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What the heck is a Product Manager?


Product Manager: one of the least well-defined roles in the computer industry, although quite popular nowadays. No two companies have the same description for this job title, and it can even vary widely within one company. Are they the CEO of the product (bleargh!)? Are they project managers wearing sneakers and hipster glasses? What do they do all day? Do we really need them? Are they friends or foes? Is this a business, marketing or technology role? Is this someone with a degree in engineering, or an MBA? What can make a software engineer want to become a product manager?

This talk is for anyone who works with a product manager (if you're here, you most likely will at some point). It is also for anyone with some other type of curiosity about the role. Do you (think you) want to be a product manager? Are you a product manager confused about your own role (don't worry, we've all been there)?

Don't expect leaving with the truth, because 1) there isn't one, and 2) if there were I would not be the holder of it. I'll be sharing what I know and think, from my own experience and learning through doubts, successes, and failures. But you'll hopefully end up understanding the role better — either to make the most out of working with the product managers in your organisation, or to decide whether this is a career path you want to pursue.

Speaker Bio

João Craveiro

Speaker Image

I love solving real problems of real people using computer technology as a means to it — be it by coding, researching, gathering requirements, managing a project, helping other people be more efficient, or simply spreading knowledge.

I'm currently a Product Manager at Onfido, a London-based startup delivering next-generation identity verification and background checks, helping businesses across the world verify anyone, anywhere.

Before that, I was a Product Manager at Premium Minds, a Lisbon-based software development agency (where I've also been through the duties of software engineer and agile coach) and professor at Universidade Lusófona. Even before that? Well, a lot. From old to new: I've worked at a computer store; done freelance web development; written tech pieces for a newspaper supplement; researched on embedded and real-time systems through two theses; and taught embedded systems, operating systems, computer architecture, and object-oriented programming at U. Lisbon.


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