Profile of a product manager

By Pragmatic Institute April 27, 2007

The average Product manager is 35 years old; 
80% claim to be 'somewhat' or 'very' technical;
87% have completed college and 33% have a masters; 
39% are female, 61% are male.


The typical product manager reports to a director in the marketing department.

  • 48% report to a director,

  • 28% to VP

  • 50% are in the marketing department

  • 22% are in the product management department

  • 16% are in Development or Engineering

  • only 7% are in a sales department

Impacts on Productivity

Product managers receive 57 emails a day and send only 28.

On average, we're going to 12 internal meetings each week.
But 23% are going to 15 meetings or more each week.

Working with requirements

The majority of product managers are researching market needs, writing requirements, and monitoring development projects.

  • 73% researching market needs

  • 73% writing requirements

  • 75% monitoring development projects

  • 51% preparing business case

  • 29% writing detailed specifications

Working with marcom and sales

Product managers still spend a lot of time providing technical content for marcom and sales.

  • 54% approving promotional material

  • 43% writing copy for promotional material

  • 52% training sales people

  • 37% going on sales calls

  • 17% performing win/loss analysis

Working with the boss

Product managers would like their supervisors to know:

  • Learn to be a manager (and stop micromanaging)

  • Provide ongoing support for our product plans

  • Communicate the company strategy


Average product management compensation is
$85,480 salary
with a $6470 bonus.

  • Females
    $80,940 base salary
    plus $5640 bonus

  • Males
    $88,360 base salary
    plus $6990 bonus

Our bonuses are based on:

  • 54% company profit

  • 28% product revenue

  • 45% quarterly objectives (MBOs)

As a result, more than 40% say the bonus does not motivate at all and fewer than 10% say the bonus motivates a lot.

Sadly, only 3.8% receive a bonus for onsite calls made. That is, few product managers get a bonus on the activity that delivers the most strategic value to our product and company.

View the complete results of the 2001 Roles and Salary Survey.

Pragmatic Institute

Pragmatic Institute

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