The Exchange team recently put up a recruiting site, called ExchangeYourCareer.com. On it, they have a typically irreverent, but insightful description of the job of PM. I've reproduced it below:
You are the center of the hurricane, the eye of the product development storm. You have passion and more, you have vigor. You are fueled by pure energy and endless drive. You are reading this and wondering why it's not in bullet-points because that would have been more efficient. You are working on a game that merges poker with chess in your spare time because neither game uses your full capabilities and talents. You have no use for extraneous clutter or mundane activities and you wonder what is holding up the full-scale integration of robots into the home – its 2007 already and doing the dishes remains as mundane and inefficient as it ever was. You are thinking that this job description is taking too long to read, and you are right. So, here is the rest of it in bullet points.
- You are passionate about working directly with customers, able to clearly articulate customers requirements and pains to executives, architects and developers.
- You have experience building strong teams and have a passion for mentoring.
- The ability to work with multiple teams to develop a plan to provide this value to the customers.
- You understand how software features will impact and/or modify the marketplace once they are shipped.
- You have a love of innovation and the ability to think through big, long term ideas.
- Demonstrated expertise at prioritization and project management.
- You are hands-on with software development, and passionate about user experience, both as an end-user and administrator.
Descriptions of other roles in a similar style can be found on the site.
* Oh, stop laughing.