 different stages. Where do they start?

Product Managers

Product Managers are the ultimate jugglers. Their role: Read minds, solve mysteries, and motivate like a pro. Plus, they’re actually also secret agents, spying on rivals, diving into user data, and crafting genius improvements.

Basically, they are involved in all 11 phases of the product life cycle. 

Because this is such a HUGE responsibility, oftentimes you will have one manager per product, or even one manager per product feature for bigger products!!

Why one? 

Because, well, products apparently can't manage themselves. Who would have thought?


The Product Manager's role shape-shifts depending on the company’s size. 

In big leagues, Product Manager’s head a full suite of specialists from researchers, analysts, and marketers to developers and designers. 

On a good day. It’s a right rort! But it requires some serious baton-waving to keep everyone in tune with the same vision.

In smaller companies, Product Managers do pretty much everything - defining the vision and carrying it through to launch. 

Regardless of size, great product managers wear many hats:

  • Understanding and representing user needs.
  • Monitoring the market and developing competitive analyses.
  • Defining a vision for a product.
  • Aligning stakeholders around the vision for the product. 
  • Prioritising product features and capabilities.
  • Creating a shared brain across larger teams to empower independent decision-making.

So you want to become a product manager... Where do you start?

Something that’s true about most jobs, but especially product management, is that companies want to see experience. So if you have little to no experience yet, what can you do? 


That’s actually why we created the PM101 Fellowship.

This 7 week program will give you real life experience that you can cite in interviews. 

We promise these 5 things:

✅Become a confident and independent Product Manager: Leave with a solid foundation to own products end-to-end, grounded in real experience.

✅Product Hackathon: Be paired with a startup to own a real life product problem and solution, end-to-end. By the end of the program, you’ll have tangible product experience and a work sample for future job applications.

✅Face time & direct support from expert product manager Harry Hamilton: Product Leader at SafetyCulture and Founder of Minnow Product Management.

✅Land a product job: Put your best foot forward with the tangible product experience you’ll get from the program, translate your other experience, and get access to the Startmate Talent Engine and some of the most iconic startups in Australia and New Zealand.

✅Connect with a world-class startup community: You’ll be thrust into the epicentre of startup ambition. Meeting leading investors, operators and founders who are spearheading innovation across Australia and New Zealand.

Apply today.

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