Day 6: Product Management Key Areas

As we discussed about Product Life cycle, then next comes to our mind that how we are managing our product in different phases of a product. If we follow a framework, then it becomes helpful and easy to adhere to the key areas with expected output, meeting  specific product roles and identifying gaps in our day to day job.

The key areas are as below:

  1. Vision and Leadership:
  2. Product Life Cycle Management:
  3. Product Strategy and Market Research:
  4. Business Model and Financials:
  5. Product Roadmap:
  6. User Experience and Product Backlog:

More or less, all these key areas are used in each and every phase of a Product’s life cycle.

The core areas are particularly important for doing a great job as a product manager or product owner. You should hence strive to become knowledgeable in all of them. The supporting areas are also important for your work, especially when you manage commercial products, but generally not as crucial.

Vision and Leadership: Like everyone does have a vision, similar each product should have a vision, without that we cannot manage it or it cannot sustain in the market. With this, working as an effective product manager requires the appropriate leadership skills, by which we can be able to establish a shared vision, set realistic goals, and describe the benefits that our product should deliver. A skillset of active listening skill to others and negotiate to reach agreement and get buy-in. At the same time, we should not shy away from making the right product decisions even if they are tough and do not please everyone. We should be able to manage the stakeholders including customers and users, senior management, development, marketing, sales, support, and other business groups that must contribute to the product success, which needs an effective communication, influencing and managing a broad range of people from diverse backgrounds including a cross-functional development team skillset.

Product Life Cycle Management: Managing a product successfully involves more than getting it built and released. We should know how the lifecycle helps us maximise the benefits our product creates across its entire life; this includes the life cycle’s impact on the product performance (revenue and profits), the product goals, the pricing and the marketing strategy; the options to revive growth as your product matures and growth starts to stagnate; and the process best suited for each lifecycle stage.

Product Strategy and Market Research: Our product exists to serve a market or market segment, a group of people whose need the product addresses. We therefore should be able to identify our target users, customers and segment the market accordingly; clearly state the value proposition of our product, why people would want to use and buy it and why our product does a great job at creating value for them. We should be able to carry out a competitor analysis to understand their respective strengths and weaknesses; we should be able to position our product, and determine the values the brand needs to communicate. We should be able to perform the necessary market research work to test our ideas and assumptions about the market segment and the value proposition. This includes qualitative and quantitative methods including problem interviews, direct observations, and employing minimum viable products (MVPs); we should be able to leverage data to make the right decisions.

Business Model and Financials: To provide an investment incentive for our company and to make developing and providing the product sustainable, we must be able to determine the value the product creates for our firm, should be able to formulate and prioritise business goals, for instance, enter a new market, meet a revenue or profit goal, save cost, or develop the brand, how our product’s value proposition is monetised and capture, how the business model works including the revenue sources and the main cost factors, to create a financial forecast or business case that describes when a break-even is likely to occur and when your product may become profitable.

Product Roadmap: To provide a visibility of how our product is likely to evolve, we should be able to create and use a product roadmap, which includes formulating realistic product goals, metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), release dates or timeframes, and key features (deliverables or results). For this, we should be able to differentiate between the product strategy and the product roadmap, also formulate a relation between these two and our product roadmap should portray a go-to-market strategy.

User Experience and Product Backlog: A great product has to offer a great user experience (UX), which includes describing users and customer as personas, capturing the user interaction, the visual design, the functional and the non-functional aspects of the product together with the help of the cross-functional team (a UX/UI expert should be part of the team). We should be able to create scenarios, epics, user stories, storyboards, workflow diagrams and storymaps, and be able to work with user interface sketches and mock-ups. Product Backlog is about prioritising and managing the scope, putting it into various sprints and managing it in a periodic basis. It describes to develop a product with the right features, the right UX, how to test the appropriate aspects of our product and how to collect the relevant feedback and data. This includes the ability to perform product demos, solution interviews, usability tests, A/B tests, and direct observation.

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