The Software Product Manager (SPM) is a manager of a team of Business Systems Analysts (BSAs) and the primary owner of the software product and its features. The SPM partners with the Development Manager to lead an Agile-oriented cross-functional team of software engineers, software testers, and business systems analysts who leverage software to solve real-world problems in the Terminal Operating industry.
The SPM is responsible for the product roadmap and managing the interaction between the product and projects. This includes planning major releases and other deliverables, prioritizing themes of work in the product backlog, and acting as the primary representative of the product to internal and external stakeholders. The successful SPM is a results-oriented leader who possesses strong organizational, communication, and decision-making skills, and can motivate and organize others. The SPM works with BSAs as a mentor and to oversee customer requirements and product design; with Product Engineering management peers to align on approach and best practices; with upper management to provide status on customer and internal initiatives; and with Account Management, Project Management, Professional Services, and Application Support to engage prospective customers and meet existing customers’ needs.
- Manage – Direct manager of team of BSAs. Work autonomously and with BSA Leads to task team members. Handle escalations of questions and concerns from and about BSAs.
- Lead – Mentor and empower BSAs. Provide opportunities for them to learn, grow, and make decisions while guiding them around major risks. Cultivate an effective and productive working environment within the team and between customers and other internal or external stakeholders. Exhibit behavior that yields positive, constructive, and strong relationships. Set the tone of the workplace by modeling a positive, flexible, and collaborative attitude to the BSA team and product development team at large.
- Plan – Set the product vision and roadmap. Manage all customer-driven and roadmap projects, including setting and meeting milestones and deadlines for BSAs and development. Manage release-level product planning, ensuring releases have valuable features and are not overcommitted. Proactively anticipate future opportunities, needs, problems, and deliverables for the product and the team, and create and execute on plans to take advantage of and mitigate these as appropriate.
- Manage Requirements – Discuss, vet, and approve requirements written by BSAs. Ensure the BSA team produces sufficient and useful collateral, including business requirement documents, use cases, process flow models, release notes, and functional specifications. Occasionally elicit requirements directly from customers, typically in workshops and on-site engagements.
- Oversee Product Design – Work with BSAs to brainstorm and design product solutions, drawing on strong analysis skills and current knowledge of the product, customer needs, technology trends, and design principles. Provide product direction and advocate for sustainable solutions that align with this direction and preserve the integrity of the product. Employ a holistic approach to determine how changing business needs will affect systems and business processes and how the system must evolve. Ultimately responsible for the product.
- Prioritize – Prioritize major efforts in the backlog, informed by Account Management, Project Management, and Application Support for customer needs, and Development Management for product sustainability needs. Determine how the development team reacts to heightened customer needs by balancing the customer’s priorities, development efficiency, prior commitments, and employee wellbeing to determine how much to compromise best practices to solve customer problems. Use this understanding to operate effectively in ambiguous and difficult situations.
- Encourage Best Practices – Work with Development Management and BSAs to set best practices for the development team. Exemplify and advocate for best practices, including enforcing and improving existing processes within the development team and in interactions with other groups.
- Support Customers – Maintain a strong empathy for our client’s customers and their needs. Understand their priorities and business drivers, and use this understanding to make good decisions with incomplete information.
- Engage Stakeholders – Commonly relied upon to be the primary representative of the product for customers and internal stakeholders (including Account Management, Project Management, Professional Services, and Application Support). Consistently communicate well with these stakeholders, setting and managing expectations, clearly articulating priorities and plans, and using their feedback to adjust as appropriate. Participate and present in customer engagements.
- Coordinate and Align – Intentionally and continuously promote alignment between product development teams, both in system solutions and in common processes; between product development teams and internal stakeholders; and between the customer and our client. Keep Development Management and BSAs apprised of essential information, including customer needs and commitments. Partner with Development Management to organize responses to critical and high-priority issues. Coordinate with BSAs to manage patch releases. Work effectively across teams to achieve shared goals and objectives
- Education and Experience – B.S. or B.A. degree (MS/MBA preferred) with 5-7 work experience as a Product Manager and in a management role, or equivalent work experience as a Business Systems Analyst (or equivalent) in a software context or with Marine Terminal Business Operations or the Transportation Industry.
- Leadership – Demonstrated leadership, negotiation, coordination, and teamwork abilities in interactions with peers, reports, and cross-functional project teams. Adept at improving and reinforcing best practices in a variety of contexts.
- Communication – Well-developed communication and presentation skills: verbal, written, listening, group facilitation, and conflict management.
- Strategic Planning – Demonstrated ability to create and execute strategic and flexible plans to meet current and anticipated needs for projects, products, and people.
- Decision-Making– Comfortable prioritizing competing initiatives and conflicting needs to produce the best possible outcome. Proven ability to make good decisions with incomplete or ambiguous information.
- Business Process Acumen – Demonstrated success analyzing, documenting, and designing business processes in the context of software/process integration.
- Analytical Skills – Excellent analytical skills, close attention to detail and advanced skills supported by strong experience using MS Office applications (Excel, Word and PowerPoint) for presentation, organization, and analysis.
- SDLC – Exposure to Agile Software Development Methods, Business Reengineering Concepts & Methods.
- Culture – Must enjoy working in a dynamic, varied, and fast paced environment. Flexibility, tolerance to change, adaptation, pragmatism, and commitment are a necessity.