What is Product Management?
Product Management is the organisational task for all aspects of a
product’s life cycle. From the origination of ideas to development to deployment to
pricing, and finally to customer experience.
The best way to build your product is to have a Product Manager who plays the role of the customer’s spokesperson and makes sure the customer’s feedback is heard and understood. When you build a product with customers being the focal point, the product performs better in the market. Having a product manager who overlooks all the aspects of the product ensures that the product is released regularly keeping up with the change and upgradation in the technologies, with new features for the customers.
25 years experience product veteran Martin Eriksson has explained Product Management as the joining point of User Experience / Customer, Technologies / Developers, and Business.
Let us see how Martin Eriksson has explained the Product Management role
- User Experience / Customers - Product Management should be a spokesperson representing the customer inside the company. They should focus on User Experience and be vocal about the feedback.
- Developers / Technologies - Product management plays a vital role in the company’s developers’ routine activities. Product Management should have in-depth knowledge about the technologies used by the developers.
- Business / Product Owner - Product Management acts as a bridge between Customers, Developers and Designer, and the Business / Product Owner to achieve business goals.
What is the Role of Product Management?
The main objective of Product Management is to survey and understand the customer’s needs to provide the best product to the customers. Saying this, the main responsibility of Product Management changes depending on the size of the company. In large companies, a team of product managers work on a product. The drawback is gathering all the stakeholders to agree on their findings or survey results. On the other hand, product managers in small companies spend less time deciding on the survey results. Product Management should try to exceed customer’s expectations and be as close as possible to the innovative future growth of the product.
Let us look at the main job roles of Product Management / Manager
- Research - The Product Manager should conduct a survey or research and get into the market to obtain as much information on the market and competitors.
- Strategy - The information gathered in the previous step should now be sculpted into a strategic plan. The product manager should incorporate companies goals, an outline of the product with the feedback received from customers. A product manager should even suggest features and what will be the best time to launch the product. At this stage, the product manager should build a product roadmap to be followed by different departments in the company.
- Communication - Here, all the efforts, finding, analysis of the product should be communicated to crucial stakeholders across all the departments involved in the product development process to launching the product. These stakeholders should accept the strategy and suggest any changes if required to go ahead. The crucial stakeholders are Investors, Product Owners, Product Development Head, Marketing Head, and Sales Head. The Product Manager should constantly communicate with these stakeholders.
- Coordinating Development - Now that the strategy is accepted by all the stakeholders, it’s time to execute the plan. In this step, the Product Manager acts as the bridge for communication and tracking the work progress between different departments like Development, Marketing, and Sales. The progress should be reported to Investors or Product Owners at regular intervals.
- Analysing Data and Feedback - Once the product is ready, it will be tested multiple times before the product launch. After the launch of the product, the product manager should collect all the data and feedback from customers and the market. Then the product manager should evaluate what worked for the product and what was criticised. The product manager should create a detailed report on basis of data analysed, suitable changes and up-gradation should occur, and the product should launch the latest version of the product.
Why is Product Management important in an Organisation?
The role of Product Management is important and essential in an
organisation. Product Management helps in fusing development, customer experience,
marketing, and sales. The role can even be called “Product Caretaker”.
In the present high pace world, the organisation has to regularly innovate to stay connected with customers. Product management plays a crucial role in the success of the product. An optimized Product Management can increase the organisation’s profit by 30% and more in some cases.
What is a product roadmap?
Once your product’s vision is finalised and the strategy is planned
out, now it is time to prepare a roadmap to track when and what should be done or
delivered. Your product roadmap should contain all the substantial work required to
fulfil your overall business goals and align with the strategy planned. What goes on
the roadmap is purely decided by a product manager.
Roadmaps are a lively or active component in product management. A product manager should constantly update and make changes to the roadmap based on customers' changing needs, the market’s changing needs or any factors which can affect the product delivery.
Why is the product roadmap important?
Product roadmap plays an important role in strategic plan execution.
The roadmap will oblige internal teams to follow and focus on their work to achieve
company goals. With the help of roadmaps, teams can plan work items for the next few
days or the next few weeks. Teams will know when to release a feature or work item.
A roadmap can visually communicate to external partners on the process and changes
in the product.
A good product roadmap should incorporate cross-functional teams and all elements related to the product. For Example, the IT team can upgrade their infrastructure to improve the product, and the marketing team can plan an effective product launch. The more roadmapping process is inclusive, the better organizational support the product manager will have in releasing the product.
How to make a product roadmap?
Once the product manager has collected all the company goals and
product plan, they can then decide which feature should be released at what stage of
the product development process and create a timeline for each release.
The product roadmap will depend on the development methodology used by the company to develop the product. If the company is following Agile methodology, then the product roadmap will be flexible to changes required by the customers or the market during the product development. If the company chooses the traditional waterfall methodology, the roadmap will be inflexible. Any unexpected changes cannot be added while building the product.
Let us look at the process to follow while preparing a product roadmap
- Strategy - The first step towards preparing the product roadmap is to have well-defined goals, vision and strategy for the product. A powerful strategy will consist of important information, which will help teams to develop a competitive attitude towards the product’s goals and visions. In this case, important information can be the target audience, their requirements, how does the company plan to market the product.
- Review and manage features - A product manager should prioritise the feature and queue them in the order it needs to be developed. The features can be compared to their need, time required to build, impact on strategy, and other factors.
- Organise - Now that a product manager has organised the features according to their priorities. They can select which methodology suites the best and start working on the timeline required by each feature. The best way to organise it is to put all this information into a Gantt chart. Gantt chart is the best tool to depict the product process or the product manager can use any online tool available.
- Different level roadmaps - There can be different roadmaps created on a higher level for product owners or stakeholders, internal and external teams working on the product. The product manager should consider a few questions before making the roadmap, like, Who will see the roadmap? What is the purpose? What information will be relevant?. For example, a roadmap made for the development team will not be of any use to the marketing and sales team.
The best product management tools
- API Fuse
As many technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data handling are making greater importance and will continue to become essential in daily lives. The requirement of Saas is likely to escalate and so is the demand for Product Management.
Contact us to find out how the Techpearl team implements Product Management practices to develop the most efficient software products for your business.