Clarifying the Role of Software Product Management

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This presentation describes how the role of product management changes at the various stages of growth for a software venture.

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Clarifying the Role of Software Product Management

  1. 1. Clarifying the Role of Software Product Management Rick Berzle Founder and President GoToMarket LLC © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 1
  2. 2. Agenda • Speaker Background • Product Management and Related Roles • Role/Scope of PM based on company size • Beware of too many hats. • How to deal with too many demands? • Summary and parting thoughts © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 2
  3. 3. Speaker Background • BS Computer Science/MBA • 8 years in Software Development • 10 years in Software Product Management • 15+ years in VP-level Marketing Positions • 6 years interim CMO/VP Marketing © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 3
  4. 4. Discussion Topic • Product Management is a unique discipline – Strategic – Technical – Business – Evangelistic • Few high-level executives truly understand the role • PM’s get pulled into other roles based on need or incompetence of existing personnel • PM need, impact and success is dependent on company size and leadership • Managing expectations is key to a successful and rewarding PM career © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 4
  5. 5. Roles & Responsibilities Focus Project Product Product Sales Management Management Marketing Engineering • Organizing • Requirements • Positioning • Demos • Managing • Positioning • Pricing • Problem solving • Scheduling • Packaging • Promotion • Technology • Issue mgmt • Availability • Programs • Pre-Sales • Release mgmt • Business Planning • Prospecting • Tactical Process Strategy Awareness Revenue © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 5
  6. 6. Vendor Dynamics •Technical leadership •Sales leadership •Financial leadership •One Product Company •Product suites •Product lines •Reference Accounts •Revenue growth •Predictable revenues •Sales & Sales Support •Brand awareness •Brand value •Minimal Marketing •Integrated sales/mkting •Market/Product Strategy Start-up Early-Stage Mid-Stage Growth Mature $0-5M $5-20M $20-50M $50-100M 100+M © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 6
  7. 7. Marketing Dynamics • Focus is account acquisition • Product and Product line strategy • Product defined by engineering • Specific marketing disciplines exist • Marketing is describing what was built • Product management is fundamental • Product Management is non-existent • Well-defined marketing/sales boundaries Start-up Early-Stage Mid-Stage Growth Mature $0-5M $5-20M $20-50M $50-100M 100+M • Focus is market expansion • Product Management/Marketing blended role • Product strategy and roadmap fundamental • Marketing is about awareness and value proposition © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 7
  8. 8. Wearing the engineering hat? • Engineering sees Product Management as Project Management – Coordinating engineering meetings – Note taking – Issue Management – Tactical, not strategic • PM should focus on “release management” – Whole product definition – Packaging – Licensing/Pricing – Coordination of Product Availability (service, support, sales readiness, etc.) © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 8
  9. 9. Wearing the sales hat? • Sales Engineering/Pre-sales either lacks knowledge or skill to support sales – Product Management is tapped to fill the void – The more PM steps in the more Sales will ask for PM assistance – The more PM steps up the less PM they do • PM should visit customer’s regularly – Not to sell, but to gather usage scenarios – Identify customer requirements and to set priorities for new product development © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 9
  10. 10. Product Mgmt/Marketing • Is there a problem with a blended role? – No, but the skill sets are quite different • Common in early and mid-stage ventures • Requires an extraverted personality • More tactical and creative (from a promotional perspective) • Closer to a sales personality than engineering • Must like trade shows, speaking in public and demos © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 10
  11. 11. Product Management fit • Engineering must want customer/market insight • Product Management must gain the respect of engineering • Personalities and previous experiences matter a lot • Executive management must view marketing as a discipline – a profession • Toughest job in any company – IMHO – Account-ability and no authority © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 11
  12. 12. Summary • There is no “pure” product management role in early-stage and many mid-stage ventures – Product Management at best is a blended function with Product Marketing • Product expertise is valuable and in high demand – Watch out for abuse across organization boundaries • Establishing an agreed to job description and setting expectations can eliminate a lot of pain © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 12
  13. 13. Final Thoughts • Company leadership establishes the power of marketing • Engineering leadership determines the influence of product management • Sales leadership hold marketing accountable for sales execution • Marketing leadership attempts to keep everybody happy! © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 13
  14. 14. Thanks for your time and interest. rberzle@gotomarket.com (w) 858-271-4351 www.gotomarket.com © 2008 GoToMarket LLC 14

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