Product Management Process: Steps, Roadmap and Best Practices

Product management process is one of the organizational functions to bring a better product to the market. It is a result of the evolution of the responsibilities that originally in the past were directed to the leading engineers and developers.

We see that this term is pretty difficult to define on its own. The reason behind it is that it does not fit with either of the traditional roles that one might be familiar with, for example, business strategy, engineering, marketing, or design.

The product management process is unique in a way as it concerted on all of the above-mentioned fields. It forms a new discipline which is quite critical and is becoming extremely important among enterprises and start-ups alike.

Shipping perfect products touches boundaries which are beyond the scope of a developing team. It needs to be understood that this has to be treated as a separate function that requires a deep understanding of the UX design, business acumen, and complete product knowledge.

The development of new products involves all aspects, such as forecasting, pricing, and launching, and so on. Product management is indeed one of the most important organizational processes within a company.

Product Management VS Process Management

When we talk about the Product Management process we can say it involves the steps which are taken by the company to bring a new product into the market or just improve the current condition of the existing product.

On the other hand, Process Management alludes to adjusting procedures to the company's key objectives, structuring and executing process models, building up process estimation frameworks that line up with hierarchical objectives, and teaching and sorting out supervisors so they will oversee processes adequately.

We work in an industry that celebrates the procedure of all that we manufacture. We are fixated on guides, systems, abbreviations, and profitability instruments. This common language gives us a feeling of having a place and causes us to feel like we are in actuality item individuals. The process is significant throughout everyday life. What's more, we should try to construct great items with center and proficiency. We could never contend against that.

Product Managers and Product Designers celebrate their process for building items on Twitter, digital broadcasts, and at gatherings — yet we ought to recall something significant. Clients don't think about how we fabricate our items or our process.

Clients couldn't care less about our Slack discussions, our Jira tickets, or the tradeoffs we make to our guides en route. Clients just consider how our products feel in their grasp, and that's it.

That minute when clients first open our applications and leave their existence for a couple of moments as they find something new — that is the minute that issues if you manufacture items. We have to concentrate less on celebrating the process for all that we, the 'item individuals', do and center more on the main thing. What is important is that we fabricate items that make clients grin and acknowledge something new about them.

What makes a difference is that we assemble items that make life more satisfying for billions of individuals by giving them access to instructions and new thoughts. What makes a difference is that we manufacture items which make clients state: “I genuinely can't envision my life before I downloaded that application”. Product Managers go through their days composing specs, recording Jira tickets, and altering guides.

What else would we be able to have made rather than that ideal Gantt diagram? Are there simple successes in our creation applications that we could have found as opposed to looking for the ideal procedure? Would we be able to ponder our ideal Product Manager work processes and contemplate improving our items? Our main responsibility is to charm clients through the ventures we assemble. The procedure is significant, yet it needs to be noted that clients judge us on a certain product that we manufacture for them.

Therefore we are in a continuous debate of Process VS Product then we can surely say that the Product Management process has a much stronger perspective in an organization. It is important how we design our products for our customers to make sure that we bring maximum satisfaction.

Product Management - Best Practices

When we talk about process management then we need to understand it is not an easy task and not everyone can do it. If we talk about the process we can see that it involves parts of the analytical approach, marketer approach, business executive, and a little bit of strategist approach. The product manager makes sure that during the Product Management process he makes sure that he can bring innovative products into the market which satisfies the customer needs and at the same time creates a balance with the business objectives.

Product managers within an organization keep on trying to bring innovation into their products by learning new ways by which they can improve the way they work. If you are someone who is pursuing their career as a product manager then continue reading and find out the best seven practices which would provide some important insights about the role.

  1. You need to understand company objectives/goals:

To start your product management process you need to make sure that you are deeply familiar with the goals that your company has. For example, it is important to understand these things: in what ways does your company measure success? In what ways your product developing strategy supports your company’s goals and objectives? Apart from that you also need to get a proper understanding of who your targeted audiences are and how your product would be able to meet with the needs of your customers.

While you are in your product management process phase also make sure you know what is important for your executives and stakeholder and make sure to align your data whenever it is possible to do so.

  1. Have a little talk with your customers: 

Your existing customers are indeed one of your main resources during your product management process. Just think for a moment: you develop an outstanding product but no one needs it. What will be the use of such product? So, to make sure that your product gains popularity among customers make sure you involve them in your development phase. Your customers and users will be more than excited to share the views and opinions on what they enjoy in the product and what other features they might be looking for in the current product.

This will allow you to have a better understanding of what elements are missing in your product. When you are done with finalizing your product make sure you do a little trial on your customers to see how well they interact with it. Make sure that you keep on gathering feedbacks for as many customers as possible to get the perfect insights.

  1. Make sure you use your product: 

Everyone mostly has heard the term that when you serve your food make sure you try a little yourself first. This case is the same - you need to make sure that you test your product yourself and include daily usage. When you do this trick you will get answers to various questions such as: how good is your product? What problems might the user face while using it? How great is the user interference? How frequently does the product face any glitches or encounter a bug? What features would be more suitable for a smartphone? You need to know and understand your product better than any other person who might use it.

  1. Make sure that you stay connected to your Support and Sales Teams:

These teams in your organization might be the ones having direct communications with all of the potential customers out there. They will help you understand the market insights and the landscape. If you interact with them surely you will understand all the strengths and weaknesses that are associated with your products when customers use them. If you include communications with the support team in your Product 

Management processes you will know that these people understand how the current customers are using your products. You will get to know if the customers are using them according to your expectations or not. Try taking one of your support calls to better understand the most common complaints that your product might receive and try finding out questions on how to solve them efficiently.

  1. Spend some time analyzing other products: 

There is no shame in taking inspiration from others or just learning some new things that might come your way. If you have an application or a website that you love and adore then spend a little time exploring that. Try to figure out these things: what makes it so good? How does the company run its trial plans and sign up pages? When you check out from it what process does that involve? While using the application or the website, if you faced any issues, try finding out what made your experience so bad. This will help you avoid similar issues in your products. Just keep your eyes open for all of the minor things that you go through while you use these websites or applications. You will see how they change the way you think in your Product management process.

  1. Planning and execution are very important: 

After you have done everything that we have mentioned above you need to spend some time planning your overall process. Start by defining your long term plan for the product you will manufacture. Once you have done that start splitting those visions into minor stages of development and execution. Make sure you apply all that you have learned in your product management process and you will notice things will go smoothly and more efficiently. One of the major reasons for doing these steps is that it will help you to understand your product and the process more deeply. And if you think there is still some gap left you can bring in innovations in the next product launch.

  1. Get socially active with your peers in the Product Management world: 

When you enter this industry you need to make sure that you stay up to date with all of the new practices that you might be able to involve in your product management process. When you interact with people who are in this industry for more than you have been you will notice that they will have knowledge and experience from which you will be able to learn more. Try using social media platforms for a better purpose and join communities where you will find people with experiences in this field. Learn from them and understand their ways of working. Once you do that apply it  into your product management process and you will see how well it goes for you.

These are some of the practices that you might follow if you are new to this industry or just need some improvements in the way you go about. Just follow some of the tips and include them in your product management process and you will see some great improvements in your product management process. 

Product Management Process - Dashboards With Examples

Produce a management dashboard is a tool which provides the organization with a visual way through which they can track different categories of the KPI's. This dashboard can be either viewed on your TV, on your computer in your office or you might just have access to it in your browser's toolbar. This tool serves as a real image of all the combinations of metrics within an organization.

Dashboards are usually graphical which makes them quite easy to understand during the product management process. Secondly, one can easily highlight any sort of movement that can take place within the metrics that might be important. It can easily detect the high and the low peaks which makes it quite convenient for the product manager to understand and modify any sort of changes needed in their product management process.

A baseline id created among the stakeholders and the contributors when only a few KPIs are concentrated on the progress of the product. The one unique point of the Product management dashboards is that it's a one-time thing and you don't have to set it up daily. Once you set all of the KPI's and the goals in it then it can run on an auto-pilot mode until you need to make some changes within the dashboard system. It won't be long when you finally label it as one of your most favorite tools to use during your product management process. 

To set us a product management dashboard you just need to take care of four simple steps and you will find your life at ease once you are done. 

The first thing that you need to do is understand the type of data which will be needed to get you your desired results. You need to have a deep knowledge of all data plans and how all the data flows from one place to another. 

The second step to establish a dashboard would be to determine all the KPI's. One of the most dangerous parts of the dashboard is that it becomes pretty easy to get scattered in the data which is involved. This results in distraction for the product manager and the co-workers and it diverts their attention from the main data which matters. Make sure while you are choosing your KPIs to focus on areas or goals which matter the most and hold importance. 

The third step which involves the creation of the dashboard in a Product management process is to find a perfect tool that fulfills your requirements. You do not need to completely start over by doing all the hard work you can easily rely on the commercial tools which are available and start your product management process with the execution phase. Make sure to take all of the factors into consideration when you finally decide which tool you want to choose for the execution of your process. 

The last step that we think is the most important one is to show what you are capable of by making your product management dashboard easily accessible to everyone within the organization. Make sure that you include training sessions within your execution plan as it will help you make people understand what your dashboard is all about and how people can take help from it. 

The marketing product management dashboard is one of the examples that we can consider, this involves all the data about the daily or weekly usage of the products. The team can easily identify if there are some crashes within the process or immediate attention is needed within the organization for the particular issue. 

Product Management Documents

Written communication is indeed one of the most important parts of the organization. Like any other process, the product management process also involves proper documentation done by the product manager. It acts as a unified way through which the product managers can exchange information among their peers and colleagues. This can help them share important information about the software. It is quite understandable that maintaining all these documents helps the product management process to be organized and it helps to avoid any sort of distortions. 

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Types of documents are mentioned in the graphical representation in the above image. These documents are important for any product manager during his product management process. It helps them to create a precise product vision, helps them in planning, supports them in their efficient execution, and makes sure that they can fulfill the customer needs. 

Product Management KPI/ Objectives/ OKR

KPI stands for the key performance indicators, during the product management process the product manager must be quite clear about all the KPI's as they will require them to establish the dashboard as well. On the other hand, objectives are the goal that the organization would need to fulfill concerning the products. Objectives are an essential part of the product management process. 

OKR, short for objectives and the key result is a process in which the objectives are defined as the outcomes which the company or the product manager would like to see and the key results are all the efforts that are involved to get the required result. 

Product backlog management process:

In the product management process, the product backlog is defined as a compilation of things that might be required in the execution of the final product. In simpler words, we can state that this might be prioritized features or a wish list that contains major descriptions of the product’s functions which might be desired by the product owner. 

During planning and meeting, the product owner mentions all the product backlogs and describes the top items required during the meeting. 

Product Management Lifecycle Process

The product lifecycle management process involves the handling of the product when it moves from one stage to another. These stages involve the typical stages which are associated with the product life. They include the development stage, growth stage, maturity stage, and the decline stage. This process involves manufacturing as well as the marketing of the product. This concept helps the product managers to make business decisions wisely, from the promotion to the pricing. 

Product management methodology and techniques:

There are a few prominent product management process methodologies that are used by the product managers. We shall be mentioning a few of the methodologies below:

Waterfall methodology

This methodology is described as a sequential model that divides the development of the software process into multiple stages. Every stage has a set of predefined objectives and tasks assigned to it. During the earlier stages in this model, the requirements are determined on which the overall development process takes place. 

The waterfall model comprises a rigid structure and, in most cases, it usually ignores user validation. This model was used in the past but due to the high amount of changes in our working standards the system is not highly applicable. 

Lean methodology

This methodology originally came from the Toyota Production System. The methodology focuses on improving the process, reduction in waste and bringing more innovation into the working patterns. Despite being a new concept in the product management process it is beyond the manufacturing sector now. In this methodology there is a focus on two main elements, the first one is continuous improvement and the second one is respect for people. 

Agile Methodology:

This methodology involves an adaptable approach concerning product development. This model has multiple development stages which are known as “sprints”. This methodology is well known for its concept of bringing together the people aspect related to product development. Scrum VS Kanban, these two are the most well-known product development models which lie under the agile methodology. 

The main difference between both is that Kanban does not have sort of time restriction involved but on the other hand, we see that Scrum is usually time-bounded. 

Product management requirements

Marketing, promotional skills and organization skills are some basic requirements that product managers need to have. Product managers need to show great commitment and advance skills as they are required to be responsible for the development of the product until it reaches the hands of the final consumers. To excel in this field you will need to have a bachelor's degree in any of the business-related fields. 

Product Management Roadmaps

In the product management process, the product roadmap serves as a visual summary constructed with great care which shows the direction and your vision which is involved in your product offering in the long run. These maps are extremely important as they indicate and describe the reason to which why you choose to build a particular product. It also serves as a guiding strategic working paper which tells the plan through which you would execute your strategy. 
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Product Management Toolkit

Tools are an essential part of your product management process and for a product manager, it is indeed important. In general, when we talk about tools which are used by the product manager we usually include the ones which on average are being used by most of the product managers. Your product management toolkit would usually include tools used for development tracking, analytics software, and road mapping software. 

Product managers needs to be vigilant that they do not miss on the best tools which are available for them in their product management software. 

Whether you are a newbie in this industry or an experienced product manager you need to have all of the tools which are important for you. 

Here is a list of all the tools which you can include in your product management process through which you can prosper in your career. 

  1. Analysis and user tracking tools (Example: Amplitude and Pendo)
  2. Roadmapping software (Example Product plan)
  3. Survey tools for customer feedback (Example: Type Form or Survey Monkey)
  4. Apps used for recording customer interviews (Example: Zoom or GoToMeeting)
  5.  Industry accounts analyst (Example: Sirius Decisions and Gartner)
  6. Tools dealing with team messaging-Example-Confluence or slack
  7. Presentation software (Example: Keynote or PowerPoint)
  8. The product management process tools (Example: Jira, Pivotal and Trello)
  9. Software dealing with feature flagging: (Example: LaunchDarkly or split.io)
  10. Tools dealing with heatmap and Session replay (Example: Hotjar and Fullstory)
  11. Flowcharting tools (Example: Visio)
  12. Tools dealing with collaboration and idea capture: Example: Google Drive and Evernote)

This is a list of all the tools which you might think and decide to put in your product management process toolkit. During your decision make sure you even add the estimated budget that you would require to get all of the tools. The best advice that anyone could give you while you create your product management process is to choose your tools wisely, think how a particular tool might change your life and then make a decision based on the need that you evaluated. 

Conclusion

To conclude and summarize the whole product management process we can state that this is indeed one of the main processes which are included within an organization. To carry out your product management process just make sure that you list down your goals and objectives quite carefully because these would be the basis of your process.

As mentioned in the article, various tools can be used to help product managers to carry out their product management process smoothly, such as the dashboards and the product management process toolkit. There is a lot of responsibility for the product managers because they need to make sure to look into minor details for the product to stand out in the market. 

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Grzegorz Kłos
Co-Founder
office@apphawks.com
Grzegorz Kłos - Apphawks Co-founder
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