Don’t you miss the old days of Product Management?
- Meeting with customers and get solid input on new features and functions.
- Prioritizing features and then have a discussion with the R&D manager who could rather quickly assess effort and cost.
- Handshake with R&D and then at the agreed time a quality product is released, which incidentally is in perfect alignment with the company strategy.
- And the actual meetings are well documented by your secretary including decisions and stakeholders, all documents on file for easy access later.
Well I am not sure I ever had my job that simple but after discussing with my father, now into retirement, the above could have been a slight simplification of life in the “good old days”. Now, we all know that today the above is far from true.
First no one in product management has a secretary, or rather we all have, namely yourself. Secondly Product Management is so much more than managing detailed product requirements. There is also a continuous battle between long term strategies and plans vs. immediate requirements from customers. You will need to present/defend your decisions to top management and ensure they are aligned with company strategy and neighboring products in the company. Marketing will need an update on your product values when it comes to the new Launch initiative fostered for the whole company. And to top it off your biggest competitor just launched a new pricing model which threatens to undermine your long-term business plan for the Product Portfolio.
What frustrates me is that to do all the above, and that was not at all an exhaustive list of all Product Management activities, you need to use several different software tools to be effective. The obvious tool is the detailed requirements tools, long existing, which have an interface to traditional R&D systems. Focalpoint is one tool coming to mind. Although these tools handles synchronization to R&D systems and basic priority functions they clearly lack in areas like; Road-mapping, Value and strategy assessment, Sandboxing as well as Personas and Themes management.
So, you all recognize the tools you use; Excel, pen and paper, PowerPoint, mind mapping tools and a sharing/joint editing tool. But wouldn’t it be nice if these could be combined in a SaaS tool truly engineered for Product Management use.
In recent years, some new startups have shown interest in this area and there are in fact new Applications just being introduced. But are they really going to rock your boat? What functionality do you need in them to improve your daily work?
We are really eager to find out if these tools actually deliver on their promises. Therefore we are gathering product managers from technology industries to find out together. Sounds interesting? You'll find more info about that here, WORKING GROUP
We have compiled our top seven considerations as a starting point: