There are tons of articles out there discussing the duties of product managers and outlining how PMs can be successful in their roles. 

However, there isn’t a lot of information about what PMs don’t do.

In other words, what are some tasks or duties that are often mistakenly assigned to PMs? What do people often assume that PMs do that falls completely outside of their job duties? Or perhaps, what do PMs typically do that should be delegated to another person within the organization? 

To answer these questions, we turned to some experienced product managers to find out what they had to say. Keep in mind that the insights from each expert are based on their own experiences and views. We suggest seeing these perspectives as part of a bigger conversation, not as the final word. Remember, every expert’s take is influenced by their own work and background.

These experts have given us their opinions on what PMs do not do: 

Read on for their hot takes on what product managers should not be taking responsibility for!

Thanks to Nikki Carter for crafting this piece for GoPractice.

Nikki Carter is a journalist and editor. 

She’s worked with companies like Indeed, Skillshare, and Wistia. Her articles have been published in Business Insider, The Muse, and more. 

PMs are not inherently client-facing  

First, product managers generally are not client-facing or customer-support personnel. There is a clear distinction between those roles and that of the PM. Unlike account managers and customer support staff, PMs have the advantage of being able to solicit direct and unfiltered feedback, separate and apart from other issues. This feedback is necessary to iterate the product. 

It should not be assumed that PMs will jump in to resolve customer support issues, either. Instead, customer support teams should be responsible for issue resolution, and PMs can intervene when fixes are necessary.

Katya Sapozhnina, Director of Product at Octane AI

Having served in the roles of both an account manager and a customer support manager before transitioning into Product Management, I understand the distinct nuances of these positions. 

PMs are not inherently client-facing roles like my previous positions. This clear distinction allows PMs to solicit unfiltered, direct feedback from users, unconstrained by the typical concerns linked with contracts or billing issues. It creates a space where users can freely express their genuine thoughts, including negative feedback, to PMs, ensuring that this input is harnessed constructively to refine the product. 

Meanwhile, client-facing personnel, like account managers, concentrate on fostering and maintaining client relationships, smoothing over any concerns to ensure a positive client experience. This delineation of roles ensures that while the client relationship is preserved and strengthened, product development is simultaneously driven by authentic user feedback, leading to a product that truly resonates with its user base and addresses their real needs.

Scott Fincher, Senior Product Manager, TransLogic

Understanding customer pain points is critical to any product manager’s success, at a high level. However, some organizations may take this too far, expecting product managers to play an active role in resolving specific customer problems. This is a trap product managers must avoid. 

Typically, there is a customer support team specifically tasked with helping a customer resolve an issue. If needed, that team will escalate the issues; if it is determined that a fix is needed in a future product release, only then would product management help prioritize the effort against other initiatives.

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PMs are not the default crisis unit for minor product issues

Building on the last point, product managers are not the first line of defense against minor product issues. Instead, PMs should be free to focus on the product’s vision and ultimate roadmap.

Katya Sapozhnina, Director of Product at Octane AI

PMs should not be perceived as the default crisis unit for every minor product issue. Their fundamental role is to envision and strategically navigate the product’s trajectory. Implementing rigorous testing of all features is essential, as it preemptively identifies and mitigates potential issues, thus reducing the frequency of fires that require immediate attention. 

Additionally, maintaining a collaborative relationship with the support team is crucial; it ensures PMs are promptly informed about significant concerns that may necessitate immediate intervention.

While a dedicated support team is indispensable for addressing urgent technical challenges, PMs must focus on their primary responsibility: crafting the product’s vision and roadmap. Being pulled into client-facing roles or technical support roles not only blurs the lines of departmental responsibilities, but also shifts the PM’s focus away from pivotal strategic tasks. 

PMs are tasked with the discernment to distinguish between issues that require swift action and those that can be managed as part of the product’s regular evolution. This balance between proactive feature testing, close communication with support teams, and strategic prioritization is key to ensuring that PMs maintain their strategic course and are not consistently sidetracked by every minor hiccup. 

PMs should be looking at vision and strategy, not execution

Product managers are the bridge between market needs and a company’s competitive advantage. As such, they should be focused on vision and strategy versus the more minute execution-related tasks.

George Yang, Founder of Yanre Fitness and Oxygenark

The job of product managers is to be the single point that connects market needs and company capabilities and helps shape the product out of this convergence point. 

For example, by launching our fitness app, a product manager did a little market research and outlined the key features according to user feedback. But what these key features look like technically was determined by our skillful developers.

Product managers are so critical to direct a product’s strategic focus and keep their team aligned with the direction. It is important that they should know to what extent they ought to be involved in such duties, keeping them at the higher order of strategy and vision without micromanaging more nuanced executional details that others have been better trained for.

PMs should not single-handedly set pricing or business models 

Echoing the same sentiments as some of the other experts, this one focuses on the financials of the business. Collaborative decision-making is important, and PMs should engage with other teams when it comes time to develop comprehensive models.

Salil Sethi, Founder of

This is based on my experience helping technology product companies as a McKinsey consultant, as well as being a board member and advisor to several startups, especially MIT startups participating in the prestigious MIT Delta Ventures program.

Product managers should not single-handedly set pricing or business models. Successful PMs collaborate with finance, marketing, and sales for well-rounded, market-responsive strategies.

As an example of why this is true: A product manager for a large data provider with access to MLS data (e.g., home prices) signed a long-term contract with several financial services players to provide the data product. The contract did not have enough guardrails or usage-based pricing, which ended up costing the data provider tens of millions of dollars. 

This situation could have been avoided by including finance, marketing, and business operations teams. This is one example where the focus on shipping quickly and finding high-prestige clients ended up hurting the company’s bottom line.

Product managers are not project OR people managers

Product managers are what their job title suggests: managers of products, and not anything else. PMs should be seen as working in a discipline separate from people managers and project leaders. 

Involving PMs in tasks that are heavy on project or people management takes their focus away from their primary responsibility of identifying and solving valuable problems and ultimately affects the product. 

Scott Fincher, Senior Product Manager, TransLogic

Product management is its own distinct discipline. So, too, is project management. I’ve worked—successfully—in smaller companies where project management is shared between product and engineering, depending on the development stage. 

More typically though, project management is not what effective product managers should be doing with their time. Expecting product managers to drive schedules and chase down deliverables distracts from their primary responsibility of uncovering problems worth solving.

Aditya Sharma, Senior Product Manager at Joveo

PMs are not responsible for launches. Although several companies task product managers with the delivery of a particular product/feature, ideally that action item should be on either the project/scrum manager or engineering manager. 

Managing scrum calls, assigning tasks, handling estimations, and managing inter-team dependencies—these are add-on tasks for product managers, and ones they are not experts on. Hence, it’s generally better if the product manager can focus on decision-making about problems and solutions and not execution.

Product managers also do not manage anyone. PMs work with almost all the departments of an org, but no one reports to PMs. Although PMs are expected to define tasks, outcomes, and success for engineers, designers, or marketers, they cannot make them do the work. PMs need to influence others’ work without authority. PMs manage the product and not the people.

PMs do not make decisions without input from other teams 

Product managers don’t work in a vacuum. They may play a critical role in influencing a final decision, but they are not the solitary decision maker. Instead, they may spend their time proposing solutions, informing others on the team, and gaining buy-in from executives and leadership. 

Aditya Sharma, Senior Product Manager at Joveo

Product managers are not the sole decision-makers. PMs empower other teams to make a wise decision and generally bigger/bolder decisions are influenced with negotiations, convincing, and evangelism. Product managers drive decision-making for the product. They propose what problems need to be solved, why, when, and how—and then they need to get every leader/stakeholder’s buy-in. 

PMs generally cannot decide on their own without other key stakeholders’ alignment; doing so does not yield great results in the long run and is detrimental to success. 


According to our expert panel, there are many things that are often confused with product management that are inherently not part of the job. 

Specifically, product managers should not be client-facing or required to solve minor issues. While the role is definitely collaborative, they should not be responsible for the very technical execution logistics and should not be setting pricing and business models on their own.

Product managers are also not project or people managers, and they generally should not be the sole decision-maker in a situation. Keeping these factors in mind can balance the role of a PM with that of others on the team and allow them to focus their energies on the product and high-level strategy. 

Do you agree or disagree with these perspectives? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Write to us at

Illustration by Anna Golde for GoPractice