SaaS products introduced the real concept of democracy into Web Application domain... It sooner appeals to me as OF THE CUSTOMER, FOR THE CUSTOMER By a Developer who looks it as a CUSTOMER
The reason I think the Product Managers are must for any product (Be it SaaS or an Enterprise solution) :
1. Any product needs to have a life cycle.. if products don't have life cycles development doesn't need to have life cycles. A Product Life cycle within itself means a necessity or a definition of its owner and Manager.. and who is the product Manager in this case? I don't determine a developer to be the Product Manager and I would hate to call the end user as the product Manager here..
2. I want the blue button here
Every customer makes several demands on the product. The product Managers derive these demands to a conclusive path , turn it on to as a feature that many others would like to do with a product. Imagine every developer delivering same feature in different colors at different times??? well somebody has to manage it and this somebody is no one else than the Product Manager to me...
3. Agile is a better glove, but Agile is not the placeholder
With increasing importance of Agile, like Waterfall model Agile is getting misused.. Agile is the best development approach for product development.. specially when a product is appended with features, functions and technical aspects.. Agile can support development process but need an owner who owns the product and doesn't allow sloppy developments happening all over the product.. expecting a Scrum Master , Development Manager or a Product Manager to do this is a disaster..
Many more that I can think of.. but I guess I would first like to read what Rick has to say and then post my thoughts over..