In the Silicon Valley, the product manager is a role that tech companies have always had (at least since I started in tech in’95.)
In web companies they were first called producers, and in software, product managers, but by 98–99 they were all product managers.

The product manager was often the first role hired post-founder in companies, and tended to do everything from design to running metrics to debugging. Good ones did deep product strategy, but when one person does so much, they often need help. It’s magical when a designer and a PM stop the turf battles and partner to make great product. Doesn’t happen nearly enough.

I’ll be honest, I have never worked with or heard of a designer expected to do “deep product strategy.” Firms and occasional senior individuals are hired to do design strategy (how will our product be messaged and presented to our marketplace?) which leads to feature and product decisions. And thus designers ended up doing product strategy via that back door.

Your mileage may be different, just sharing my perspective.

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Designing business, and the business of design. www.eleganthack.com

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