Do Product Managers Have Direct Reports? (Yes And No)

Do Product Managers Have Direct Reports

A Product Manager usually doesn’t get too involved with the work of his/her colleagues. A good PM is independent of the rest of the workforce. The PM always has superiors to report to, but do Product Managers have direct reports of their own?

Product Managers don’t have direct reports unless they are at a very senior level. Product Managers focus more on managing the products rather than managing people. Moreover, PMs have to take care of responsibilities outside the company, so it’s better for them not to worry about managing directs.

Let’s talk about this in more detail now.

Why It’s Better If Product Managers Don’t Have Direct Reports?

If Product Managers have direct reports, they will be responsible for managing the people that report to them. They would need to evaluate the performance of those people and review them for raises, promotions, and many other things that the PM doesn’t have the time or skills for.

Managers that have direct reports are usually responsible for the growth of the people that report to them. On the other hand, the PM needs to stay focused on the needs of the customer for the success of the product.

Colleagues should still communicate with the PM whenever they have queries or concerns regarding the product, but they shouldn’t be reporting to the PM officially.

Even though nobody directly reports to the Product Manager, he/she will still be able to ask people in the company to respect and follow their instructions. So, anyone who works on the product must produce results according to the Product Manager’s requests, but they’ll report their progress or lack thereof to other managers in the company.

Related Further Reading:

Do Product Owners Report To Product Managers?

Product Owners do not report to Product Managers. Product Owner is a role in the Scrum framework. It’s not an official position. In many companies, the Product Manager plays the role of a Product Owner. Even if the Product Owner is different from the Product Manager, they don’t report to each other.

The Product Owner should have a clear focus on the customer’s needs and how to solve them. He needs to make decisions based on what the customer wants and not what the other people in the company want.

While it’s the company’s decision whether the Product Manager should be the Product Owner, they will inevitably communicate with each other since both of them have similar functions in the business.

To Whom Does The Product Manager Reports?

In smaller companies, especially startups, there might not be an intricate network of managers. In which case, the Product Manager would only report to the CEO. If there’s a VP of Product, the Product Manager would normally report directly to the VP.

In many companies, the PM is expected to report to the Director of Product Management or the VP of Engineering. It depends on what your unique contract specifies regarding your job description. If you need to focus more on the market, you’ll report to the Director of Product Management more frequently. If you need to focus on product features and functionality, you may need to report to the VP of Engineering more often.

Related Further Reading:

Who Works Under The Product Manager?

Engineers can be considered working under the Product Manager since they engineer solutions according to the Product Manager’s requirements. The PM determines what the market needs, and the engineering team figures out a way to build it.

Even though the engineers can be viewed as direct reports of the PM, technically, they’re not because they don’t directly report to the PM. If they have queries regarding the projects they’re working on, they would report to their team manager or even the VP of Engineering as opposed to the Product Manager.

What Does A Product Manager Do All Day?

Internally, Product Managers spend a lot of time in high-level meetings strategizing with the Directors and VPs of the company. PMs spend time crunching data to discover important information regarding the market.

Product Managers spend a lot of time outside the company obtaining customer feedback and meeting with investors and business partners to talk about the needs of the market.

As a Product Manager, you won’t have a daily routine. You’ll have a weekly, monthly, and even quarterly routine because of the wide variety of responsibilities of a Product Manager.

Sending and responding to emails can also take up a decent chunk of any Product Manager’s daily routine along with meetings.

Related Further Reading:

Points To Note

For the most part, Product Managers don’t have direct reports. It would take up too much valuable time that they can spend elsewhere. Engineers will be working on solutions for the Product Manager, but they’ll more than likely report to their team manager or tech lead when they have queries or concerns regarding the product.

Although the PM is involved in most management-level meetings, there aren’t any managers directly reporting to them. A typical PM will report to the Directors and VPs, but they’re all very much on the same level in terms of decision-making.

Workers who aren’t on the management level have their own managers to report to and don’t report directly to the Product Manager.

In some companies, the Product Manager will be the Product Owner, but not always.

It’s important for a Product Manager not to get too involved with internal affairs. If there are people reporting directly to the PM, it will take a lot of time away from other responsibilities.

If the PM has direct reports, he/she would also have to be involved in the performance evaluations of those people. The PM will need to decide whether their direct get raises or bonuses and a range of other tasks. A Product Manager’s primary focus should be the customers and how the company can meet their needs.

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