“The core of the strategy is choosing what not to do,” Michael Porterer once said.
Well, this is undoubtedly one of the best pieces of product management advice someone could receive.
Today’s tools, technology, and skill for developing breakthrough new items are more plentiful and accessible than ever.
Product management is a broad term that covers a wide range of tasks. Indeed, the function itself varies greatly depending on the organization.
The product manager job is expanding due to: the increasing relevance of data in decision-making, a higher customer and design emphasis, and the advancement of software development processes.
What if I told you that even the tiniest, cash-strapped businesses have access to code platforms, software applications, cutting-edge marketing tools, and engineering expertise to help them realize their product goals.?
Why do you believe it’s so difficult for enterprises and startups to release successful products?
One of the fundamental causes, ironically, is that there has been an explosion in the tools and expertise needed to create excellent goods.
Let’s delve into this blog and learn about the numerous areas of product management and its most complex components.
Are you excited? Follow along!
What Is Product Management?
“What is product management?” you might wonder.
Even among seasoned businesspeople, this topic comes up frequently.
Product management is an organizational role that directs every step of a product’s life cycle, from development to positioning and price, by focusing first and foremost on the product and its users.
It’s a critical function at the center of an organization, balancing the need to offer value to your firm (typically profit) with what customers desire. It is also technically and operationally feasible.
Day-to-day responsibilities involve a wide range of strategic and tactical responsibilities.
Most product managers and owners do not assume all of these roles, and in most firms, other teams or departments possess at least some.
In the tech industry, where newer and better ideas quickly uproot entrenched goods, a deep understanding of customers and the capacity to design customized solutions for them is more important than ever.
This is where product management enters the picture.
It depends on your company’s size, whether you sell software, physical goods, or services, and whether you sell to businesses or consumers.
“Great companies manage product, but good companies only manage to engineer.” A piece of wisdom from one of the most inspirational CEOs in the world.
It’s now up to you to decide what your firm will become.
Why Is Product Management So Important, You May Ask?
A product’s existence, from conception to disposal, necessitates active management.
Since software developers are typically technical experts with little experience working with clients, product management experts serve as a link between clients and technology companies.
The most significant function in a corporation is product management, which encompasses both product and service offerings.
In today’s fast-paced world, businesses must constantly innovate to stay connected with customers.
Product management determines the success of a product.
Fact: In some circumstances, a better product management experience can increase a company’s profit by 30 percent.
We cannot stress enough the importance and necessity of product management in an organization. It assists in the integration of development, customer experience, and marketing.
Here’s a quick rundown of why it’s critical:
- Recognizing the needs of customers
- The organization’s heart
- Achieving business objectives
- Creating a viable business model
- Supports the various functional areas
Let’s go over each of these pointers in detail:
Recognizing the Needs of Customers
Product management aids in measuring client needs as they change.
Since product managers engage with existing customers regularly and are always looking for new ones, they usually learn about their pain issues. They then pass the lead to the product development team for a new product.
We at Chisel design our products for customers; therefore, we strive to give them exactly what they want and need while empathizing with their problems and frustrations.
For us, it’s not so much the ‘customer is always right’ motto as it is to do everything with the ‘consumer in mind.’
As a result, the product’s features improve, and consumer happiness rises.
The Organization’s Heart
Product management is why a company exists: to provide excellent products to customers while making a lot of money.
Having the correct product strategy and building a successful outcome, on the other hand, is difficult.
What keeps product managers awake at night is creating successful offers that can meet all of these criteria.
But what’s important, after all, is that it improves a company’s reputation, goodwill, and image, and a positive image aids the company’s expansion and growth.
Achieving Business Objectives
Product management aids the company in achieving all of its goals. It creates items that cater to clients’ requirements and desires.
As a result, the company’s sales will rise, assisting it in achieving its goals.
Product management aids in the achievement of numerous objectives. It is because product managers assist management in developing a clear product blueprint, which leads to allocating funding for research and development.
Creating a Viable Business Model
As a result, product managers use feedback from the sales team dispersed across multiple locations.
They do this to develop an appropriate go-to-market strategy with the proper product positioning to ensure success. This is because even the best items might fail if adequate promotion does not happen.
Product managers also assist in developing the best business model for achieving a good return on investment throughout a product’s life cycle.
Supports the Various Functional Areas
Other functional areas in an organization, such as marketing, finance, and personnel, are supported by product management.
The marketing department will have an easier time selling high-quality products, and the financial sector will receive more funding due to the increased sales.
For expansion and modernization, it will receive more loans and equity resources. The personnel department can successfully manage human resources thanks to the industrial sector’s good performance.
Every good thing has a negative counterpart. In today’s world, product management is both exciting and valuable.
But do you realize what some of its most challenging aspects are? Let’s find out.
Product Management Problem Areas
“The most difficult aspect of product management is resource alignment. The size of a team is constantly shifting, and it is frequently uneven. Some weeks you have a lot of design bandwidth but no iOS, while other weeks, you have no design bandwidth, but everything is iOS. Having a large backlog of well-prioritized projects is essential for running a productive team.” Senior Product Manager at Strava, Ethan Hollinshead said.
If you lead a product management team, you know how difficult it is to balance being a part of the executive team and guiding your product managers in the development trenches.
Knowing how to spot and overcome those problems will help you gain confidence in fulfilling your responsibilities as a product manager.
Product managers, however, are not the kind to back down from a challenge.
Market shifts, various stakeholder viewpoints, consumer demands, feature bloat, technological challenges and debt, and so much more make product management a juggling act.
We aren’t trying to scare you away but to boost your confidence in this profession.
Since there are so many moving elements, product roadmaps can derail if any individual or department within a product team misses their deadlines.
Other departments or stakeholders often pressure you to complete tasks on their timetable rather than your own.
It is challenging to design agile schedules that allow your team to respond to new information or events while allowing other groups to fulfill their objectives.
Setting the Roadmap’s Priorities
It requires more than a strong hunch or directives from the top of the business to create the correct product.
A robust foundation for consumer input, research, and market validation is one of the building blocks of a great product. These priceless outside contributions also assist a product leader in prioritizing a product strategy.
Product managers (PMs), believe it or not, frequently define roadmap priorities without this essential basis in place.
Setting roadmap priorities without honest market feedback is one of the most challenging tasks facing PMs.
Product managers want meaningful input to set goals and develop a product strategy.
There Is a Lot of Duty, but There Isn’t Much Authority
What do you think the most challenging aspect of product management is?
Most likely, the roles, tasks, and authority distribution is inequitable. This problem is universal; hence it will affect you regardless of where you live or what industry you work in.
As a PM, you are responsible for the total product, just like the management is accountable for the company’s operations.
The main distinction is that you do not have the same authority as other managers.
Getting people aligned is one of the most challenging issues in product management, especially if they have multiple reporting lines and objectives.
It helps to remember that our goal is to ask the best questions, not to have all the answers.
Ask open-ended questions and use prompts like “yeah, and?” (very essential) to encourage them to continue their train of thought so you can fully understand their motives and objectives and begin to align them.
Operations for the Product Team
People are everything in a product team. Product managers are responsible for hiring, training, and onboarding new team members and empowering the existing product team to do their best job.
It’s too easy for product managers to get caught up in the day-to-day product specs, fixes, design, and development and overlook the importance of people operations.
The basis of product success is hiring product talent and guiding your existing team.
Having to Deal with Engineering Dependencies
When the technical team’s dependencies don’t line with the direction of leadership, product organizations can feel squeezed.
For instance, a dependency in project management refers to implementing a relationship between two projects in a specific order.
There’s Too Much Work To Be Done, but There’s Not Enough Time
Some jobs allow for a brief hermit mode, in which one turns off the computer and puts on headphones to concentrate on work. The Product Managers, however, are not among them.
They help with collaboration, communication with internal and external stakeholders, market monitoring, data analysis, defining a product vision, and prioritizing product features.
In practice, this entails juggling a variety of tasks.
It’s never easy juggling all of your duties, but don’t worry—you’re not alone! Countless experts are dealing with the same problem. That is why there are so many different time-management techniques to choose from.
Individuality and Creativity
Product managers are sometimes so swamped with daily minutia that they don’t have the headspace to examine the big picture and create a culture of creativity. This happens due to the pressures of deadlines and stakeholders and a mounting to-do list.
The urge to develop the next great product feature might stifle innovation.
However, product teams must prioritize originality and distinctiveness to remain competitive and innovate at the most significant level.
Various Viewpoints on Which Way To Take the Products
Everyone on your team will have an opinion on the best strategy to develop and advertise your product.
Many personnel are zealous about their process and will defend it with the intensity of a pit bull.
As a product manager, you must ensure that your team and decisions have a foundation on facts.
In making decisions, facts must always take precedence over opinions. Learn to cope with opposing viewpoints and personalities with grace and constantly bring the team back to the points that will eventually determine your course of action.
But, hey, obstacles in product management are opportunities to improve.
By addressing core issues with communication, alignment, and team operations, you’ll enable your team to pull together and respond to hurdles with agility and grace.
And using research, technical knowledge, and customer satisfaction data to troubleshoot issues will get you closer to your product and users than ever before.
Leading a product team is a difficult task. However, awareness of these obstacles might help you predict potential roadblocks.