Product management dates back to the 1930s with the concept of “brand management” pioneered at Proctor & Gamble. The memo that started it all sounds more like modern product marketing than product management, but your mileage may vary.

Others point to 1990s Microsoft, which introduced the role of a “program manager.” The program manager was part of the Engineering department. It was their job to ensure all aspects of the product development process were aligned and working together. Program management was steeped in technical processes, but also considered how product decisions would impact the product’s end users.

The best recap I dug up on how modern product management evolved is by Aakash Gupta. At the very least, it resonated with my experience. I’m buying that modern day product management, regardless of its origins, began at Hewlett Packard. The primary function was to serve as the bridge between Engineering and Marketing.

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