“Great products are engineered when product managers truly understand the desired outcomes by actively listening to people, not users.”
– Michael Fountain
Before we go on to Product management it is important to understand what are the things that we need to develop a product. First comes the idea of how the product will look at the end. Second is the effort, time, and cost that is needed in its crafting.
Every business in order to flourish has to overcome lots of obstacles and devote time and efforts to it. Proper vision, strategy, product making, and marketing are the key processes to be performed.
In this blog we will focus on a particular process that is Product management and understand its functions as well as the whole idea behind it.
What is Product Management?
Product management is a function that focuses on the entire product life cycle. Right from development of a product to its pricing and marketing, the product management process covers it all.
What type of product will be suitable for the audience, what customers want, setting accurate prices for users, making products available at the right time to right people is what product management is about.
Specific personnel named Product Managers are hired for this process. In order to efficiently and effectively carry out Product management these managers have a key role. As described by Martin Erikson- Product Managers are found in between 3 things namely:
Product Management helps the company achieve its goals. This process helps in making a bridge between customers, sales, marketing and design.
Research and development department of an organization constantly comes up with different ideas and innovations to make the product more useful. Hence, Product management happens daily here.
It is important to understand the customer experience and ensure that they have a role in product development and innovation. Then only customer centric products can be developed. Product management focuses on UX as well.
A product manager is found doing all those things. In order to make Product management a success every manager must possess creative thinking skills, leadership skills, and a positive and honest attitude.
Also Read | User Interface vs User Experience
History of Product Management
Product management term has been used since 1930. During the period of the Great Depression there was a man who proposed the concept of “brand-man”. This brand man was a person who was given the responsibility of managing the product and not overall business functions.
When this idea became successful more and more businesses and organizations adopted it. Given below is a timeline of how this concept developed over the period.
In 1930, a manager at Procter & Gamble wrote about the need of product managers.
Later in 1930 McElroy convinced 2 people, Bill Hewlett and David Packard.
In 1940, Toyota started Just-in-time manufacturing activities and Hewlett Packard adopted it.
In 1970, US based companies started streamlining processes instead of devoting time on cumbersome one’s.
Then in 1980, more agile processes came into effect because of which the need of brand management arose in manufacturing and tech companies.
Then at last in 2001 Agile Manifesto mentioned how outdated processes were broken down and product management roles were adopted in unison i.e. Product Management roles were adopted by new companies.
Also Read | What is Agile?
Product Management Process
Every business has its own strategy of managing the product. In short, there is no right way to do it. This process is flexible and changes are made to it constantly depending on the environment and dynamics. Given below is the basic framework of the Product Management Process followed by companies.
Product Management Process
Defining the Problem
First and foremost step in the Product Management process is to define the problem. Finding issues like- what customer wants, what is in demand, what exactly is he looking for, is important to decipher what steps a company has to take in order to fulfill it. Which approach does the company have to use? Without having a goal it is difficult to survive and operate.
Quantifying the Opportunity
In order to quantify the available opportunities product managers come in with their customer centric approach. In Product Management it is necessary to find out the following answers before investing into any product:
The size of the total addressable market.
Will people look for alternate measures? If yes, then how severe it can be.
Will customers invest in alternate options?
Researching Potential Solutions
Once we find the addressable market size the next step in the Product Management process is to look for potential solutions. We can find out whether or not we are capable enough to find the solutions.
Missing out on this step can lead to bad results. Directly investing into an idea without looking for solutions cannot guarantee success of a product in the market.
Building an MVP
Once a solution is validated we can jump to the next step that is building an MVP. Product development can begin at this stage. MVP stands for minimum viable product. It means creating a simple product to test its functionality instead of going into complications.
For example: creating a prototype of a product for testing it before actually launching the final product in the market. It will help in validation and getting customer feedback.
MVP can help not in testing the product but also in checking out the market demand and positioning of the said product. We can make changes so as to fit it in the market and based on customer needs.
Creating a Feedback loop
The most important thing for a business is customer feedback. Getting their validation and seeing them use the product is the main goal. After an MVP is made, customer feedback is invited.
This helps the product managers to check the viability of the product in the market. Managers can figure out whether customers are liking it or not. The Product Management team has to take feedback seriously and ensure that they react to each one and synthesize the best results from it.
The reason we call this step a feedback loop is due to the fact that companies must close the open loop i.e. they need to inform the customers that their feedback is received and looked into.
Setting the Strategy
Once MVP becomes successful it is time to actually invest in the product idea. The Product Management team can prepare a product strategy now. A strategy to improve the product, make changes as per need, bringing innovative ideas on the table.
The strategy made should be flexible and reasonable such that the goals and objectives can be fulfilled. Most of all it should convince the stakeholders that the product is worth investing for. It is important to make the root strong to avoid conflicts and disagreements in the future.
After developing an MVP, a sound Product Management system and a flexible strategy it is time to execute everything. Development of a roadmap to start production and bring the final product to the market.
We analyze the Product Management process to find out the best development activities which will make the whole process faster and more efficient.
Also Read | Agile Business Analyst
Product Management is all about the right strategy. It is the most important organization function which deals with decisions about production, development and marketing of the product.