It’s no surprise that data product manager roles are increasingly coveted in the tech industry as the total amount of data created worldwide is expected to reach 175 zetabytes by 2025. After all, someone needs to manage the reams of data being created on a daily basis.

If you’re wondering what a data project manager does and why they’re so important, this blog post will fill you in.

What is a Data Product Manager?

A data product manager oversees the full lifecycle of how data is (or isn’t) used within an organization. The role is similar to that of a traditional product manager, but instead of treating data like raw material, it’s treated as a product.

They act as a data expert within an organization and are generally hired into their role with a strong background or education in data science.

The primary function of a data product manager is to balance the strategy, governance, and implementation of anything data-related, and facilitate the conversations between all impacted stakeholders — executives, engineers, analysts, other product teams, and external customers — who consume the data.

The key areas of data product work include: research, analytics, platforms, technology, infrastructure, AI/Machine Learning, and standardization.

Why You Need a Data Product Manager

In the absence of a data product manager, product responsibilities often fall to individual contributors. While this may be a short-term solve, it can create potential issues over time.

Not having someone who oversees data products from end-to-end may result in gaps between teams, especially as each team may have a different way of operationalizing data, therefore causing inconsistencies.

Plus, when you have individual contributors who aren’t data specialists working on data products, they may not have the experience or education to handle large scale data product work.

In this case, the organization runs a greater risk of errors being made or things falling through the cracks, which impacts the creation, implementation, and adoption of data-focused initiatives.

The Role of a Data Product Manager

A data product manager takes the lead in defining goals for data that align with the broader organizational vision. This includes building both short- and long-term strategies, such as defining key metrics to track success or determining the prioritization of features that fall within their scope. 

Also, they’re responsible for translating the requirements of large data initiatives into smaller, actionable pieces that can be delivered in increments and then working to allocate resources for each initiative.

Data product managers work to champion data literacy within the organization and drive adoption rates while also bridging gaps between departments and getting buy-in for data initiatives.

Finally, the data product manager is also the driver for conducting market assessments, mapping out data personas and consumer profiles, doing user interviews and testing, in addition to overseeing revenue modeling and pricing for data products.

Build Your Project Portfolio For a Data Product Manager Role

As the volume of big data continues to grow, the field of data science will need more workers than ever before. To be competitive in the field, keeping your education and skills up to date is essential.

Interested in building your project portfolio and acquiring more skills in the field of data science?

The Udacity School of Data Science gives you the opportunity to build expertise in data science, machine learning, data manipulation, visualization, and predictive analytics, to launch a successful data career.

With multiple programs to choose from, you can find the Nanodegree program that best suits your desired career path. 

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