Every product manager is constantly juggling the needs of the business, the tech and the user experience. For great project managers, the exercise extends far beyond the simple three-ball cascade.

As best practices are refined across the industry and methodologies and tools become more sophisticated, a product manager’s role might be better compared to juggling torches while riding a unicycle. A mastery of the skill set involves pushing one’s team forward while adapting to trends and advances in their fields.

According to both Brian Brower, chief product officer at Tovala, and Shafiq Shariff, SVP of product and innovation at Pangea, using rich data sources and deep analytical tools are a cornerstone of the evolving product manager role. For both product teams, this data focus has helped move away from an iteration-first approach to development and toward more meaningful and focused product tests.

At Attain, Nick Wieczorek, head of product for growth, this data-centric approach is focused on understanding the business’ profit and loss reporting. But new tools mean that understanding the profit and loss report goes far beyond monthly projections, and instead offer deeper insights across tech, finance and product teams.

“The days of end-of-month lifetime value calculations are long gone – now we can get real-time metrics to help us move faster,” Wieczorek said.

Built In Chicago heard from Brower, Wieczorek and Shariff about how their product managers are continuing to demonstrate excellence — and what they’re looking for as their teams grow.


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