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Why Product Management Is Hard Saeed Khan

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The whole field of technology Product Management is new and poorly defined. Different companies define and implement it differently. It can be confusing, frustrating and downright depressing if you end up in the wrong organization.

This talk discusses the history of Product Management and explains how it can be defined, implemented and staffed for success.

Published in: Technology
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Why Product Management Is Hard Saeed Khan

  1. 1. Product Leaders Why Product Management is hard and How you can become a better Product Leader Saeed Khan http://www.onproductmanagement.net @saeedwkhan
  2. 2. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 What is Product Management?
  3. 3. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Building “insanely great products”
  4. 4. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 4
  5. 5. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 5
  6. 6. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 “…the fusion between technology… and the business side…”
  7. 7. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 What do Product Managers do? (try to keep it short ) Exercise
  8. 8. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 http://www.productfocus.com/blog/archives/129
  9. 9. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 9
  10. 10. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015© Saeed Khan 2015
  11. 11. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015© Saeed Khan 2015
  12. 12. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015© Saeed Khan 2015
  13. 13. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 What is your Definition of Product Management? Exercise
  14. 14. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 LinkedIn – Networking PM Group
  15. 15. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 The Bad……
  16. 16. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 The Strange……
  17. 17. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 The Better……
  18. 18. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Origins of Product Management
  19. 19. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 How to compete with a dominant brand? 1931
  20. 20. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 How to compete with a dominant brand? Launched in 1879 Launched in 1926
  21. 21. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 McElroy Memo • Neil McElroy managed Camay soap brand at P&G in the 1930s • Frustrated with having to compete with Ivory soap (leading brand) • Proposed (and won approval for) significant changes in how “brands” were managed
  22. 22. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 McElroy Memo Where the product is selling, understand why and repeat in other territories where appropriate. Request and justification to hire additional staff. Apparently even then, “Brand Men” were doing other people’s work! 
  23. 23. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 McElroy Memo Identify weak locations, formulate a plan to address the local problem. Ensure the investment has a reasonable return. Work with sales teams to define and implement the plan. Track and measure results against plan.
  24. 24. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 McElroy Memo Take responsibility for success of product by optimizing locally (territories) so that Management can implement company strategy in a broader fashion.
  25. 25. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 McElroy memo Hire additional staff to focus on field studies to monitor product success. This allows brand men to focus on higher level tasks.
  26. 26. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 McElroy Memo - In summary • Gain field knowledge, identify problems and implement solutions • Perform sales and product “analytics” • Create differentiated roles – Brand Man, Assistant Brand Man, Group Products Checkup Man – to help the brand team scale. • Brand “men” focus on ensuring programs are implemented and working at “local” level so that management can focus on higher level tasks. • In short, business/product success through sales channel optimization. 26
  27. 27. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 The Business Function responsible for defining and delivering Products (Services or Solutions) that provide Business Results that meet (or exceed) Company Objectives throughout the Product Lifecycle. What is Product Management? Don Vendetti – Product Arts
  28. 28. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Steve Johnson’s Definition “To deliver profitable products that delight customers who tell their friends” http://under10consulting.com/2015/02/25/products-should-be-forgiving/
  29. 29. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 “Product success over the entire life of the product.” Saeed’s Definition
  30. 30. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 “Product success over the entire life of the product.” Saeed’s Definition
  31. 31. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 How do I ensure product success?
  32. 32. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 4 Areas of Focus Business Organization Go To Market Product
  33. 33. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 4 Areas of Focus Business Corporate Objectives, Revenue, Pipeline, Win/Loss, Renewals, Pricing, etc. Organization Internal Training and Enablement (Sales, Support, Marketing etc.) Go To Market Positioning, Messaging, Lead Gen, Marketing Plan/Funnel, References, Collateral etc. Product Product Strategy, Market Needs, Roadmap, Competitive, Quality, Gaps
  34. 34. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 These 4 areas cover all key functional aspects to track and manage any product
  35. 35. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 But wait, what about the Product Lifecycle?
  36. 36. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Lifecycle STAGES (Traditional) Develop Launch Growth Maturity Decline EndofLife
  37. 37. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Lifecycle OBJECTIVES (Better) Buildit Nailit Scaleit Extendit Milkit Endit
  38. 38. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Lifecycle Objectives Objective Description Build it Build the first version of the product for specific use cases for a target market Nail it Go deep and turn that product into a truly compelling offering that is clearly different from your competitors. Scale it Scale the business (marketing/sales etc.) and focus on expansion and new customer acquisition Extend it Move into new markets, market segments, use cases. Growth in new customers and sales into existing base Milk it Reduce investment but continue to market/sell with an eye on maximizing profits from customer base End it Remove all investment, stop actively marketing and eventually remove from market
  39. 39. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Management focus and objectives change across lifecycle stages
  40. 40. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Heavy focus on building the RIGHT solution
  41. 41. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Solve customer needs better than others
  42. 42. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Grow customers/business/revenue
  43. 43. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Focus/activities vary at each stage
  44. 44. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Initially it is the founder/CEO. But as company grows, formal Product Management is needed. Who will do this work?
  45. 45. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Management is focused on product success. Enables CEO and Exec Team to focus on company success. The ideal result…
  46. 46. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Hiring a PM – What many companies do • Highly visible position • Technical Strength • Business Acumen • Strategic Thinker • Tactical Executioner • Marketing Guru • Etc. Etc.
  47. 47. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 And how do you scale the organization? ?
  48. 48. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Like this?
  49. 49. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Is this even possible? • Can you even hire a team like this? • Is the whole greater than the sum of the parts? • Is this really how any team scales?
  50. 50. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 One other factor to consider…
  51. 51. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 So what’s the solution?
  52. 52. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Stop thinking about the Product Manager Start thinking about Product Management teams
  53. 53. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 It’s not part of Marketing It’s not part of Engineering Where does Product Management sit?
  54. 54. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Management should be a department in your company with differentiated roles DEFINED and STAFFED for overall success (just like every other department)
  55. 55. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Specialized Roles for Specific Objectives Sales • Account Managers • Named Account Managers • Territory Managers • Inside Sales Reps • Sales Consultants • Business Development • Direct Response Etc. Engineering • Software Engineers • Architects • Project Managers • Development Leads • Database Architects • User Interaction/Experience • Quality Assurance Etc.
  56. 56. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 What are those Product Management roles and how can they be defined?
  57. 57. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Strategy Communication Marketing RoadmapsForecasting PartnershipsPricing TechnologyPlanning Selling Management Key Product Management Skills
  58. 58. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Cross-Functional Responsibilities
  59. 59. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Segmenting the roles Engineering Support Sales Sr. Mgmt Technical Business MarketProduct Marketing Presales Product Manager
  60. 60. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Some are more technically focused Engineering Support Sales Sr. Mgmt Technical Business MarketProdu ct Marketing Presales
  61. 61. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Some are more business focused Engineering Support Sales Sr. Mgmt Technical Business MarketProdu ct Marketing Presales
  62. 62. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 How should the roles be segmented Engineering Support Sales Sr. Mgmt Technical Business MarketProdu ct Marketing Presales
  63. 63. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Manager is (more) business focused Engineering Support Sales Sr. Mgmt Technical Business MarketProdu ct Marketing Presales Technical Product Manager Product Manager
  64. 64. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Marketing can be added Engineering Support Sales Sr. Mgmt Technical Business MarketProdu ct Marketing Presales Technical Product Manager Product Marketing Manager Product Manager
  65. 65. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Solution Specialist adds product depth Engineering Support Sales Sr. Mgmt Technical Business MarketProdu ct Marketing Presales Solution Specialist Technical Product Manager Product Marketing Manager Product Manager
  66. 66. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 A scalable & effective team • Other roles UX, BA etc. can be added if needed • Can scale organization (by adding people) across products or product lines
  67. 67. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Product Management Grows with the Company • Individuals across groups work together in virtual or physical teams
  68. 68. Product Leaders © Saeed Khan 2015 Overall Benefits to the Company Provide Sr. Management with insight and visibility into product/market details Bring market and customer insights into the company to drive product/process improvements Balance long term planning vs. short term tactics Ability to work effectively across teams and not be a bottleneck MUCH higher chances of product success
  69. 69. Product Leaders Why Product Management is hard and How you can become a better Product Leader Saeed Khan http://www.onproductmanagement.net @saeedwkhan

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