There are certain essential concepts every product manager should understand in the field. They include;
Outcomes and Outputs.
Outcomes are what happens when we deliver features that solve customer problems. Outputs on the other hand are the features that help make the outcome possible. They can easily be quantified and are basically the things that we work on.
A company that wants to be successful should always be outcome-driven and not output oriented.
An example of an outcome-taking company is amazon. The outcome is for people to get their choice book on time to their doorstep. While an example of an output that leads to this outcome is the add book to Cart feature or the View more details about book feature.
Project, product, and services.
Products are what deliver value consistently to customers or users without extra input from the company. For example, a Netflix movie is a Product. It delivers entertainment value to various customers repeatedly. Microsoft Word is also a product. Bill Gates does not need to do anything extra for me to be able to type on an MS document.
A product can be hardware, software, consumer packaged goods, or anything in which human participation or intervention is not needed to provide value to the user.
Services unlike products require human labour to deliver value to the user. For example, design companies. If a human does not design a logo, no value is delivered. Services require manpower for it to serve the user.
A project on the other hand is a discrete scope of work that has a predetermined aim. It has a deadline, milestones, and specific outputs that will be delivered. When projects are completed, the aim is reached and it is closed. You move to the next project. This is what differentiates a project from a product. A product requires nurturing. It needs to be grown to maturity. It keeps evolving until it is fully grown and never gets abandoned even though it might be declining. Unless it is killed, a product that is well done keeps evolving.
For a beginner in the field, these are some common essential concepts you will hear about and have to deal with on a daily basis. Be sure to familiarize yourself with them.