Product management encompasses a wide-ranging area of responsibilities. It is the amalgamation of business, technology, design, and marketing, to strategically drive the vision, development, launch, and continual support and improvement of a product. But there is more to product management than meets the eye.
From development to marketing, there are several stages of product management. Beginning from the vision of the product, crafting strategy, setting a good leadership example with efficient managerial skills, to execution, there are various shades of product management.
The most important quality of a product manager or anyone who believes in continuous progress is the desire of learning and constantly improve the work process.
There are many variations in the roles a product manager has to play. Some roles demand technical knowledge and others on the other hand need domain expertise. Each role has some set of challenges and learning. A product manager is supposed to bind the team together and constantly motivate the team to perform at their level best. And most importantly meeting the expectations of end users or customers. The role of a product manager varies widely depending on several factors.
Product management plays an important role in each stage of product development, from building a product to its launch. Some of the best Product management practices which help in making your product journey much smoother and more successful are:
1. Set the product vision
The product vision is something around which the product team aligns itself. Product vision should be inspirational. It should make clear the “Why” behind your product. When the product vision is clearly understood and internalized by the team, they can make important decisions in designing and building the product by themselves without having to constantly ask the product manager.
Once vision is defined, you need to make sure everyone can see it. It is better to over-communicate the product vision than under-communicate it.
It’s necessary to determine and align yourself with the company’s business objectives. It is very important to understand what matters most to the bottom line of your business and your customers. If your product vision is aligned with the business objectives, you are more likely to succeed as a product manager.
It also helps you identify your potential customers and how the product might cater to them.
That customer feedback matters to the product’s success cannot be overemphasized. It is really important to keep track of the customer’s feedback and make changes to your product accordingly.
Your customers and users are your greatest asset. Your product is of no use, if your customers are not liking it. It is always very important to have good communication with your customer and try to know which features they use and enjoy the most, and which are thorns on their sides.
Customer insights are critical to understanding your product’s true value — and developing a proper product management roadmap.
4. Know your product thoroughly
It is a golden rule to know your things before handing them to others. Prioritize using your product first before getting feedback on it. Try and use your product before delivering it to your customers.
Use your product thoroughly and try to cover every aspect like which feature is working fine and on which platform (web, mobile, etc.). How often do you encounter any glitches and what else can be done to improve the performance etc?
It is advisable to keep track of other products in the market. Track the features that intrigue you. You may try implementing some of those features in your product design (if the design and technology allow it).
At the same time, keep a note of the problematic area, and features that you have found troublesome. And you can save your product from negative feedback by not incorporating those problematic features.
6. Make a Plan, Execute, Iterate
All the information and insights gathered so far should be used in defining the long-term vision of your product, and then breaking that vision into iterations of developing, executing, etc.
This will help in the process of prioritization and will provide a fair idea about which feature to prioritize and also make changes whenever required. With this, you will also be able to justify the prioritization to executives and stakeholders.
7. Always stay connected with peers in the Product Management Community
Maintaining contact with your peers in the industry is important. It helps you expand your network and understand market trends better. It helps your growth as a professional.
It is a great way to stay up to date on industry trends and best practices, expand your network, and learn from the experiences of industry experts.
Product management LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, slack community, etc., are great resources for learning and connecting with other product management professionals.
All the above product management practices play an important role in building a sellable product. Developing an entire product requires high commitment. We often tend to get demotivated midway through thinking about whether or not our product will be successful. Thus we need to stick to the product management best practices listed above to ensure the top quality product.