This article covers important aspects in product management role, and how will your job look like as product manager.
What is Product?
Let’s start with what is meant by a product.
English definition of word ‘product’ is:
- an article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale.
- a thing or person that is the result of an action or process.
Here key things that we can observe are:
- Something is getting produced or refined
- There is set of actions or a defined process for production
- End objective of this process is to generate sale
Example of a product:
In this article, we will specifically see online business products, and product management of these online businesses.
What is Product Management?
Now, let us cover what is product management and what are the different components in it.
Definition of product management can be stated as:
The process of creating/ modifying/monitoring a product, with end objective of sale.
This process includes various steps including ideation, product research, market research, business justification, product planning and forecasting, product development process, software development, product verification, product pricing, product launch and product analytics. The objective of each of these stages is to empower next step of product stage.
Product management involves working closely with various stakeholders in the product lifecycle.
Product management stages
List of major product management stages
- Conceive product idea
- Feasibility check
Conceive product idea
This is the first stage of product management and also product development. As a product manager, you need to make a list of to-do things based on internal factors and external factors.
New ideas: On basis of feedback from sales and marketing team, who are the first line of touch with customers, you will make a list of what customers are asking.
Product improvement: On basis of feedback from customer support, you will get to know things which customers are facing issues with.
Technical improvement/advancement: Your technology team will also come with technical improvement, which could make your product more efficient
Business direction: On basis of your business direction and long term vision, you will create list of things which will help in achieving the vision.
Customer survey: Direct surveys and market research activities will help you list down important requests and possible gaps in your product.
Competitor research: Constant tracking on competitors and their products will help you benchmarking your own product, and listing down gaps
Reports and industry direction: Reports and whitepapers will help in tracking your product progress with respect to industry. You will get to know whether you are following best practices and are future ready at any given time.
Regulations and legal issues: You also need to make sure that your product is updated with respect to latest regulations by government or industry body. You also need to make sure that there are no legal issues like copyrighting, or anything involved with your product.
Tools used for requirement list creation by product managers
- MS Office (Excel, Word)
- Google drive (Spreadsheet, document)
Top Software Requirements Gathering Tools/Software
- Agile Designer
- IBM Rational Door
Top market research tools for product manager
- Google Forms
One the requirement gathering is done, and as a product manager you have shortlisted list of things according to factors involving revenue impact, customer delight, technology improvement, budget etc. One the model for selecting feature is based on Kano model.
In this stage, the most important features are creating well documented product roadmap and prepare budget (or financial plan) for your project. This stage also involves convincing people involve in business decisions on your plan, getting your plan approved and budget released.
Top tools used for product roadmap are:
Once the product plan is approved, product road map created and budget allocated, it is time for next action- product development. This is the stage which involves software development of your idea into reality. Product manager works in close with technical team including UI/UX designer, front end engineer, functional engineer, mobile app developer, dev ops engineer and more such technical profiles.
The most common method of working with technology team is using scrum. Here is snap shot of how scrum looks like (source: Wikimedia)
Some of online tools for scrum
- Vivify Scrum
Once the development of product is complete, it is time to make sure that end product is as per original expectation. This is done through different types of testing by QA team.
Here is list of types of testing which is done.
- Unit Testing
- Integration testing
- Interface testing
- System testing
- Regression testing
- User acceptance
Non Functional Testing:
- Documentation testing
- Installation testing
- Performance testing (Load, Stress, Scalability, Volume)
- Reliability testing
- Security testing
Image source: hackr io
Once we have successful product development stage, it is time to move to next stage: launch. Official roll out of product is done, different teams (non-technology) are involved, and demo/product introduction sessions are taken. If the product involves new features for any particular team (eg: sales team), then detailed training is conducted for whole team.
This phase also involves working with marketing team in PR/advertisement of newly launched product.
Product management is a continuous process. The product which we have developed needs to measured (from business prospective, from customer prospective, from technical prospective etc).
Various product analytics tools are used for measuring performance of the product
- Google Analytics
- Adobe Analytics
These software gives required tracking data and visualization charts. Product managers usually dig deep in the data(working with data team), and uses tool like Tableau, Excel, SQL for getting more information from the given data.
Customer feedback is taken through online tracking as well as customer surveys (phone call, email, questionnaire, interviews etc).
Sales, customer retention metric is tracked to check impact of product launch on generating new sales and increasing customer delight.
This article contains detailed note on what is product management, what are the different stages of product management, and what is the normal routine of product managers.
Do share your doubts/query in the discussion thread below.
This article will also help you in preparing for product management roles. We will be publishing more articles on product management as well as how to prepare for product management roles in future.
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