To flourish in the marketplace, products must offer features that meet customers’ needs. Developing a product or service without a clear understanding of the problem it’s intended to solve is unlikely to produce a successful outcome.
That’s why the product management team plays such an important role in a company’s performance. It supports each step in a product’s life cycle — from ideation to delivery and future adjustments — making sure that the product or service offers functional, in-demand features that comply with industry and regulatory guidelines.
The director of product management leads all members of the product management team, ensuring they perform their work efficiently and effectively. To succeed in their role, these professionals rely on a broad array of knowledge and skills in areas that range from product development to communication. Enrolling in a Master of Science in Product Management degree program can help professionals develop these skills and prepare to pursue a career as a director of product management.
What Is a Director of Product Management?
The director of product management plays a crucial role in product development/management. Often taking responsibility for the performance of a product or service, the director of product management establishes expectations for outcomes, develops a team, and supervises production processes.
Directors of product management oversee the entire product life cycle, which begins when the product is in development and ends when the company stops its distribution. Their work can focus on creating a new product or on maintaining — or improving — an existing one.
Why Is the Director of Product Management Important?
By guiding the work of product managers and other product professionals, directors of product management help to ensure that a product’s plans and requirements meet its established goals.
Additionally, because they lead the process of determining which product features their company’s target customers are seeking, and then ensuring that their team brings those features to life, their work plays a key role in building a customer base. Among respondents to a 2022 product management survey from ProductPlan, a product development software provider, 40% reported that product experience was the most important factor in attracting new customers.
Director of Product Management Job Description
Directors of product management work in various industries, supervising the development and launch of products of all types — from clothing to computer applications. While their responsibilities vary according to the type of product they are working on, as well as the industry they work in, most perform functions related to staffing, product management, and collaboration.
Director of Product Management Responsibilities
The director of product management position is part of an overall product team. Within a corporate structure, they may report to the vice president of product or chief product officer (CPO). A director of product management’s job description typically includes responsibilities such as:
- Developing new product ideas and designs
- Establishing objectives and success measures and assessing progress toward them
- Overseeing the product development life cycle
- Hiring, training, and managing product managers and senior product managers
- Coordinating efforts with leaders in other departments, including marketing, engineering, and sales
- Conducting market research and conveying customer needs to the product team and executives
- Securing the necessary resources for product development, marketing, and distribution
- Ensuring that products comply with applicable laws and regulations
Director of Product Management Industries
Directors of product management often work in tech, relying on their expertise in areas such as computer programming and e-commerce and overseeing products like software platforms or communication tools. But they may hold positions in any industry.
The job description for a director of product management at a financial company might call for someone with a background in financial services who can oversee the development, launch, and maintenance of a banking app, for example. A director of product management job at a biotechnology firm might require someone with knowledge about that field who can handle responsibilities associated with creating diagnostic tools.
Director of Product Management Salary
As team leaders with the ability to have a significant impact on organizational success, directors of product management typically earn competitive salaries. The median annual salary for a director of product management was about $151,200 in March 2023, according to Payscale.
A variety of factors can affect individual salaries, with Payscale reporting that the median salary for the highest-paid directors of product management was about $194,000. Factors that can influence an individual’s salary include:
Directors of product management with 20 or more years of experience had a median annual salary of about $157,500 in March 2023, according to Payscale. Early-career professionals with between one and four years of experience had a median annual salary of about $129,000.
Critical thinking, collaboration, and product knowledge are critical skills for any director of product management. According to Payscale, the following were among the skills associated with higher pay for this role:
- Product management
- Business strategy
- Strategic planning
The industry in which the director of product management serves also can play a role in their salary — and many directors have 10 or more years of experience in their area of focus. Employment website Indeed included the following fields among its list of highest-paying industries in 2023:
- Information technology (IT)
- Health care
Higher levels of education often are associated with higher pay. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2022 people with master’s degrees had a median annual salary that was nearly $12,000 greater than that of people with a bachelor’s degree. Many employers require that their director of product management hold a master’s degree.
Payscale notes that salaries for directors of product management in certain metropolitan areas of the United States were significantly greater than the national median. Among the locations where those in this role had the highest median salaries in March 2023 were:
- Bellevue, Washington
- Framingham, Massachusetts
- New York City
- San Francisco
- San Jose, California
Lead the Way to Successful Products and Services
Effective product management is a key ingredient in any business’s success. Directors of product management lead the plans and processes that drive the success of products, attracting customers and building revenue. If you’re interested in developing the knowledge and skills required to pursue this high-level role, explore the Regis College online Master of Science in Product Management program.
Courses in this program explore the fundamentals of product management while also allowing you to focus your studies to prepare for a career in IT, finance, or pharmaceuticals/biotechnology. Additionally, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a top-ranked online program that provides the flexibility working professionals need.
Discover how enrolling in the Regis College online Master of Science in Product Management program can help you achieve your career goals.