Product Development Manager Characteristics
Coordinates the product development project from concept to
market. Also, coordinator of the
different functions represented in the product development team (e.g.,
sales, production, engineering) plus maintains direct contact with
relevant external parties (e.g., suppliers and customers).
Speaks the languages of design, engineering, marketing,
manufacturing, accounting, finance, etc.
Orientation. Not overemphasizing any one
function. With respect to some
products however, such as automobiles, engineering is typically
Making Authority. Has “organizational
clout” without interference from upstairs. Signs off on such things as
specifications, cost targets, and major component choices. May have to make the final decision
regarding component tradeoffs that are particularly problematic or central
to the product’s concept.
Constantly. Is always “out”
networking face-to-face with people involved in the process and
intervening directly if necessary.
This can include visiting with distributors and customers to get a
better feel for the market.
and Expertise. Has demonstrated success in
previous product development projects. Has good interpersonal skills,
motivational skills, team building skills, and conflict management skills.
of the Product’s Integrity. Focused on producing a strong
product concept (the “soul” of the product). Is like an evangelist. Is the “guardian” of
the product’s concept, that is, the one who keeps the concept alive
and ensures that it is infused into every aspect of the product’s
design. It is an
automobiles, for example, the car is “crafted.” It must be holistically appreciated
rather than reductionistically abstracted. Subtle nuances (the taste and
character of the car) have to be built into the design by fine tuning;
they can’t be expressed by planning documents.
Source: Clark, K. & Fujimoto, T. The power
of product integrity: The case for heavyweight product management. Harvard
Business Review, 1990, November-December, 107-118.