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Product Manager, Obligations and Authority

The product manager controls the development and marketing budget for the product. Except in special cases as noted with respect to the GM, this individual has the authority to hire, fire, promote, and generally do anything necessary to get a product into the hands of the customer.

A particularly challenging question is: To what extent does the PM have the authority to disregard the service centers of the company, to perform those services either inside his/her product line, or to go outside the company for that service? This question has a multiple part answer. First, the corporate service centers are effectively subsidized, simply because their space, heat, and electricity are all paid for out of overhead, so the PM has a real profitability incentive to use the internal service. Second, the PM does have an obligation to make his/her product complement other Autodesk products in terms of marketing, documentation, quality and integration. Hence, using a service center which is set up to maintain corporate standards will usually make life easier in achieving that goal. On the other hand, the PM really does need the authority to succeed, not the excuse to fail. Consequently, the PM can get released from the need to use corporate services with an articulate explanation of the reasons for the GM and the Executive Review Board.

Editor: John Walker