Product management is sort of difficult to define to those outside of the corporate world. I always explain it to folks by saying that a product managers job is to understand the market and work with the team to define a strategy and plan to ensure product success. Sometimes you find that product management reports into marketing, into a technology, or as a stand alone business group.
I also find myself explaining the differences between program, project, and product management to folks. I know I've oversimplified it, but here's my quick and dirty explanation:
- Project - Works to determine when the feature will be released.
- Product - Works to determine what features are important and what the feature is. In some companies the product manger has P&L responsibility.
- Program - Across project resource allocation and project coordination. This function can manage one or more project managers for a particular account or product.