Let's agree on Product Management "principles"!

     

The product manager position
Product manager is a growing profession. We find PMs in global matrix giants but also in startup wannabies.

Guiding with a Job Description

The old-school way. The organization is built around functions and their reporting hierarchy.

The product manager might report to the Director of (Product area) PM who in turn has his boss in the vP of Product Management.

Each PM will have a detailed Job Description – often based on RACI. (For those of you not having been employed in a multinational corporation – this means your personal involvement in various tasks:

  • R = Responsible (for fulfillment of execution of the task)
  • A = Accountable ( Typically a boss who is finally responsible, but might not do the work herself)
  • C = Consulted ( you should be asked about your opinion/ideas)
  • I = Informed (most likely the decision will have an impact on your area of work)

In some companies the list of tasks related to the product manager might fill a couple of A4/Letter size pages…


Defining processes

Maybe there is a full section of the intranet describing your key business processes – such as Time-to-market, order fulfillment etc. The Tolpagorni way of defining product management consists of four key PM processes:

  • Creating Insights: understanding the market, technology, corporate strategy and legacy!
  • Defining Strategies: the product vision and how to reach that wanted position
  • Product planning: high level Roadmapping to handling individual requirements
  • Product marketing: defining the product values, launches and value communication

[For a deeper understanding of the 4 key PM processes, download our PM framework for free]

Typically, a process map would include “Swim-lanes” for the various function in the company.

As an example, from product marketing:

The PM defines the values delivered to the target application/Persona in a marketing brief.

Then – the marketing department would visualize and communicate the message in various online and offline marketing channels.

Let’s agree on Principles!

In some companies founded and run by a true serial entrepreneur – processes and strict organizational boundaries are a big no-no.

Any consultant proposing introduction of “Process” or “Hand-over” would instantly been thrown into the gutter of the nearby street.

This is where “Guiding principles” are a boon. The principles would be agreed-upon attitudes and approaches on how to solve problems.

Let me give you some examples:

“The product manager is responsible for guiding her product to success over time”

“The product manager always has a concise and complete overview of the status of her product”

“The product manager and the product owner in R&D is a team driving product development”

“Sharing the domain knowledge is a key activity of the product manager”

“The product manager aligns strategies and actions with stakeholders in the company”

“Always focus on delivering value with the product”

Some organizations are built around tight process descriptions. Others based on the organizational hierarchy. But often, and not only in start-ups – a entrepreneurial culture prevails. In this case, we often find that defining “Product management principles” are way more efficient to align ways-of-working.


 

About The Author

Erik has extensive experience in product management, business management and development. Within the software, electronics and hardware, Erik has pursued commercial success.