Responsible product management can make or break your product. Businesses realize a flagship and reliable product only when the pivotal product management side stays frictionless, adaptable, accountable, and transparent. All the critical decisions that bind, build, and release the product must function in harmony to get the product out in time, per scope, and within budget.
49% of companies do not use a consistent Product Management process – 280 Group
Product Management is central to this success. Badly engineered product management processes with poorly defined responsibilities, silos, bloated tools, and no direction could delay or even kill the product. The absolute best product management practices are imperative in a competitive landscape that demands accelerated closures for a fast time to market. How do we get there? Let’s take a look.
What Is Product Management?
Product management is a strategic organizational approach that ensures a product’s success from development and release. It consists of several processes that come together to ensure a successful product symmetric with the vision, market demands, and budget. The cycle will steer a team of resources and solutions to gather requirements, strategize, develop, and launch the product.
Defining the core features, designing the UI, creating the best UX, releasing an MVP, iterating, meeting deadlines, understanding the market, creating a feedback loop, etc., are all part of the product management framework. The product manager will oversee the entire operation, share instructions, coordinate with resources, schedule activities, and help to keep the software development process steady.
Effective Product Management Tips to Boost Software Development Returns
Read the market extensively:
Before going all in, study the immediate competitors and market dynamics to understand how things are shaping up. The product’s overall vision should meet and exceed market demands. Fill in the gaps through differentiators and offer superior features and functionalities that tackle pre-existing problems more seamlessly.
List down all the market metrics that matter and develop a product framework that expertly addresses and provides value to these KPIs. Do competitive intelligence to understand key capabilities and weaknesses of their products. Gather customer insights to establish the business benefits they seek and bridge them with the feature sets that can deliver that value.
Understand the needs, pain points, and product goals:
The key to developing a successful product involves extensive research. You may have to dig around and touch every pain point before coming up with relevant solutions. Additionally, have a top-level understanding of what you hope to achieve, break that down into subliminal points, and arrive at the intent to build the product.
Each resource must know what the product addresses – allowing them to work with more awareness and enabling better coordination toward the end goal. Inadequate insights with limited information restrict users to their side of the story. This can make it hard for them to collaborate, stay on the same page, and see the holistic vision. A wider exposure lets users focus on individual tasks while having a firm insight into the core nature of the product.
Have a comprehensive Strategy and Roadmap:
Starting unplanned could result in disjointed processes that create inefficiency and delay/derail the product. You need to create, review, and validate a strategy and map the same with the components and goals of a detailed roadmap – the roadmap is your shared source of truth. Any plan that you create should be responsive to customer feedback.
The roadmap acts as a plan of action that covers all the milestones – from discovery to the run phase. The roadmap gives you an intricate idea of who, what, and when before starting your product lifecycle. A strong roadmap outlines and serves as a reference guide toward closure, besides defining priorities, giving direction, providing context, and tracking progress.
Align Stakeholders and allocate resources:
Align all the stakeholders and decision-makers with the vision discussed in the roadmap. Get them to see the overall picture, establish specific tasks, and explain how that contributes to the overall goals. Once done, start assigning due dates to lower resources and provide the necessary supporting tools and other data to get started.
Collaborate with them, update changes immediately, adjust strategy, evenly distribute the overall workload, and ensure the security/testing teams stay on top of every completion. Align metrics with individuals, establish clear accountability for the results, and address any deviation from the stated goals.
Automation, AI, and Efficiency:
Automation is at the heart of everything. The sole goal is to streamline processes and make resources more efficient. Organizations need to leverage certain no-code and low-code platforms to achieve higher productivity. These tools with inbuilt AI and ML automate repetitive, tedious, and wasteful activities and allow workers to focus on high-value tasks.
Reduce time and expenses on routine, error-ridden, and laborious manual tasks. Empower your users with automation tools. These tools help simplify the product development workflow, information sharing, interface design, code testing, task delivery, and reporting activities. Automate to mitigate risk, improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and lower complexity.
Get Collaborative and Communicate Better:
A cross-functional teamwork, where all the participating actors work together to ensure the delivery of the product goes as planned. A product manager oversees everything from the get-go. From implementing a scrum methodology to organizing daily standups, collecting progress, staying agile, and ensuring the development stays on track for an early finish with minimal iteration.
A cohesive unit that works together gets the job done more seamlessly. Communicating through a centralized platform removes silos, ensures transparency, and allows a continuous flow of insights between members through notifications/alerts. Engage everyone, communicate clearly, and utilize considerate human intelligence to guide; instead of being over-authoritative. Most importantly, pick up learnings, review performance, and optimize the processes to improve each other’s productivity.
Test and Retest the Product:
Better to test the product for flaws, security loopholes, and other drawbacks early. Consistent testing ensures errors get resolved fast, with that side of the software receiving the closure it needs. In contrast, leaving it till the end could throw up significant flaws from all directions, making fixes challenging and leaving a lot on the table for resources to fix.
Pre-occupied resources will have a hard time managing too many issues. Significant code rewrites or design changes are hard to address in later stages. Catching flaws early reduces time to market, decreases expenses, and saves time and effort. Perform environment, integration, regression, security, and usability tests to detect quality issues early. Automate these tests where possible to improve efficiency.
Stay Agile for unpredictability:
A healthy product management process preps for unpredictable scenarios. From unstable market conditions to sudden resource shortages, agility lets you quickly respond and incorporate new variations. A nimble and responsive approach focuses on small incremental sprints that analyze the work to make changes, pursue another direction, or abandon the initiative altogether.
Agility revolves around constant feedback. It endorses the ability to change direction, adjust priorities, and focus quickly, compared to the more traditional methodology that aims for a finished product without being open to iterations. True agility means breaking the work into sprints and releasing the new code after it clears your testing standards.
What Is the Product Management Lifecycle?
The Product Management Lifecycle is a comprehensive process to manage the product through the introduction, growth, maturity, and decline phases. Each stage requires the decision-makers to improve the product, elevate traction, reinforce the product, and prevent an early decline. In the first stage, you create awareness and collect early insights through qualitative surveys and data-driven analysis.
To accelerate, study competitors and the value they provide to position your product differently. To sustain momentum, create credibility. Following this, you try to grab more market share through success stories to extend its run in the maturity phase and prevent a downhill. If it shows any signs of depreciation, innovate and pitch a new and improved version. Product management in software development requires constant analysis and changes as per market dynamics.
Why Is Product Management Important in Software Development?
- Understand the requirements and map the same to specific features
- Get to develop a roadmap for the product journey that serves as a blueprint
- Infuses collaboration, flexibility, efficiency, trust, and analysis
- Manages risks better to ensure pitfalls and bottlenecks don’t create delays
- Strategized goal-based development with timely testing allows an economical finish
- Each milestone, from ideation to launch, comes out on time and as per the objectives
The road to realizing a value-driven product is often tumultuous and riddled with delays, inefficiencies, and risks. However, an expert product management methodology can help navigate all this in an orderly fashion – from ideation to deployment. Stay flexible, ensure visibility, use analytics, measure results, and optimize processes for better performance, reduced complexity, and needless overruns.
Getting started on a product can be intimidating. The inability to carve out a high-integrity plan, define specifications, assess risks, define a budget, allocate resources, and create a practical schedule can prove disastrous. The seasoned experts at ISHIR can help you out. Our strategic product management workflow helps get quality custom software out on time and within budget.