June 14, 2014

Who should Product Manager report to?

This article is in response to an article on LinkedIn where the question posed was:
Who should Product Manager report to?
The history is interesting but it still didn't answer the question. The generic answer is IT DEPENDS! I would like to categorize it into two segments:

  1. Research Oriented Organizations
  2. Consumer Oriented Organizations

Image Source: Five Tips for Product Managers

1) Research Oriented Organizations
In such organizations either is fine. Domains like Pharma or Medicine or Space Research, it makes more sense to report to Dev as not everyone will be able to envision the product and Dev would be the one leading the revenues for the organization. The primary difference between consumer and research oriented organizations that consumer serving organizations will try to tap in existing market by making space for itself but research oriented organizations will replace the need of the consumers. Ofcourse marketing plays an important role in selling those products but certain products don't need any marketing.

2) Consumer Oriented Organizations
In such organizations Product Managers should be reporting to Marketing. Marketing team are the eyes and ears of the organization and this is the team who knows what consumers are expecting or would be expecting. Here one or two missed products could be the line between Flying colors or Bankruptcy.This is because the primary assets of Consumer Oriented Organization are consumers and you loose them permanently. While for research oriented organization the primary assets are the Patents and the Mind Power which is the Development.

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