May we impart order and symmetry to our product efforts, and communicate it well and in pleasing ways to our stakeholders...
Product acts as the voice of the customer within the organization
Product interacts with customers to truly understand their problems
Product and the cross-functional team develop business solutions to customer issues
Product works with Project and Engineering to assess the feasibility, cost and timing of potential features
Product spends a limited quantity of engineering ‘currency’ on the most useful portfolio of features
Thorough, concise specifications describe features: we see that they are fulfilled; we test to them; we train to them; we document to them – our specs are agile but concrete
Product is accountable to the Executive team for how they have chosen to spend their engineering capital and budgets
Product works with Project to publish and meet roadmaps and deadlines
Engineering constructs the technical structures needed to implement the business solution as described
Product and the cross-functional team take the solutions to market
Product acts as a solution evangelist to the market
So let it be written; so let it be done.]]>
Why CMO's Need to Own Product Development
...offered an observation so profound and simple that it merits immediate comment here: it opens up a revealing dialog about the nature of Product Management and Marketing in an organization.
As we better evangelize product benefits externally and client needs internally we take away reasons for ownership of our products to lie anywhere but with our team.]]>
Across a broad spectrum are numerous Product Management roles that may bear the moniker “product manager” but which require very different skills and experience in order to succeed:
|'Product Management' Role||Accountable To||Background||Responsibility||Defend P/L By|
|Product Revenue Manager||CRO||Sales with Strong Communication||Revenue||
|Technical Product Manager||CTO||Engineering with Strong Project Management||Functionality||Personally Make Technical Changes|
|Product Marketing Manager||CMO||Marketing||Client/Product Alignment||Better Client / Market Interaction|
|Product Strategy Manager||CEO||Product Management and Cross-Functional Skills
||Successful Full Product Life Cycle
||Coordinate with all Stakeholders
In the absence of authoritative product management standards, none of these definitions is right or wrong, but each represent different needs from and benefits of the product management professional:
Any person who owns a product is responsible for its profit and loss (P/L). The key determinant is whether sales numbers represent the Product Manager's direct or indirect KPI. When direct, top-line revenue is the most important metric, a sales-focused Product Manager can be most effective. Examining the action that must be taken to protect revenues can be very revealing:
The Technical Product Manager
This role focuses on aspects of the product at a level of detail that is beyond what users see and experience. Prospective employers often do a good job of identifying these roles (requiring an engineering degree, programming experience, etc.), but not necessarily of differentiating how Technical Product Management differs from other product management activities within the organization (assuming the firm also employs non-technical product managers). Organizations with a strong technical focus may assign all product management functions to Engineering, with "Program Manager" or similar titles assigned to those filling the client and market-facing product management role (this approach yields varying degrees of success).
This role often has the most difficult distinction with Product Management. Where the Product Manager typically controls what the product is, the Product Marketing Manager frequently governs how the features and benefits are communicated to clients and the market, whether and how specific user needs are being met, and the overall effectiveness of sales and marketing activities.
The most critical role of the Product Office is to define both what the product is and needs to be at the high level, but also why, and to apply these factors for the long-term success of the organization. Because of the critical nature of Product Strategy, this role is often filled by the CEO or executive team directly. Mature organizations assign a Chief Privacy Officer to drive product strategy and overall success of the product portfolio.
Numerous roles may ewar the "product management" badge; the more clearly we differentiate product strategy and management from other company roles, the more likely we are to get the right people in each position with clear objectives and the tools they need to win.]]>
Three Dimensions of Product Management
In general, the fit between an organization and its product management requirements is determined by three orthogonal criteria:
Developing an organization whose success stems from product management expertise, rather than organizational experience, represents the most clear, versatile and effective approach to product management.
But you can’t manage complex technology in a complex organization without understanding the... complexities!
No, you can’t. Product managers must understand the capabilities and limitations of both the organization they work in and the systems they work with in order to apply the more broadly applicable skills and experiences they bring to the table.]]>