There are always more ideas for creating various products than opportunities to finance their production and promotion. Product management helps to correctly set priorities and find the optimal strategy for the company’s development. Product management involves planning all business activities analyzing their ideal order. Equally important is the ability to stop creating irrelevant products – product management can help release the right product at the right time. Product management is also responsible for marketing activities that motivate potential customers to pay attention to the offer.
What Is Product Management?
Product management is a sequence of several global processes:
- Control and correction of product development.
- Bringing the finished product to market.
- Support and upgrade of solutions offered to customers.
The day-to-day responsibilities of product managers include:
- Researching the situation in the desired market segment, studying competitors and the characteristics of potential customers.
- Drawing up a strategy for the development and deployment of the product based on the data obtained the formulation of goals.
- Building a scheme for exchanging information between different company departments, coordinating the development, and laying out the necessary actions, taking into account customer feedback.
Tactical maneuvering tracking details and nuances are not the tasks of these specialists. Instead, they deal with larger issues and show attention to the consumer to determine the direction of product improvement. Why? The technology industry is brimming with innovations that are crowding out obsolete offerings. Therefore, understanding customer needs and striving to provide customized solutions is the main task of product management.
Why Is Product Management Important?
Quality product management allows the company to remain competitive in the face of ever-changing trends. First, newcomers break into a niche – it becomes more difficult to hold positions. Then global players try their hand at atypical segments for their brands. Finally, industries are losing their sharp lines of specialization – you need to test different marketing techniques to stay in the lead. Added to these questions is the complexity of determining optimal pricing and audience needs. Of course, with such various proposals, people are lost and cannot clearly state their desires.
Product managers are responsible for the order and absence of chaos in solving the described issues. They also solve the problems of comfortable interaction between product and sales departments. Their also competence includes processing feedback from consumers.
For the SaaS niche, there is another problem – the short-term relevance of the product. Product managers create roadmaps that provide an opportunity to analyze the future and invest in timely updates that follow trends.
Product Management Process
A great idea does not guarantee its transformation into a great product. Many good ideas at the startup stage require careful polishing – product management makes this possible. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for product management, but the order in which tasks are performed is similar for most companies.
Defining the problem
A product or service will have a chance of being successfully implemented if it solves a specific consumer problem or eliminates a pain point. Problems are identified quite easily – with the help of communication with customers analysis of competitors. Then, the product manager gathers together information through algorithms to evaluate problems and prioritize them. Systematization will allow you to track the status of each problem.
Quantifying the opportunity
Once a high-priority problem has been identified, analysis and opportunity assessment can begin. Here you have to carefully study the market to get acquainted with the activities of competitors. Identifying gaps in the industry and the weaknesses of competing companies will help you focus on what will be in demand. The interests of clients (that were recorded earlier) are also considered at this stage.
Researching potential solutions
Understanding the gaps in the market and the target audience’s needs makes it possible to find options for solving the problem. This could be generating a new product or adding to existing offerings. Sometimes, adding a new feature immediately takes the company to a higher level of profitability. Therefore, it is important to allocate resources wisely and build a clear roadmap.
Building an MVP
A quick product launch will not bring returns, but small flaws are acceptable if a web project can change the logic of an entire industry. It is better to start with MVP, focusing on implementing the main options. Don’t waste your energy on non-essential things when building a beta. The landing page will provide an opportunity to see the reaction to the idea and understand where to place emphasis. It is also advisable to develop a mobile version. If there is a minimum viable product, you can proceed to the next step.
Creating a feedback loop
Having an MVP allows the creation of a feedback collection system. This can be done in parallel with development processes. For example, when users have received the product, you need to check:
- Are they interacting correctly with the product?
- What improvements should be made?
At this stage, it is worth conducting interviews or surveying the audience. Clarifying questions will allow you to learn more about the nuances of consumer desires.
Setting the strategy
After going through the five stages, you can concentrate on creating a promotion strategy and formulating a vision for the long-term development of the product. Previously obtained data allows you to create a realistic roadmap for the life cycle of a new product. It must be specific, set clear goals and describe how to achieve them.
Product Lifecycle Management
The product life cycle is a set of activities implemented when a need is identified in the market. Then, the idea is formulated to support the functionality of the finished product. Implementation, marketing, strategy adjustments and other mandatory components make PLM multifaceted and critical. Among the main advantages of the process, it is worth highlighting:
- Minimization of the development period.
- Optimization of production efforts.
- Understanding when to step up when demand rises or change focus during a decline in demand.
- Effective use of marketing opportunities.
- Constructive allocation of resources (financial, personnel and others).
The end of such a cycle means the end of release and support – the closure of the project. Initially, the term referred to manufacturing industries, but later it became actively used in software development. Let’s consider the components of managing the life cycle of a technological product.
PLM makes it possible to combine design, modeling, manufacturing, and other processes. With the help of testing, you can determine the weaknesses of the project and make changes at the design stage. Corrections at the initial phase of work accelerate the pace of project formation and its launch to the market – accordingly, the company receives income earlier. In addition, lifecycle management simplifies the implementation of updates and allows you to respond to audience feedback promptly.
The bill of materials can be called the main component of PLM. The list of components of the project structure plays a crucial role in choosing the right strategy at different stages of work. It may include:
- Other options.
Specification management involves the cooperation of different departments and even companies during the design period, the choice of suppliers, determining the best tactics for presenting the finished product. The use of BOM in PLM allows you to synchronize the activities of engineers and other specialists, act more harmoniously and improve the quality of the finished product.
ETO is a unique approach that implies the maximum involvement of the target audience in the design. Receiving and quickly processing feedback, even at the early stages of creating and testing a product, allows you to bring to the market the most helpful solution adapted to customer needs. Developers, testers, sales managers, and vendors can use ETO to pre-determine which behaviors will help people positively perceive an offer and increase the frequency of its use.
Important aspects of life cycle management are minimizing development costs and organizing production without unnecessary expenses. Also, product managers take care of accelerating the receipt of the product on sale. Mistakes often need to be adjusted following market changes when designing and building products with frameworks certifications. After the start of sales, there are more such moments: a shift in the audience’s mood can force you to make changes to a product that recently seemed ideal. This area of activity is called change management.
Also, when developing products and supplies, it is necessary to track costs manage the distribution of funds at each stage. The professionalism of suppliers can also be attributed to production. In addition, all actions during the product launch will have to be discussed to prevent missed deadlines and unpleasant surprises.
Distribution and Service
When the product is produced, it’s time to start promoting it. Make sure that the target audience receives reliable data about the new product. The management of such information (PIM) will allow more active product distribution through the planned channels (direct sales, distribution, sales via the Internet). Engineers know everything about their projects, but PIM allows you to transform this knowledge into understandable information for customers.
Next, it remains to monitor the audience’s satisfaction – the product’s lifespan depends on this factor. Finally, fixing bugs and adding the latest updates will help you gain trust and stay in a segment with any level of competition.
What is Agile Product Management?
Agile product management is an iterative technique that involves breaking down each phase of a project into smaller tasks. The scheme allows you to check the correctness of the execution of actions and make changes on the go.
The main difference between flexible management and the standard methodology is the ability to change priorities and shift focus at any time. There is more feedback, which means that the likelihood of releasing a beneficial product increases.
Flexible product management requires management and subordinates to accept business dynamism readiness for frequent changes. Well-coordinated and transparent work allows you to quickly meet demand and inform customers about the product’s value. The trio of high productivity, speed, and efficiency of the company is formed thanks to:
- Divide significant goals into small subtasks.
- Encourage the self-organization of small teams.
- Permission to meddle in “someone else’s” work.
- A combination of documented specifications and personal communication.
Planning and creating a product moves to a new level. Following traditional sequential approaches considerably slows down processes, so partial product management flexibility is necessary. By the way, the failures of large-scale projects with static controlled to this technique.
Accelerating and separating processes requires more careful tracking of nuances timely making changes to the roadmap. It should also be taken into account that small priorities should not counter global goals. Reasonable management flexibility is sure to accelerate the team’s progress towards success.
Effective product management consists of support at all stages – from the inception of an idea to the launch of a finished development. Particular emphasis is placed on functionality, convenience, and usefulness for the consumer. Do you manage to beat your competitors and attract the target audience? Half of the tasks are completed. It remains only to keep the product relevant, release updates, respond wisely to feedback and follow the changes in the market.