Once Product Development has shipped to market, Product Management is a competency that combines knowledge and proven practices that nurture products once they are brought to life and strengthens and builds them up as they age.
Typically, products have broad ecosystems that surround them, from sale to service to support. Knowing each stakeholder's roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities within that ecosystem is essential to successful product management.
Product Development is a natural component of Product Management. Great products are never introduced to markets and abandoned. Instead, they are nurtured, iterated, and often enough, reimagined. Product development can be as simple as improving an existing process, building new features, or developing entirely new product versions.
As Product Managers work with stakeholders and product teams to understand the needs of the products, the backlog of issues to address and areas to innovate will build. Developing product roadmaps helps achieve alignment on primary objectives and is essential in motivating teams to row in the same direction.
Backlogs can become unwieldy without the practical methods to prioritize items efficiently. The amount of rigor applied to any priority framework will depend on the product and product support team. It might be a simple as weekly standup meetings or more criteria driven with weighted scoring models to inform decision making.
The cost of conformance is almost always less expensive than the cost of nonconformance. Unlike a cost-benefit analysis on a product or endeavor in consideration, cost of quality (COQ) analyzes existing product costs. Understanding the cost and resource demands to keep products future compliant is an often overlooked business measurement and thus generally unplanned.
A key role for Product Managers is to stay interested in all stakeholder relationships and feelings about the products by actively supporting, building, or administering multi-directional feedback systems. PMs get the quality and quantity of feedback necessary to understand how products are performing and ensuring that stakeholders feel heard and valued in the feedback loop.
Managing products requires sufficient agility of your product teams to respond and meet new demands. Whether keeping pace with technological advancements, meeting new external regulator requirements, or innovating to better compete in the market and create differentiation, PMs must be able to lead with Agile management principles to drive products forward. Maintaining product backlogs and working with scrum teams to cycle through PBIs is central to a functional product team.
With the rise of Product Management as a professional field of expertise in increasing demand, so is the increase of systems designed to help PMs do their best work. Systems help organizations with many products and departments, where teams have to work cross-functionally to meet organizational demands and objectives. Great systems will help product teams capture and catalog feedback into product backlogs, solicit insights from internal stakeholders, gain end-user feedback, prioritize work activities in boards or sprints, and more.
Effective Product Managers will always think through the lifecycle of their product backlogs by casting them into five main buckets; All work in the pipeline, only the work currently in progress, all the work completed, the progress of completed tasks, and goals achieved. With a natural start to finish journey, PMs perpetually consider the primary objectives and how tasks contribute to the desired outcomes for the product.
Motivating teams around product direction using storytelling is one of the most potent techniques PMs have to translate product demands into narratives that stakeholders and product teams understand. Day-to-day tasks build into stories, stories build into epics, and epics turn into themes or initiatives for the product. Following this journey helps frame where products can better achieve compliance and meet calls for innovation.
Product Managers need to have quality intelligence to understand where attention is needed for the products they manage. Capturing intelligence in a standard and systematized manner provides transparency into real-time stakeholder feedback and demands. Experienced PMs will continually curate insights and synthesize that knowledge into actual decisions
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