Where Do Product Managers Spend Their Time?

By Pragmatic Institute April 27, 2007

Steve Johnson
Pragmatic Institute

I created this chart showing how much time each week product managers spend in various areas. (Frankly, I was playing around with the Office 2007 beta and wanted to insert a chart so I grabbed the 2005 survey data and put this together in only seconds. I think I'm gonna like 2007 once I let go of old habits.)

pm activity

It appears that product managers are spending more of their time supporting development and less time supporting sales. More than 50% of product managers say they are writing detailed specifications (see On Reqs and Specs for my views on this) while fewer than 50% say they are going on sales calls. Interestingly, more product managers say that are monitoring development projects than say they are writing requirements. That seems to be saying that we're doing more project management than product definition. Or 'I don't care what we get but I care when we get it.'

Sadly, fewer than 20% of product managers are doing win/loss analysis, which is such a critical input to product planning! Read more in Barb Nelson's Why are we winning and why are we losing?)

The good news from this chart is that over 50% of product managers are building business cases. The business case is the evidence of the product manager's role as a business leader in the company.

Pragmatic Institute

Pragmatic Institute

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