You might be working more closely with technical people. To drive a product successfully from concept to market launch, a product manager needs to communicate regularly with several different teams. It’s funny. Some people commented and rightly pointed out that something seemed to be missing from it. As the weeks, the development sprints, and the months wear on, a cross-functional product team can easily lose focus of the bigger strategic goal they’re all working toward. After a team begins working on any complex project, new issues will come up. Even when people agree, change… Read →. Learning how to say no to product requests is a valuable skill. All this stuff is stupid. Having worked at a lot of enterprises and companies where people might not actually be that close to the technology side or might not be thinking about user experience as a day-to-day concern, I felt like those three areas captured a common set of subject matter knowledge that product managers will encounter, but not the actual skills they’ll need to connect between those different subject matter ideas. I am not a process person. At the same time, they will want to make these people feel connected to the project so that the team doesn’t lose their support. It’s an uphill battle against the familiar, the routine, complacency, and inertia. Let’s review some of these project management principles and discuss how applying them can help product management with their own product principles. We talk about the four guiding principles of product management, what he has learned about himself as a product manager, and how to conduct meaningful research. In fact, many project management principles are universal and can benefit other teams. So, smart project managers figure out early on who all of these stakeholders are and how best to involve each of them. All this must be coupled with the right level of governance and organizational support, both within and between project management and the product methodology. Living in your customer’s reality is about getting beyond just looking at isolated metrics, particularly vanity metrics, to understand your customers and really understand their perspective, their world view, how it’s changing, how it’s evolving, so you can continue to meet their needs as they change and evolve, rather than getting stuck in the way things have always been and the status quo of your organization. approach the launch date. Having worked at a lot of enterprises and … In retrospect, most of my previous posts are simply derivatives of these two principles. Some stakeholders (executives, for example) will want only high-level updates, while others (such as your development team) will want deep-dive discussions of the product’s progress. I think a lot of folks who start out as product managers are like, “Yeah. That is your day to day. The four guiding principles came out of the four CORE skills, which is an acronym for communication, organization, research, and execution. Different categories of stakeholders will require different types and frequencies of communication, for example, and the project manager should have a plan for appropriately communicating with each type of stakeholder. © 2020, O’Reilly Media, Inc. All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on are the property of their respective owners. Sierra Newell Till now, we have considered how product management is done in companies that have different product lines and brands. Right? Download Citation | On Dec 19, 2019, Ye. When you combine all your marketing goals and objectives into one plan, you have a marketing strategy. Product principles should guide everything the product team does. Sign up to get a free chapter or buy the book on Amazon. I was at a training with a financial services company a few weeks ago. Instead, be proactive. Originating in the manufacturing and construction industries, its lack of flexibility in design changes in the earlier stages of the development process is due to it becoming exuberantly more expensive because … There are some great project management tools to help them accomplish it. Failing to involve a stakeholder from the earliest stages of a new product, or mishandling a stakeholder during the process, could create obstacles to that product’s success. I’m a firm believer in qualitative research generally, but within that set of qualitative research, I’m a firm believer in talking to people who are not your best customers. Our Product Management methodology was created by our team of consultants and trainers with over 150 years of combined Product Management and Product Marketing experience. We’ll just work really fast. process that focuses on bringing a new product to market or developing an existing one A successful product manager is always vigilant in their efforts to do what’s best for the product they’re selling. A wide range of project management approaches like Agile project management, ... PRINCE2 approach. Sometimes I don’t’—those are the people whose perspective you really need to understand the most because their perspective is probably the farthest away from yours. Product Managers must never be afraid to speak up and give factual input. It’s fine. at, project manager make better strategic decisions, 5 Ways Product Managers Can Reduce Scope Creep, product manager needs to communicate regularly with several different teams, The Unique Work of a Product Executive at a Mid-Size Company, 5 Key Skills of Outstanding eCommerce Product Managers, How to Support a Change Management Process Using Roadmaps, Product Management vs. Project Management. Product-based planning is a structured project management approach that focuses on outputs and project deliverables (including intermediate products), unlike traditional approaches that focus on activities and tasks. Also, because they know everyone else on the team (including external stakeholders) can view the scorecard, this method motivates teams and individuals to stay on schedule and do their best work. By contrast, for the sales team, whose ability to close deals will be directly affected by the project’s success, the project manager might choose to give these stakeholders more of a hands-on role. A quick search on first principles will yield countless articles on the geniuses that have successfully applied it to their inventions. Join the O'Reilly online learning platform. They’re talking about their life.’ I get that concern. In fact, a big part of your job as a product manager is to bring together diverse teams and help them make progress toward a common organizational objective. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED11), 15-18 August 2011, Copenhagen. Product management is an interdisciplinary role that reaches across teams to plan, design, and continuously bring better products to market. So, in summary, here are 5 First Principles approaches you can apply to product management: 1. I wrote a piece on Medium a few years ago, which was my attempt to challenge the traditional three-way Venn diagram of product management with business, technology, and UX. My First Principles of Product Management * Make every roadmap decision based on Opportunity Cost. But project managers need to keep a broader view as well. Right? Many of these people might work in the same physical location and might not even know each other. Principles of Product Management. Project managers know that their work on a complex project will involve more than just the employees working directly on it. * Results matter, not activity or effort. Sometimes I use it. Product managers should conduct a stakeholder analysis before kicking off a product’s development. Duration: 1 day: Level: Principles: Code: 0577: Online and virtual delivery courses are now available. For more tips, read our page on Stakeholder Analysis. Product-name ideas. Always. If the team finds themselves lost in the details or wondering why they’re doing something irrelevant or out of the ordinary, they can look to the product principles for direction and validation. There’s a tendency, when companies do qualitative research, to over index on the power users and the good customers and to just keep building things for them, but when you talk about living in your user’s reality, you’re really talking about living in multiple realities for multiple users. Operations management is now a multidisciplinary functional area in a company, along with finance and marketing. It makes sure the materials and labor, or any other … We don’t argue or make decisions based on anecdotes. Get My Free Chapter. They can even lose focus that they’re on a team at all. While this approach involves many concepts and stages, the general idea is that project management is divided into small, repetitive phases that can be changed to address problems and implement new solutions. The specific organizational roles might vary, depending on where you are. One way to keep the entire team on track and functioning as a team is to create a product scorecard that everyone on the team can check at any time to see both how they are doing individually and how the product’s overall progress is coming along. They need to be clear (and to make clear to everyone on the team) what the project will and will not encompass. Some project managers do this by creating a project scorecard. In fact, many project management principles are universal and can benefit other teams. Take O’Reilly online learning with you and learn anywhere, anytime on your phone and tablet. A project’s communication plan should be more than just a schedule of planned team meetings at regular intervals. Once they’ve kicked off a project and their team has started working on it, project managers need to stay on the lookout for roadblocks that could slow their team’s progress. This will give the project the greatest chance of staying on track. (2013), although there are a certain number of studies that approach lean design related themes, it is still under debate in terms of what it is, and how to best implement it. Get a free trial today and find answers on the fly, or master something new and useful. This could include asking these salespeople for input in brainstorming sessions and sending them detailed progress updates. While I don’t fall into that category (yet), first principles has helped me unify my knowledge about Product Management. The literature ranges from esoteric prescriptions of the nature of the systems approach in the professional journals to “cookbook” recipes in the popular press. al. When they’ve identified their project’s strategic objectives, determined its scope, and figured out who its stakeholders will be, project managers can start breaking the project into tasks, roles, timelines, deliverables, and other details. If you have to learn how to do something that isn’t super fun and exciting to you, that’s what you do. Product development is a long, slow process, involving many people, each with their own needs and priorities. That thing seemed to be an element of research, or the ability to actually glean information from the outside world. And during team progress meetings, it is the project manager’s job to find out if any team members are experiencing problems or need additional help or guidance to complete their tasks. You will also need a way to communicate your roadmap to stakeholders throughout the process. Product Management Principles. It is a comprehensive Product Management framework that covers everything a company or team needs to create products that delight customers and maximize revenues. Product managers’ work involves corralling people across several different departments to work together on complex assignments. Great product managers fuse these two principles into all their decisions and everything they do should derive from them. Exercise your consumer rights by contacting us at The final project management principles we’ll discuss is measurement and accountability. Pricing ideas. Let’s review some of these project management principles and discuss how applying them can help product management with their own product principles. A colleague or executive might request work on an area related to the project but not part of its original plan. For the organization principle, we have ‘change the rules, don’t break the rules.’ This was another one that took me a long time to understand. at This week, I sit down with Matt LeMay, product coach, consultant, and author of Product Management in Practice. Not taking those people seriously, not considering them, is a very dangerous thing that I’ve seen a lot of product organizations do and fall into. The role evolved out of a set of responsibilities that traditionally fell to lead developers and engineers: scoping out user problems and making critical product decisions. The four guiding principles came out of the four CORE skills, which is an acronym for communication, organization, research, and execution. The “systems” approach describes a way of dealing with complex problems and opportunities in organizations; this approach has received much publicity in recent years, in the professional journals and in the popular press. This should be a blueprint showing the major areas of functionality and the strategic reasons for including them. The management philosophy that integrates a comprehensive life cycle approach for organizations in managing their value chain is called life cycle management (LCM). For a product manager, this blueprint should be a product roadmap. Using a scorecard gives the team a quick and easy way to check in any time to monitor the project’s progress. I come from music. This book is designed to help new and aspiring product managers land a PM … Read →, Change is hard. 3 Product Management Principles to Live and Die By Posted by Mark Silver on September 5, 2013 September 2, 2013 Posted in Product Management In any profession, the seasoned veterans seem to be able to handle any problem presented to them with confidence and … After you have communicated your product’s strategic goals and plans to developers, designers, and the other members of your cross-functional team, those people will start working on the product. Because you’re there to do a job, but there’s an element, and this feels sort of esoteric, but I think it’s true, there’s an element of faith that goes into those kinds of conversations, where if you really trust and follow somebody’s own line of thinking, there will be value in it, but if you go in trying to steer a conversation back to your assumptions or the things that you want to be true, that is exactly where the conversation will go. My last postconcluded our exploration of the impact an organization’s stage of growth has on the skills needed by a product manager. We were walking through some qualitative research, and people were getting very tense, ‘Well, I’m talking to somebody, but they went totally off into left field, and they’re not talking about my product anymore. A value chain is the connected activities that an organization undertakes in providing a product or service, with each interconnected activity adding value. I like using the word ‘research’ because it also makes it clear that it’s not just about being smart; it’s about actually doing the work of seeking out alternate perspectives, and explanations, and ideas. ProductPlan. We shouldn’t have 800 steps to do everything. You will need to keep your product roadmap up-to-date and accessible to your cross-functional team. Multidisciplinary nature. Project managers can do this easily by using award icons such as gold stars to signal the completion of a task or finishing before a deadline. For communication, the guiding principal is clarity over comfort, which is really going back to what I was talking about earlier, about this idea that there are times as a product manager when you will have to state things that might seem painfully obvious or ask questions that you know are wading into really difficult political challenges for the organization, but if there is not absolute clarity in your team and in your organization about what people are working on and why, then you cannot succeed as a product manager. * Metrics. That way anyone working on the product has a way to check-in and make sure they are still strategically on track. It’s pretty well documented that there can be no work below you or beneath you as a product manager. You might start by building your product roadmap, a great way to help your team identify the product’s strategic vision. In other words, during the planning phase, a project manager seeks input from the team, asking questions such as: Eventually, product managers need to translate their product vision into an action plan. I don’t know. The project manager needs to be careful here not to overwhelm these stakeholders with communication. But it is also a reactive method of keeping your product’s development on track. When they kick off any initiative, smart project managers develop a plan to determine how to hold teams and individuals accountable for their areas of responsibility, to figure out when they can deem the project completed, and to know what success will look like. Company initiatives often affect many people and departments across the organization. But you need to ask and answer these big questions before you start the tactical work on your product. At this point, it’s your responsibility as the product manager to monitor the landscape for possible threats to the product’s development—such as a new company priority that will divert budget away, or the possibility of a key member of the team leaving the company. What will success look like? The principle is generally a valid pattern, a basic idea or a rule. So create a product scorecard, show everyone where it is, use it to celebrate the team’s successes—and make it fun! Home; Training Courses; Product Management Principles; Pricing. The project manager turns that plan into a list of tasks and other tactical details. Project managers know they can’t dive into the details until they understand the project’s big-picture objectives. Product managers should set the scope of their products’ development as early in the process as possible. Agile project management method is a set of principles based on the value-centered approach. Design and UX ideas. We refer to them as four ‘controllable‘ categories. And just as a project manager’s communication plan requires more than setting up regular status-update meetings, your communication strategy as a product manager will be more complex as well. During this action-plan stage, smart project managers also make sure they are communicating with their project’s team, and that this communication runs in both directions. According to Reifi et. Because project managers have limited resources (people, time, and budget), they know they often need to say no to these requests. Government policy or rules and regulations, on the other han… Or you might start with a high-level brainstorming session with your cross-functional team. ambition level when creating the business case is suddenly difficult when we need to commit to actual sales volumes? About the book. When you begin planning a new product or set out to overhaul an existing one, you will already have a long list of ideas. With hundreds—or maybe even one or two thousand employees—organizations… Read →, Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have built such outstanding online shopping experiences that consumers now take these experiences for granted…. If people don’t know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and know that really clearly, then it doesn’t matter how good the thing is that you ship or how quickly you ship it; the team will eventually start to fragment and fall apart because that understanding is so fragile and so susceptible to miscommunication and to tomfoolery by people who are trying to steer the product direction one way or another. One of the more traditional project management methodologies, Waterfall is a linear, sequential design approach where progress flows downwards in one direction — like a waterfall. When I talk about living in your user’s reality, a lot of that has to do with getting outside of the closed feedback loop of looking for the vanity metrics that support that you’re doing a good job and talking to the good customers who will tell you how much they love your product and also have a million product ideas.
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