Product Management and Why You Need It

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  • 1. The Product Manager CEO of the Product Sandra Macdonald EmbarkOnIt Inc. [email_address] 519-732-3257 Twitter: @sandramacdonald www.embarkonit.com
  • 2. Product Management
    • “ There will always, one can assume, be need for some selling.
    • But the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.
    • The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
    • — Peter Drucker
  • 3. What is a Product Manager
    • Product Management is the process of designing, building, operating, and maintaining a good or service
    • PM’s Ensure that you are building something that people will want to buy, and continue to use
    • Product Development includes all the features, functionality and benefit of the product, along with the pricing, marketing, and support to ensure a comprehensive product
    • The Product Life Cycle is a Multi-Disciplinary Process that needs Management
      • Product Management, Engineering, Development, operations management, support management, QA, marketing, pricing and financing, graphics, etc.
      • Product Managers are the Leaders of these Cross Functional Teams
    • A Product Manager talks about the customer, and their problem vs. the Company and it’s Products
      • If a company forgets the first P(roblem), there is no need for the other P’s in the Marketing Mix
    • A Product Manager looks out for the Market’s Well Being as served by their company’s product.
    • A Product Manager remains data driven, objective, rational and open minded regarding product direction, design, and marketing
    • Large Span
      • From Strategic to Tactical
      • From Technical to Practical
  • 4. Why you need a Product Manager
    • Product Managers ensure that companies develop and produce Market-Driven, Repeatable Products and Services
    • The Return on Investment of Development, Engineering, and Marketing dollars is maximized through stellar product management that drives a well defined product into a well understood market using marketing and sales methods that the market responds to.
    • Engineers and Founders are often too close to the product to be unbiased, or even naïve
      • Can lead to building a product looking for a market
      • Positioning incorrectly, or inefficiently in the market
      • Pricing out of the market
      • “ Shot Gun” marketing
    • Product Managers’s Respect the “Customer Voice” through all phases of the Product Life Cycle
    • Product Managers absorb objectively all of the information about the product and its market, and devise absolute, succinct answers to often tricky questions
    • Without proper product management, companies focus on the technology, instead of on the customer
      • Organizes itself around the technology rather than customer benefit
    • Project managers are advocates of Customer Desires
  • 5. Who asked the Market?
    • Stop Listening to Each Other… And Listen to the Market
      • Cycle of Disfunction
    Engineering Centric “ Customer Centric” Brand Driven Cost Controlled VP Sales “We need to be Customer Centric” Instead of adding random features, the company begins building the exact things that individual customers ask for VP Finance “We are spending too much to get Customers” Costs Skyrocket with custom designs and 0 repeatability, plus promoting to a dozen markets. Costs get cut: Travel, Support, Award dinners and… Marketing VP Marketing “We need a Brand” Nothing is being sold in such a constrained environment, so the company attempts to establish a standard “Brand” based loosely on something they sold before. Mugs and T-shirts get distributed with the New Brand VP Engineering “We need more Features!” With all the focus on the new Brand, no work is being done on the product. Engineering begins adding Features, guessing what the customers might want
  • 6. Factors of Consideration
    • Product Managers take into account many factors in detail when making decisions regarding the Product
      • Company Resources and Capabilities
      • Customer Demands
      • Competitive Landscape
      • Barriers to Entry
      • Market Validity
      • Market Lifecycle and Path to other markets
      • **These factors must remain in consideration during all phases of the Product Life Cycle**
  • 7. Accountabilities of the Product Manager
    • Product Direction
    • Key Decisions around the Product
    • Budget (Often full P&L)
    • Evangelizing the Customer Desires (internally and externally)
    • Accountability to Users
      • Function, Features, Service, Quality, Overall Experience
  • 8. The Job Description: Duties and Responsibilities of a Product Manager
    • Listening, Gathering, Knowing, and Representing the Customer in all aspects of the Product Life Cycle
    • Defining and planning product lines and product enhancements
    • Setting product direction
      • based on customer needs and company goals
    • Mapping strategic goals to tactical operations and plans
    • Serving as a representative of the Product to internal and external clients.
    • Evaluating risks and opportunity costs in product decisions
    • Analyzing business processes and creating applications to improve or support those processes
    • Product Branding and Positioning with the Marketing Team
    • Working with graphic designers to create look and feel
    • Defining navigational flow and user experience
    • Defining feature sets and release cycles
  • 9. Product Managers are NOT
    • Developers
    • IT Managers
    • Engineers/Engineering Managers
    • Project Managers (Managers of the How and When)
    • Marketing Promotions
    • Gophers
    • A Resource for Marketing
    • Copywriters
    • CEOs
  • 10. Product Life Cycle
  • 11. Requirement Phase
    • Identify Quantify Articulate
    • The Product Manager, Engineering, Operations or Management offers a request for a new Product or a Modification to meet a Market Need
      • Requests need to be evaluated impact to the existing business and markets, viability given restraints, and fit within the organization’s strategy
  • 12. Prototype Phase
    • Ideas are explored in depth for technical and market feasibility
      • Tools: Feasibility Analysis
        • detailed assessment of how the idea can be successfully and profitably carried out
      • Tools: Business Case
        • Detailed scenario showing the sustainability of your product in a market that will remain a going concern
  • 13. Design
    • Document in great detail all aspects relating to the development of the product
      • Tools: A design specification is critical; ideas and potential roadblocks will emerge during its creation, and can be fixed before capital is applied to the project
      • Tools: Other documents such as the Product Marketing Description, Drawings, Service Descriptions etc. should be tracked on a checklist, and approved before moving out of design
  • 14. Development
    • This is where the magic happens, and all the planning gets turned into the product
    • Product Management at this phase shifts away from the physical product (or service) and to the supporting pieces that make up the holistic experience for the customer
      • Documentation
      • Customer Care
      • Training Tools
      • Vendor Management
      • Channel Management
      • Packaging
    • Tools: Test cases and specifications are also developed at this phase
  • 15. Testing
    • Lab Testing, Alpha Testing, Beta Testing
      • Using the product in all scenarios that will be evident in the market to ensure optimal customer experience in solving the problem
    • PM’s engage in strategic decision making and contingency implementation when changes are required, always keeping the market and customer at the forefront
      • Without this insight, decisions are made on non-customer focused criteria, including ease of engineering, finance, manufacturing etc. resulting at best in a less-than-desirable final product
  • 16. Deployment (Launch!)
    • During the launch, the PM works with marketing promotions, support, sales, and operations to ensure that the product is delivered in its market-driven format, positioned in the optimal way, and supported as customers need it to be.
    • During initial launch, sales process, support infrastructure, and delivery mechanisms are meticulously tracked, market tested and modified to meet customer desires
  • 17. Maintenance
    • This is generally the longest phase
    • PM’s have developed a release cycle of enhancements, improvements and iterations of the product to meet market need.
    • A consistent, well managed release cycle can keep customers engaged, excited, and enthusiastic about your product
  • 18. Product Support
    • PM’s monitor bug tracking, customer support, feedback channels, sales process, delivery etc. during this phase to ensure that the Product continues to deliver on customer desires
  • 19. PM Tools Summary
    • PM’s will use a variety of tools and technologies throughout the Product Life Cycle. Below are some of the most critical.
    • Market Requirements Document
      • Outlines what the market wants for senior execs and team members
    • Business Case
      • A real world example of a Problem being solved by the Product
    • Product Specification
      • Detailed and/or agile management document outlining the specific customer experience with all aspects of the product
    • Drawings and/or Technical Specifications
      • Engineering documents derived from the Product Specification that lay out in technical detail How the product will be built
    • Positioning Documents
      • Lays out the positioning to the Marketing Communications team
    • Sales Process
      • Communication to sales and channel teams about how the product should be sold and delivered to the market
    • Test Specification
      • Description and tracking of lab and real world tests derived from the Market Requirements Document and the Business case
  • 20. Thank You! I welcome your questions and comments Sandra Macdonald EmbarkOnIt Inc. [email_address] 519-732-3257 Twitter: @sandramacdonald www.embarkonit.com