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Today

  • Product management roles in the charity sector analysis
  • Bought some books
  • Walked along the beach
  • June’s budget
  • June’s retro
  • July’s plan

Tomorrow

  • Irregular Ideas newsletter
  • Beach
  • Maybe some Ambivalent.mba

Retrospective June 2022

The lesson for this month is that your focus isn’t always up to you. Sometimes things happen that demand your attention and you can’t say no to.

Contributing to the digital transformation of the non-profit sector

Working at a national non-profit organisation to embed product thinking and practice

It’s been an interesting month with lots of change but I’m making progress on my strategy in a few ways.

Participating in online communities for social good, innovation, product and digital

Slight possible progress on this goal with the idea of hosting show and tells for charities to share work in progress. Guess we’ll see if anything comes of it.

Continually developing my knowledge, skills and practice

Formal education

Didn’t do anything on my BSL course, on the Gitlab Remote Working course. I really need to go give them some time next month.

Informal learning

I didn’t do much on my side-projects as I’m still getting into the flow of being on the road but I’m really keen to work on my Ambivalent MBA on Charity in the 21st century in July.

Irregular Ideas has 43 subscribers. I’ve moved it on to Substack after an issue with Revue. Need to decide whether to keep it on Substack or move the email and website on Mailerlite.

Reflective practice

I wrote weeknotes on schedule every week.

Leading an intentional life

Lifestyle

My nomadic life along the coastline has resumed. I’m back in Wales and slowly visiting lots of beaches. I’ve seen a seal and a couple of dolphins.

Health & well-being

I’m still not doing enough to improve my physical health.

Financial independence

Runaway reduced this month due to some unexpected expenses but still pretty healthy.

How the charity sector sees the role of a product manager

Introduction

This short study is intended to offer some observations about how the role of the product manager is perceived across the charity sector. It is not in anyway to criticise the job descriptions used by charities in advertising these roles as the best job descriptions are surely those that accurately describe the job. The intention here is to consider whether, and if anything what, the job descriptions might be able to tell us about what charities expect from product managers.

Twenty three charity sector product roles advertised in May and June 2022 were included in the study. All of the job ads were used to create a list of thirty three characteristics, and then each job analysed against the list.

Observations

All of the role descriptions fitted within the generally accepted role that product management plays within an organisation, that of bringing together user needs, organisational goals and using technology to achieve them.

Within the roles there is variety about the purpose of the role. Some were more focused on managing technology to achieve organisational goals with little mention of user needs, whilst others were focused on organisational goals (even if these weren’t defined in the job ad) with little mention of the technologies. Understanding user problems and meeting user needs was the least mentioned. Perhaps this results from an assumption that the organisation already understands its user’s needs and intends to improve how they are meet through technology, or because the concept of being user-centred hasn’t been adopted.

All of the roles, even the senior and ‘head of’ level, were very focused on delivery. There was very little mention of developing business models, validating market assumptions, or other strategic product work. This may suggest that, whilst charities are adopting more technology and recognising the need to manage it, they are still yet to adopt more contemporary digital approaches and product thinking.

Analysis

What product management roles are called

Different role titles used in the job ads.

  • For 23 roles there were 14 unique job titles, 19 if those titles include the product in brackets, e.g. (CRM)
  • 47.83% roles had unique titles, including Head of Product Management, Head of Product Delivery, Lead Digital Product Manager, Senior Product Development Lead, Senior Digital Product Manager, Senior Product Development Officer, Senior Product Development Lead, Innovation and Product Development Manager, Web Product Manager, Digital Product Owner and Junior Product Manager
  • 21.74% of the roles had the job title Product Manager
  • 13.04% used the title Digital Product Managers
  • 8.70% were called Product Owners

How much product managers are paid

Salaries of product management roles specified in the job ads.

  • The average salary is £45,976.45, from twenty two of the roles as one did not specify the salary
  • The lowest salary mentioned was £27,000 and the highest was £83,000
  • Of the two ‘Head of’ level roles the salary ranged from £48,231 to £83,000
  • Senior level roles averaged £44,300
  • Individual contributor roles averaged £45,865

What product managers work on

Different types of products the job ads suggest product managers will work on.

  • 91.30% of product managers would work on existing products
  • 34.78% would be working on building new products
  • 65.22% would work on external facing products
  • 26.09% working on internal products
  • 52.17% of the ads mention an outcome or goal the product manager would be aiming to achieve with the product

How product managers work

Working practices mentioned in the job ads.

  • 52.17% of the roles ask the product manager to be user-centric, to understand user needs, but only 26.09% would be involved in user research
  • 52.17% would be expected to monitor the performance of the product
  • 39.13% would use continuous improvement and iterative development
  • 30.43% mention using agile practices

What product managers are responsible for

Aspects of managing a product that the product manager would have responsibility for.

  • 86.96% would be managing stakeholder relationships
  • 60.87% would be managing supplier relationships
  • 52.17% would be responsible for managing projects
  • 34.78% had line management responsibility. Two heads of product, three senior product managers and three product managers
  • 34.78% would be responsible for managing the budget for the product
  • 30.43% would be responsible for product strategy
  • 26.09% would manage the product roadmap
  • 26.09% would be responsible for prioritising work on the product
  • 17.39% would be responsible for product vision

What skills do product managers need

Skills and characteristics mentioned in the job ads.

  • 65.22% would need communication skills
  • 34.78% would be to be analytical
  • 26.09% need to be able to cope in a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment
  • 26.09% need influencing skills
  • 13.04% would need a growth mindset to succeed
  • 13.04% need negotiating skills
  • 8.70% need facilitation skills
  • 8.70% need to be creative
  • One role required the candidate to have a PhD in biology and others required particular specialist knowledge relating to the business model for the product, e.g., licensing