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15 Different Types of Product Managers

Should you be a technical product manager or a data product manager? What about being an AI project manager—that should definitely be exciting. Or is a growth product manager role more aligned with your skillset and interest? 

If you’re aspiring to be a product manager or considering a career change in product management, these questions may be top of your mind. 

Each enterprise product manager role is unique. They differ by industry, offerings, target customers, and product strategy. And, of course, each of them requires specialized skills, acumen, and training. 

With so many product manager roles available, how do you discover one that’s a good fit for YOU?

In this article, we’ll explore 15 product manager roles, focusing on their distinct characteristics. We’ll also help you chart a course toward a fulfilling career in product management with some insider tips and tools. But first…

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Who Is a Product Manager?

A product manager is a key link between various teams within an organization, overseeing the development, launch, and ongoing enhancement of a product or service. 

They’re the leaders who conceptualize new ideas, collaborate with cross-functional teams, and champion the product’s success from ideation to its market release.

Product managers play many roles throughout the product life cycle. They conduct market and customer research to identify needs and trends, define product requirements, prioritize features based on business goals and user feedback, and work closely with engineers, designers, marketers, business analysts, and other stakeholders to bring the product to life.

Moreover, product managers act as the voice of the customer within the organization, supporting user-centric solutions and ensuring that the product meets or exceeds customer expectations. 

They continuously monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), gather and record customer feedback, analyze data to make informed decisions, and iterate on the product based on consumer data and insights from real-world usage.

A product manager is not merely a project manager or a technical expert; they are strategic thinkers, problem-solvers, and customer advocates rolled into one. They manage business, technology, and user needs, bringing innovation and value to both the company and customers.

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15 Types of Product Managers

Whether you’re passionate about software development, hardware, healthcare, or consumer goods, there’s a product management role suited to your interests and expertise. 

These diverse roles showcase the breadth and depth of opportunities within the field of product management, catering to specialized skills in various industries, technologies, and market segments. Let’s explore them here:

Digital product managers

Interested in developing the next big mobile app, website, or SaaS platform? You can be a digital product manager. These professionals focus their responsibilities on overseeing the development and management of digital products to solve their target users’ problems. They work closely with engineers and designers to ensure a seamless user experience and drive digital innovation.

Since digital product managers may be responsible for a wide variety of products, their north-star metric (NSM) would depend on the specific digital product. It could be something like user engagement in terms of daily and monthly active users (DAU/MAU) for social media apps or conversion rate for e-commerce platforms.

Product marketing managers

If you want to be the brains behind interesting product campaigns and stories, this role may be a perfect fit. Product marketing managers create and execute marketing strategies to promote products. They collaborate with various teams to identify target markets, develop messaging, and drive product awareness and adoption.

This role often supports the core product team, so their KPIs might be indirectly tied to that of the main product (e.g., driving awareness for an e-commerce platform to increase customer lifetime value or CLTV).

Growth product managers

Growth product managers may work closely with a product marketing manager and specialize in driving user growth and retention. They use data analytics and experimentation to optimize product management frameworks for user acquisition, activation, and engagement strategies, ultimately fueling the growth product’s expansion.

Their NSM is all about user acquisition and activation. They might focus on metrics like user signups or the percentage of users completing a key action.

Technical product managers

Combining deep technical understanding, business acumen, and expertise with product management skills, technical product managers bridge the gap between business and engineering teams. They guide the development of complex technical products and ensure alignment with strategic goals.

Their success often aligns with the product’s overall functionality and performance. NSM could be system uptime or a reduction in development cycle time.

AI product managers

As AI features become mainstream and enhance business and consumer products and services alike, the role of AI product managers will become even more significant than it is today. With a focus on enabling and improving artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, AI product managers strive to optimize for the best user experience for their products. From natural language processing to machine learning algorithms, they’re always working toward delivering innovative solutions to enterprise customers.

Here, the KPIs are tied to the effectiveness of the AI features. It could be model accuracy or improvement in a specific AI-powered task.

Data product managers

Data scientists and data product managers oversee the creation and management of data-driven products and features. This includes tasks like:

  • Defining product requirements based on data analysis
  • Prioritizing features based on user needs and business goals
  • Collaborating with data scientists and engineers to build and refine the product
  • Ensuring the product is built on a reliable and scalable data infrastructure
  • Monitoring the product’s performance and making data-driven decisions for improvement
  • Establishing data strategy and governance within an organization

They use analytics and data science insights to drive product improvements, personalization, and decision-making capabilities.

Their NSM revolves around the value derived from data and includes the degree of data completeness, data accuracy, or reduction in data processing time.

UX product managers

Is the new onboarding sequence causing users to drop off? Are the instructions for navigation unclear on our mobile app? Is the experience of seeking support on our website broken?

These are the kinds of questions UX product managers try to answer every day. Centered on user experience (UX) design principles, they collaborate with designers and researchers to create intuitive and user-friendly products, prioritizing usability, accessibility, and customer satisfaction.

As a UX product manager, you’ll focus on metrics that reflect user experience, such as user satisfaction scores, Net Promoter Score (NPS), or task completion rates.

E-commerce product managers

Focused on online retail platforms, e-commerce platform product managers oversee the development and optimization of e-commerce websites and applications for large companies. They work on enhancing the shopping experience, increasing conversion rates, and driving revenue growth across customer segments. 

Their NSM is typically Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV).

Platform product managers

A platform product manager specializes in overseeing the development and management of platforms that serve as infrastructure or ecosystems for other products or services. They focus on building scalable and interoperable solutions that enable third-party developers to create value-added products and integrations.

Their North Star could be metrics reflecting a healthy platform ecosystem, like the number of active users on the platform or revenue generated through the platform.

Mobile product managers

Concentrating on mobile applications and experiences, mobile product managers lead the development of products tailored specifically for smartphones and tablets. They prioritize features and optimizations that enhance mobile usability, performance, and engagement.

This NSM could be DAU/MAU or ARPU (average revenue per user), depending on the app’s goals.

SaaS product managers

SaaS (Software as a Service) product managers focus on managing cloud-based software applications delivered over the Internet. Some of their top responsibilities?  Overseeing subscription-based products, ensuring reliability, scalability, and continuous delivery of new features to meet customer needs.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is a common North Star that most SaaS product managers chase.

Enterprise product managers

Interested in developing products and solutions for businesses and organizations?  You might do well as an enterprise product manager. They address the unique challenges and requirements of the enterprise market. They prioritize features such as security, scalability, and integration capabilities to meet the needs of corporate clients who deliver products and services to other businesses.

Their KPIs are usually customer success metrics like customer retention rate, reduction in churn, or increased customer lifetime value.

Consumer product managers

Unlike enterprise product managers, consumer product managers focus on developing products and experiences for individual consumers, catering to their preferences, behaviors, and lifestyles. They prioritize features that enhance user engagement, satisfaction, and brand loyalty in the consumer market.

These PMs might chase metrics reflecting user adoption, like user activation rates, daily active users, or feature adoption rates.

Hardware product managers

A hardware product manager oversees the development and management of physical products, such as consumer electronics, IoT devices, and hardware peripherals. They coordinate with design, engineering, and manufacturing teams to deliver high-quality hardware products to market.

Their North Star could be sales-related metrics like units sold, revenue generated, or customer acquisition cost (CAC).

Healthcare product managers

Addressing the unique regulatory, privacy, and usability requirements of healthcare professionals and patients is a serious job, and healthcare product managers excel at it. They’re primarily responsible for developing solutions for medical care, convenience, and advancement and prioritize features that improve patient outcomes, streamline workflows, and ensure compliance with industry standards.

Healthcare PMs might have KPIs tied to patient outcomes, like improved treatment efficacy, reduced hospital readmission rates, or increased patient satisfaction.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and there may be multiple other avenues in the product management world that suit your capabilities and aspirations. You could be a startup product manager who specializes in the zero-to-one journey of building and launching disruptive products across industries. You could even be a non-technical product manager for an EduTech company, overseeing the development of online courses. You may have expertise in curriculum design, learning best practices, and user experience (UX) principles for educational content. Still, you wouldn’t necessarily need to know how to build the online learning platform itself.

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Tools for Different Types of Product Managers

Product management is indeed a multifaceted role. You can learn the basics by reading product management books, implementing them with the help of a peer or a mentor, and continuously upskilling to keep up with the challenging demands of this career.

You’ll need the right tools to navigate product development complexities at every step of this journey. 

Depending on a product manager’s focus and core responsibilities, various tools can improve productivity and streamline workflows. 

ClickUp’s product management platform
Outline your next product strategy and vision, align your team, and sprint to market with ClickUp’s product management platform

ClickUp for product managers

One that stands out is ClickUp. ClickUp’s customizability lends itself well to simplifying product development and planning. 

Its rich feature set includes task management, built-in communication, priorities and dependencies, time tracking, and integrations with popular tools, giving you the flexibility to plan, track progress, and collaborate efficiently throughout the product life cycle. 

ClickUp product management platform

Besides this, with ClickUp’s Product Management Platform, you can also bring more efficiency and quality to: 

  • Product vision mapping: With its collaborative Mind Maps, Whiteboards, and templates, ClickUp helps you align your team’s efforts with your product vision seamlessly
  • DevOps integrations and workflow automation: Integrate your entire tech stack effortlessly and automate workflows across your DevOps and CI/CD pipeline. ClickUp integrates with 1000+ software tools, including GitHub, Figma, Sentry, and Slack, to streamline development processes
  • Issue tracking and sprint management: Track issues efficiently and manage sprints effectively within ClickUp Tasks. Features like Kanban boards, Gantt charts, burnup, burndown charts, and more keep you on top of your development timeline. Ship faster by resolving issues promptly and prioritizing tasks
  • Dashboards and reporting: Gain insights into your team’s progress and performance with customizable dashboards and reporting tools. Monitor key metrics, track project milestones, and make data-driven decisions to optimize productivity and delivery speed
  • Product road mapping: Build comprehensive product roadmaps that connect feedback, epics, and sprints, providing visibility into your team’s objectives and the path ahead
  • Collaboration: Facilitate collaboration across your team, from concept to launch, with ClickUp’s suite of collaboration tools. From shared Goals and Docs to Assigned Comments and a Chat view, you’ve all the features you need to keep everyone aligned and engaged throughout the product development process
  • Agile workflows: Sprint through epics with agile workflows tailored to your team’s needs. Whether you prefer Kanban, Scrum, or a customized approach, ClickUp’s flexible workflows adapt to your methodology, enabling you to move faster and iterate efficiently
Keep track of different project milestones and deliverables with the ClickUp New Product Development Template

ClickUp’s product management template

And that’s not all! For new product ventures, you can use ClickUp’s New Product Development Template

This pre-built template provides a structured framework for managing the entire process—from ideation to launch. Sections cover ideation, market research, feature prioritization, prototyping, testing, and launch planning. 

You can use ClickUp’s features within this product management template to assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress, and engage with stakeholders, ensuring easy coordination and execution at every stage. 

You can also adapt the template to suit your team’s needs, helping them efficiently bring innovative ideas to market.

The key features include:

  • Project summary view: Get a comprehensive overview of the entire product development process, allowing for quick assessment of project status and key milestones
  • Process board view: Visualize task progress across stages, facilitating efficient monitoring and ensuring tasks move smoothly through the development pipeline
  • Timeline view: Plan task completion timelines effectively, enabling precise scheduling and allocation of resources to meet project deadlines
  • Gantt chart view: Track task dependencies and deadlines, ensuring project milestones are met and potential bottlenecks are identified and addressed promptly
  • Getting started guide view: Access a checklist for initial project setup, guiding users through essential steps to kickstart the development process seamlessly
  • Task status organization: Categorize tasks into four statuses—Blocked, Complete, In Progress, and To Do—providing clear visibility into task progression and project status
  • Real-time status updates: Update task statuses as progress is made, keeping stakeholders informed and ensuring transparency throughout the project lifecycle
  • Task monitoring and analysis: Monitor and analyze tasks to optimize productivity, identifying areas for improvement and addressing challenges proactively to drive project success

ClickUp’s task management capabilities

ClickUp offers a flexible framework for creating and customizing workflows to match the unique requirements of different projects and teams. Whether your team follows Agile, Kanban, Scrum, or a hybrid methodology, ClickUp’s Task Management tools let you configure workflows that reflect your preferred process stages, statuses, and transitions.

Optimize your workflow with ClickUp’s customizable stages and statuses
  • Workflow stages: Define the stages that tasks move through during the course of their lifecycle, such as ‘To Do’, ‘In Progress’, ‘Review’, and ‘Done’. Customize these stages to reflect your team’s specific workflow steps and milestones
  • Statuses and labels: Within each workflow stage, you can define custom statuses and labels to indicate the current state or progress of tasks. For example, statuses like ‘Blocked’, ‘On Hold’, or ‘Ready for QA’ provide clarity on task status and next steps
  • Transitions and automation: Configure rules and use ClickUp Automation to streamline workflow transitions and automate repetitive tasks. For instance, automatically assign tasks to team members when they move to a specific stage or trigger notifications when certain conditions are met

ClickUp views

ClickUp also offers various views to visualize tasks, projects, and data in ways that suit different preferences and use cases. You can customize ClickUp Views to focus on specific information, track progress, and gain insights into your projects.

Visualize your projects like never before with ClickUp’s customizable views
  • List view: Organize tasks in a traditional list format, with customizable columns and sorting options. Tailor the view to display relevant task details and metadata, such as due dates, assignees, priorities, and custom fields
  • Board view: Visualize tasks as cards arranged in columns representing different workflow stages. Customize columns, labels, and card details to match your team’s workflow and preferences. Drag and drop cards to move tasks between columns and track progress visually
  • Calendar view: View tasks and events in a calendar layout, with options to filter by due dates, assignees, and other criteria. Plan schedules, track deadlines, and manage resources effectively using the visual calendar interface
  • Timeline view: Gain a Gantt chart-style overview of tasks and projects over time. Customize timelines, set dependencies, and adjust schedules dynamically to optimize project planning and resource allocation
  • Custom dashboards: Create personalized dashboards with widgets, charts, and reports to monitor key metrics, track progress, and visualize project data. Customize dashboard layouts and widgets to focus on the information that matters most to your team

Whether you’re just starting with product management or have been at it for a while, ClickUp can adapt to your and your team’s workflows to make your day as a product manager smoother.

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Understanding the Different Seniority Levels in Product Management

Understanding the different seniority levels in product management is crucial for both professionals aspiring to grow within the field and organizations seeking to structure their teams effectively. 

Here’s a breakdown of the various levels:

Entry level

At the entry level, product managers are typically new to the role and may have little to no prior experience in product management. 

They often focus on learning the fundamentals of product development and market research and working closely with cross-functional teams

Entry-level product managers are expected to assist senior members in various tasks, gather insights, and contribute to the execution of product strategies. 

Responsibilities may include conducting market analysis, using customer data, doing user research, using data management, gathering user feedback, and assisting in developing product roadmaps.

Mid level

Mid-level product managers have gained some experience in the field and have demonstrated proficiency in managing product lifecycles. 

They deeply understand market dynamics, customer needs, and competitive landscapes. 

Mid-level PMs often independently lead smaller projects or specific product features, working closely with stakeholders to define requirements and prioritize initiatives

They also significantly drive product vision and strategy, collaborating with cross-functional teams to ensure successful product launches and iterations.

Senior level

Senior product managers are seasoned professionals with extensive experience in product management. They are adept at leading complex projects, managing multiple products or product lines, and guiding junior team members. 

Senior project managers are responsible for defining overarching product strategies, aligning them with business objectives, and driving innovation within their respective domains. 

They possess strong leadership and product management skills, influencing stakeholders and making critical decisions that impact the overall success of the product portfolio. 

Senior product managers often mentor junior team members, sharing their knowledge and expertise to foster growth and development.

Executive level

At the executive level, product leaders hold top-tier positions such as Chief Product Officer (CPO) or Vice President of Product. They primarily shape the organization’s overall product vision, business strategy, and roadmap.

Executive-level product managers work closely with C-suite executives, providing insights into market trends, customer needs, and competitive landscapes to inform strategic decision-making

They oversee the entire product management function, setting goals, allocating resources, and driving alignment across departments to ensure the successful execution of product initiatives. 

Additionally, they advocate for the importance of product management within the organization and foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

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Grow in Your Product Management Role with ClickUp 

There are varied paths to becoming a product manager, and the specific tools you need will depend on your focus area. However, ClickUp’s versatility can be a valuable asset for any product manager. Its project management features can help you organize tasks and collaborate effectively, regardless of whether you’re a strategic thinker, a UX specialist, or a technical product manager.

So, whether you’re learning about product management, building a team, or preparing for your next career move through product manager interviews, ClickUp empowers you to tailor its platform to your needs. 

This can streamline your processes and allow you to focus on what matters most: building a career delivering exceptional products. 

Sign up for ClickUp today to improve your product management skills. Best of luck on your journey!

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