Working in Software as a Service (SaaS) can be a hectic and varied experience, especially for product managers, who are responsible for keeping cloud services up and running while catering to the needs of users and colleagues alike.
To give you a sense of this, here’s an overview of some of the duties that a typical SaaS product manager will complete in the course of a typical day.
Tracking KPIs & Metrics
The performance of SaaS products has to be on point, as even minor issues can harm the user experience, as well as compromise the reputation of the provider.
Looking into various important KPIs and metrics is therefore a priority, and managers can use sophisticated product analytics software to streamline this process significantly.
In addition to helping troubleshoot issues that are brewing behind the scenes, the data assessed through such tools can offer up insights into user behavior and provide an indication of what steps can be made to improve future iterations of the platform.
Facilitating cross-team communications
Another responsibility that falls at the feet of SaaS product managers is ensuring that when different teams with different backgrounds and specialist skills are brought together, their communications are handled in an efficient and productive way.
This can mean demystifying the statements made by engineers so that business development experts aren’t bamboozled by what they’re trying to get across. It can involve mediating on conflicts that arise, and also stewarding discussions regarding how to solve specific problems that have occurred, or are in the process of unfolding.
That’s not to say that a person in this role will spend much of their time in meetings, because this can vary wildly from day to day. But sometimes, being on top of your interpersonal skills will be essential for long periods.
Coming up with new concepts
Arguably the most fulfilling as well as the most challenging aspect of working as a product manager in an SaaS environment is dreaming up the ideas for fresh projects that may eventually get launched as fully-fledged cloud software solutions.
There are several stages to this, including the basic brainstorming of product concepts in which anything goes, followed by the whittling down of a larger pool to a smaller selection of viable examples, before taking the best of the bunch and clarifying the use case and target market.
Strategizing for success
No successful SaaS product reaches peak popularity by accident; it only happens if there’s a solid strategy in place to underpin each step on its journey to dominance.
Product managers are typically tasked with putting together the strategic elements of new projects, as well as retooling those of existing projects, so that there’s a clear and logical trajectory laid out ahead for each.
This can mean determining the KPIs and metrics for success mentioned earlier, so that you have a means of measuring the progress that’s being made.
Optimizing SaaS products post-launch
The SaaS market is incredibly competitive, so you can’t simply expect that a product will remain at the top of the tree after it has been launched and achieved that first flush of success.
Usually it’s down to the emergence of a rival solution that incumbent products have to be optimized, for performance as well as for customer engagement. And while product managers might not get down into the nitty-gritty of the code to do this, they will have to take the helm and see that this work gets done by team members.
Being a SaaS product manager might sound like a high-wire act, but with experience and training it can be very rewarding, and there’s plenty of demand for professionals in this space to justify the challenges of the role.