We’ve been there. We understand the complex challenges that product designers and managers face every day, and we’re committed to helping you get more done faster. With Jama, you can streamline your workflow with powerful workflows that automate tasks from start to finish. You can also collaborate with your team members and stakeholders in real-time so everyone stays on the same page. Plus, we offer free training for new users—you can even try our software before buying!
In this guide, we review the aspects of Product Design Management Software, product development tools and techniques, product launch management software, and What are the 3 major areas of product management?
Product Design Management Software
Product design management software helps product development teams collaborate, automate workflows and reduce risk. Designers, engineers and project managers can use Jama to define requirements, manage budgets, schedule tasks and track milestones—all while maintaining a single source of truth throughout their entire workflow.
- Define Requirements
- Use a process to define requirements
- Use a tool to define requirements
Automating workflows is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your product design team. This will reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks and help improve efficiency, accuracy, data quality and more. You can automate workflows in many different ways including:
- Setting up approval processes for content creators
- Automating QA tests (e.g., automated regression testing) to reduce errors in your products
- Creating work orders that allow designers to submit ideas/proposals
Collaborating is one of the most important requirements when it comes to product design. You need to be able to share designs with your team and customers, and it can also help you make sure that you’re designing the right thing for your users.
Jama has a number of collaboration features that allow you to do just that:
- Share designs with team members in real time
- Invite customers into your Jama account for feedback or discussions
If you’re in a project management role, you know that reducing risk is a top priority. Risk can be defined as the probability of something negative happening and the impact it would have if it did occur. Some examples include:
- Cost overruns on a project
- Delayed delivery of products to customers or clients
- Failure to meet deadlines (especially with set-in-stone contracts)
The key point here is that reducing risk reduces costs and time. You don’t want any of these things happening to your company! So how do you reduce risk? By using software that manages all of your projects in one place, rather than managing them piecemeal through spreadsheets and email threads—which is where most companies start because they aren’t aware of better options like product design management software (PDMS).
Trusted for a Reason
Jama has been trusted by some of the world’s most recognized brands for over 20 years. Jama is the software development choice for some of the world’s most recognized brands.
Jama is used by leading companies in the automotive, consumer electronics, industrial, medical and telecom industries. In fact, over 100 million people use our software every day.
For over 20 years, Jama has been the software development choice for some of the world’s most recognized brands.
Jama is the software development choice for some of the world’s most recognized brands. Jama was founded in 1999 and has over 3,000 customers in 150 countries who are using it to manage their product development lifecycles. Jama is also used by many of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as top 100 product development companies.
I hope you have enjoyed this article on Jama’s agile project management software!
We make it easier to efficiently create and validate product designs, so product development teams can innovate faster.
Product design management software helps you to collaborate, communicate and validate your product designs. It’s used by teams to solve complex problems, make decisions quickly, manage change efficiently and achieve business outcomes.
Jama is an industry leader in product design management software that makes it easier to manage design changes. We give teams a more efficient way to innovate faster by providing tools for collaboration, communication and validation of designs across different platforms such as mobile apps or websites.
product development tools and techniques
When talking about tools for product managers, we’re usually referring to the standard few that most product managers use every day. These product management tools generally include product analytics software, development tracking tools, and roadmapping software.
But a product manager’s job involves a lot more than gather product insight, tracking the backlog, and reviewing the product roadmap. Whether you’re a new product manager or a seasoned PM just wanting to make sure you’re not missing a key component of your role because you’re lacking the proper tool—the following is a list of product management tools to help you excel in your role.
12 Product Management Tools to Have in Your Product Stack
1. User tracking and analysis tools (such as Pendo and Amplitude)
These tools can be invaluable sources of intelligence and insight into how your software’s users or your website’s visitors are actually engaging with your product and your content.
Whereas customer surveys or interviews — which are valuable tools in their own right — will tell you only what your customers say and think product analytics platforms capture and help you analyze what those customers actually do.
If your company sells software or just maintains a lot of content on a website, deploying a service like Pendo or Amplitude can uncover important realities about what resonates with your users, and what doesn’t.
2. Roadmapping software (such as ProductPlan)
Roadmapping software is a must-have item on any list of product management tools. Using any non-native roadmap application to draft and maintain your product roadmap (such as spreadsheets or slide decks) will create far more work, be far less flexible and easy to share, and more prone to version-control issues that can slow your product’s progress. This is exactly why we built ProductPlan.
ProductPlan makes it easy for product teams to build and collaborate on product roadmaps. A visual, interactive roadmap is much more effective for communicating product strategy and helps align your team around your product vision.
Watch the webinar, What’s in Your Product Stack: Roadmap Tools
3. Customer survey tools (such as SurveyMonkey or Typeform)
What’s great about web-based survey tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform is that they have so many types of pre-formatted questions that, whether you want to offer multiple-choice questions, drop-down lists, or just open comment fields, you can put together a survey in minutes.
You can then send the survey out to your customers and easily track and analyze the results.
For gathering quick answers to important user questions, these tools are extremely helpful. But beware: Like email, online survey tools are so easy, convenient, and inexpensive that it can be tempting to overuse them. Use your surveys sparingly, so as not to upset your user base.
4. Recording apps for customer interviews (such as GoToMeeting or Zoom)
When you speak on the phone with customers, even if you’re just calling to answer a question, it’s always a great idea to record the call. Using a tool such as GoToMeeting or Zoom makes it easy to record those conversations and reference them later. You never know when a customer will offer valuable insight, ask a question you realize a lot of other users will have, or just share with you a novel why they’re using your product that you might not have otherwise thought of.
5. Industry analyst accounts (like Gartner or Sirius Decisions)
Here’s a tool you probably wouldn’t immediately think of as part of the product management tool stack — but depending on your industry and target customer, you might want to consider it.
Having access to the collective industry research and the latest thinking of the analysts covering your space can be extremely beneficial in terms of guiding your strategic thinking and helping you determine where your market is headed. The statistics and reports these research firms (such as Gartner or Sirius Decisions) output can give you just the types of data you need to prioritize and earn stakeholder buy-in for specific themes and features on your product roadmap.
Of course, this will be among the most expensive product management tool on this list, so you might need to use your powers of persuasion (which you no doubt have as a product manager) to convince your management team of its value.
6. Team messaging tools (such as Slack or Confluence)
When your product development, or any complex and cross-functional initiative, gets underway, you will want an easy and immediate means of communicating — as well as maintaining an ongoing record of all communications related to the initiative.
Thankfully, there are many simple, cloud-based tools that allow for just this type of easy and centralized team communication. Slack and Atlassian’s Confluence are a few that come to mind.
7. Presentation software (like PowerPoint or Keynote)
We often point out how inefficient presentation tools are for roadmaps. But that doesn’t mean that PowerPoint or Keynote shouldn’t have a prominent slot in your product management toolkit.
Presentation decks can be invaluable for communicating your high-level strategies, visions, and plans across your organization and to external audiences like customers.
Vision decks, for example, can be a powerful way of communicating your product’s vision to a group of executive stakeholders and earning their buy-in. Presentations can also be a highly effective way of conducting sales training or educating industry analysts about your product.
8. Project management tools (such as Jira, Pivotal Tracker, or Trello)
Like the team messaging tools we listed above, today’s project management applications are much more robust and provide a simplified means of tracking and documenting details.
Using a web app such as Trello, for example, you can track and share various items with relevant team members by grouping these items into easy-to-view Boards — such as “Sales Collateral in Progress” — and then creating individual Cards below, such as “Product Data Sheets” or “Case Studies.” These cards can easily be dragged and dropped under different Boards — say, from “In Progress” to “Under Review.”
Other popular project management tools include Microsoft Project, which teams typically arrange in Gantt chart format, and Jira, which is often configured as a less visual issue-tracking tool. And tools like Pivotal Tracker will help you to execute on your roadmap and keep your backlog organized.
9. Feature flagging software (such as Split.io or LaunchDarkly)
Feature flags give product teams an easy way to “turn on and off” specific features once code has been deployed to production. This comes in handy in a number of scenarios: coordinating a big feature launch, A/B testing, rolling back a new problematic feature.
Tools such as Split.io and LaunchDarkly empower product teams to manage feature flags and get the most out of their usage.
10. Session replay and heatmap tools (such as FullStory or Hotjar)
As a product manager, you spend a lot of time trying to dig into the minds of your customers and unearth exactly what the experience of using your product is like for them. With tools like FullStory and Hotjar, you can get insight into user behavior like never before.
Heatmap software helps you understand exactly what users on your site care about by visually representing their on-site behavior. This insight can be extremely valuable as supplemental data for your product team. A heatmap in conjunction with a number of session replays and a few customer interviews will give you plenty of data to make an informed product decision.
11. Flowcharting tools (such as Visio)
Although not all product managers use flowchart and diagram applications, the affordability and ease of use of these tools make them a great way of performing a step that many PMs overlook but shouldn’t — customer journey mapping.
Creating a customer journey map is helpful in giving you and your organization a clearer view of your customer’s full experience with your company. When created properly, a journey map will show all of the touchpoints an individual has with your organization from the first visit to your website (or the first call from one of your sales reps) through purchasing and using your product.
Journey maps can also focus specifically on the full experience of using your product — say, from the first visit to the site, through completing an online form, through any contacts the user has with your sales reps or other staff, through downloading and logging in to your tool.
Flowcharting and diagramming tools — like Microsoft Visio and OmniGraffle — can be helpful in mapping out any specific aspects of a user’s workflow or experience with your product. And because they offer a visual view of that workflow or experience — as opposed to merely a list of steps your customer will take — the flowcharts you output from these tools can then help you uncover insights into how to strategically prioritize your product roadmap.
product launch management software
What is Product Launch Software?
Product launch software is a digital tool that helps businesses automate and streamline all of their product launch-related processes.
Furthermore, product launch software enables product development teams to optimize their product lifecycle management activities.
In addition to product launch planning, this type of software gives users the ability to:
The list of benefits could go on forever.
The point is that product launch software provides you with the necessary tools to automate repetitive tasks and get your teams to focus on value-added efforts.
That will help you generate more revenue and mark every item on your product launch checklist as “done” much faster.
But if the promise of making more money is not enough of a good reason for you to stop pen and paper planning, we have four more.
4 Reasons why Using Product Launch Software Matters
Now, let’s have a closer look at the benefits your organization can leverage by using product launch software.
Specifically, it can help you:
The key to harnessing all of these benefits is task automation — a key feature of any product launch tool out there.
Imagine how smooth a new product launch would go with, for instance, automated messaging.
Almost 70% of conversations with customers can be handled by chatbots — from start to finish.
And this is just one example of how much time you can free up just by integrating software into your launch strategy.
Let’s look at more key statistics about increasing efficiencies and benefitting your business using product launch software.
Reason #1: Automation saves time and money
In a recent Salesforce report, almost 100% of the surveyed IT and engineering leaders stated that workflow automation is a top priority within their organizations.
What’s more, the return on investment (ROI) of automation is highlighted by 75% of respondents who report time savings equivalent to a minimum of 4 hours per week.
Another similar research endeavor by Frevvo finds that 73% of IT leaders managed to reduce the time employees spent doing manual tasks by up to 50%.
The same goes for manual processing costs.
When factoring out repetitious, monotonous work, team members can focus on more important things like product lifecycle management.
Reason #2: Efficient product lifecycle management
Product launch software can help you:
All these are little gears that piece together in order to power an efficient product lifecycle management strategy.
What happens when you don’t have a product life cycle strategy in place?
Well, according to research, over 50% of companies that are not using software with product lifecycle management features:
Why not avoid all that risky business?
Not only will you be more likely to meet your launch goals but you will also get streamlined communication and collaboration.
Reason #3: Streamlined communication and collaboration
This might come as a surprise, but research finds that almost 40% of employees feel like there’s not enough collaboration within their organization.
Moreover, 75% of the survey participants consider collaboration as “very important”.
Collaboration is important not only for employee retention and satisfaction, it’s also a way for you to:
There’s no doubt that efficient workforce communication and collaboration will guarantee you a successful launch — and your team might also finish their tasks ahead of schedule.
In fact, teams that have an effective communication system in place are likely to increase productivity by up to 25%.
This brings us to the next benefit you can get with product launch software: increased effectiveness in your marketing and sales strategies.
Reason #4: Increased marketing and sales effectiveness
You don’t have to imagine; it’s possible.
Think invoicing, pipeline management, reporting, analytics, training, and the like — all taken care of.
With repetitive tasks out of the way, your sales team will have more time to actually sell your product.
The same goes for marketing: more time to create winning product marketing plans.
And we’re not just saying that.
Now that you know what’s in it for you, let’s go over which product launch tools best fit your business needs.
The Only 9 Product Launch Tools You Need to Streamline Your Upcoming Launch
Below, you’ll find a detailed list of the most useful tools for your upcoming launch. Namely, each platform mentioned in this post helps you to optimize different segments of your launch process.
For example, you’ll read about tools for:
Basically, we have picked a solution for each item on your product launch checklist. You’ll discover tools that will help you reach your pre-launch, launch, and post-launch milestones with ease.
1. Viral Loops
The first product launch tool on the list is Viral Loops, our referral marketing platform designed for the modern age of social media, where word of mouth is everything.
In detail, Viral Loops helps brands maximize their reach and sales with:
Did we mention the countless templates you can choose from?
You have the ability to build your referral marketing strategy using templates such as the:
And many other carefully designed campaign blueprints.
In other words, Viral Loops is an all-in-one solution for referral marketing.
The platform enables you to build a tribe and run profitable referral programs that can get traction in any niche.
It’s easy, scalable, and it works!
Plus, our platform supports seamless integration with most of the following product launch solutions.
For example, you can integrate Viral Loops with MailChimp, Google Analytics, HubSpot, Unbounce, Slack, Zapier, ActiveCampaign, and many other marketing automation and product planning tools.
Now, how are you planning to manage all the new customers you get from your Viral Loops campaigns?
We know something that can help.
2. HubSpot CRM
Next on our list is HubSpot, a customer relationship management (CRM) system that helps track information and interactions between your company and your customers.
Moreover, the system allows users to create targeted email campaigns, landing pages, and website forms. It also can help you:
With the full suite of tools from HubSpot — including analytics, marketing automation, and contact management — you can connect with buyers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
HubSpot can help you integrate data from all relevant customer touchpoints, including social media channels and third-party marketing.
Did someone say customer touchpoints?
Unbounce is another useful tool for your launching campaigns.
It’s a landing page builder that can help you reach your target audience easier and boost landing page conversions when launching campaigns.
With Unbounce, you can build conversion-optimized landing pages without the need to hire developers or designers.
It’s a code-free way to create, publish, and A/B test landing pages for your product launch marketing campaigns or conversion tracking needs.
This platform has a drag-and-drop interface that enables you to create sophisticated, multi-page web forms without any coding experience.
Get ready for more amazing-ness. Amazing communication and collaboration, to be specific.
Do you remember the benefits of efficient communication and collaboration?
The good news is that you can start leveraging those perks by simply using Slack, a messaging app built for teams that can bring all your communication in a single place.
With Slack, you can bring everyone together — from your customer support team to the content marketing people and beyond.
What are the 3 major areas of product management
What do you need to create a product? First, an idea of how it will look in the end. Then follows a long process of product creation that takes a lot of time, effort, a team of professionals, and a team leader. To transform any idea into a profitable product, a company has to go through several stages to set a vision, define a strategy, develop a product, and sell it to the right people. This article examines the details of product management, describing its main stages, and a product manager’s responsibilities in this process.
What is product management?
Product management is a process that focuses on bringing a new product to market or developing an existing one. It starts with an idea of a product that a customer will interact with and ends with the evaluation of the product’s success. Product management unites business, product development, marketing, and sales. Studies show that effective product management can increase profit by 34.2 percent proving the importance of its implementation.
One of the critical activities of product management is creating and documenting a product strategy, the process so broad and important that we described it in a separate article.
Here’s our video explaining the main things in under eleven minutes:
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Product management is led by a… product manager. Don’t confuse the role with a project manager. A project manager is responsible for a single part of a product life cycle – product development, while a product manager’s responsibility is to lead a product from the germ of an idea to launch, focusing on features, business value, and the customer. Read our full comparison of product managers vs project managers in the dedicated article.
We’ll describe the role of a product manager in more detail further on, but now let’s look deeper into the product management life cycle.
Product management process and key activities
Tasks in product management cascade from strategic to tactical. The whole process of product management involves
Each of the stages may include inbound and outbound activities. A product manager doesn’t perform all activities but rather supervises their fulfillment.
Inbound activities focus on product development and include defining vision and strategy, product development, testing, and launch.
Outbound activities are oriented toward the marketing of a product and its sales. This includes branding, sales, and analysis of customer feedback.
Inbound and outbound product management activities
To get a complete understanding of the process, let’s discuss each of the product management stages one by one.
Product vision is a significant part of product management. If we were to compare product management to a road, the vision is both a road sign and a destination. It defines the final product and shows the direction towards achieving it. It’s not a strategy of product development yet, but this is where the strategy development starts with idea management when a team discusses a new product. The vision can be articulated during a brainstorm or may be based on a backlog of ideas.
When developing the vision, a product manager sets the goals for the product and defines specifications. A well-specified product vision answers the following questions:
Geoffrey Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm suggests using the following template for the product vision definition.
Geoffrey Moore also recommends keeping the vision short. As he puts it, “If one cannot test the product vision with an elevator pitch, then it is not ready yet.” For example, Amazon’s vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work.”
Market research and customer understanding
Market research is a process of information collection and analysis of the market and its present or potential customers. It comprises comparing similar products that already exist, studying the competition, and identifying target customer groups.
Obviously, knowing your customer is a basis for creating a successful product. 76 percent of consumers expect companies to understand their needs. Moreover, 84 percent of companies that focused on improving customer experience reported a revenue increase.
As mentioned above, a product manager in cooperation with the product marketing manager conducts various research to get a deep understanding of potential product consumers. This process includes several perspectives:
Creating user personas means describing fictional characters that represent the user types that can have interest in the future product. In other words, a portrait of your ideal customer. User personas can include such information as age, gender, education level, average income, life goals, common problems, spending habits, etc.
Example of a user persona, source: CleverTap
Identifying customers’ needs is the only way to create and deliver the product that will be in demand. Besides defining specific problems and necessity for a specific product, customers can be classified into groups according to their 4 main needs: price, quality, choice, and convenience.
Studying customer behavior involves understanding your target customers’ psychology and motivations. That includes knowing how they reason and choose between different alternatives, how they conduct research, how they are influenced by their surroundings, how they react to marketing campaigns, and much more.
Market research can be made by a company (primary research) or taken from an external source (secondary research).
Secondary research involves already produced data that can be found in statistical databases, journals, online sources, etc.
Primary research is adapted to a company’s needs and can be either qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative research focuses on defining problems and relevant issues. This incorporates personal interviews, group surveys, and focus groups. Quantitative market research is based on data collection and statistical analysis. It allows a product manager to reach a larger audience and gather general information, while qualitative research provides insight into a problem, identifying wants and needs, as well as possible pitfalls.
Market research is important for new product development, both at the stage of execution and the stage of marketing and sales. With its help, a company can understand what customers want and develop a strategy that will allow for making a successful product.
Once you have the vision, know the market, and understand customers’ needs, a specific product strategy has to be formulated accordingly. While a vision defines the goals for a product, strategy describes a way to achieve them and sets main milestones. This must be a clear and realistic plan for the team that works on a product.
An effective product strategy defines the main features of a product, users and their needs, and key performance indicators (KPIs) that the product must meet.
Product strategy is typically documented in a written roadmap form that would allow a team to control the work at all stages. A roadmap is a tool that provides a framework for a team with a timeline and specific actions, illustrates the vision, goals, and the current state of product development.
Read our dedicated article, if you want to learn more about strategic roadmaps, their types, and how to build one.
A good roadmap is clear and serves as a visual guideline for all members of the team. Regardless of the specific roadmap structure, it must depict the current state of things and the next steps. There are different roadmap templates and their formats depend on the number of products (a single or multiple product roadmap) and aspects of product development (goal- or feature-oriented). However, any roadmap must group the items by the sequence of their implementation. Roadmaps can also be internal or external.
Internal roadmap. An internal roadmap is used on a company level. It shows the vision, short- and long-term goals, as well as connected processes. Teams that work at different stages of product development can track the timeline and stay aware of the upcoming actions. A product manager and a CEO use an internal roadmap to control the progress.
External roadmap. An external product roadmap is usually less complicated and is created for stake- or shareholders, potential and existing customers, investors, etc.
Buffer public roadmap, source: Trello
Prioritization is an important responsibility of the product manager at the stage of roadmap preparation. The objectives, aims, and activities must range from the most to the least important.
When the strategy is ready, the product manager has to communicate it to the product team and the stakeholders. A product manager has to be focused on customers and stakeholders at the same time. And though a customer always must be a product manager’s priority, maintaining efficient working relationships with stakeholders is also important.
Stakeholders have a large influence on product development, being able to cut the budget, or change the timeline. They can suggest implementing product features they find necessary and important, but which are completely useless to users. The product manager’s task is to communicate strategy to stakeholders to ensure common understanding of the vision.
Execution and testing
During the execution stage, a product team works on the product itself. They build a new product or add new features to an existing one. Main phases of this stage are product development, internal and external testing, and the application of feedback results. All along the execution stage, a product manager controls the implementation of the roadmap and participates in accompanying activities.
Product development. Product development starts with defining technical specifications, making first prototypes, and a mockup design. While these activities are normally covered by the UX team, a product manager can be involved in writing technical specifications. The product manager’s main goal is to identify what the users want and communicate this information to the development team and project manager.
For this purpose, he or she conducts focus-groups and personal interviews with potential customers. Results of these activities allow a product manager to prioritize the necessary and unnecessary features. He/she writes product related documents, for example, a Product Requirement Document (PRD) and Functional Specifications Document (FSD). Learn more about software documentation practices in our dedicated article.
MVP release and external testing. One of the core responsibilities of a product manager is to define the minimum viable product (MVP) and make sure it serves its purpose. When the MVP is released, a product manager sets up a feedback collection mechanism, gathers the feedback, and alters product requirements based on user input. Actually, 60 percent of product managers admit that their best ideas came directly from customer feedback.
A/B testing is one of the most common evaluation techniques. The main idea behind the practice is to choose the product features that are more useful to the customers or enable higher customer engagement. A product manager defines testing scenarios in cooperation with a UX specialist, tracks results, and communicates the changes to the project manager and/or development team.
To test product usability, user acceptance testing (UAT) is conducted on different development stages. UAT helps analyze how users interact with the product, discover flaws, check for agreement with business requirements, and so on.
To conduct successful tests, a product manager sometimes develops a relationship with potential customers making sure that they will be honest about the usability of a product. While testing, the user reaction and the customers’ feedback are analyzed. When the results are ready, a product manager has to convey them to a project manager, so that the developers can prepare the software for launch or introduce changes to the existing product.
Marketing and Sales
Once the product is completed, it’s time for it to enter the market. At this stage, marketing and launch plans have to be finalized, and the sales teams trained to start distribution. The 3 important aspects of a successful product launch are
A full-fledged marketing strategy involves a lot of pre-launch activities that are aimed at creating a buzz around your product even before it appears on the market. They include advertising through different media channels, pre-launch giveaways, creating high-quality, SEO-optimized content, etc. All of them have to focus on the specific target group of customers that was predefined during previous market research.
Through the whole process, the product manager delivers an operating plan, which aims to track the growth of a product in the market. We are going to talk about this process and specific metrics in the next section.
In startups and smaller companies that don’t have the separate position of product marketing manager, the product manager may have more responsibilities at this stage. In this case, the product manager can be involved in the following processes:
In larger businesses these activities are usually distributed among executives from the product, sales, and marketing teams.
Tracking product metrics
After the product launch, the product manager monitors its progression and analyzes data to understand the success of a product. We have a detailed article about key product management metrics and KPIs if you want to learn more about them. These metrics can be organized into several main groups:
It’s definitely not enough to just choose the metrics to follow and collect information. What matters is the further analysis and the valuable insights that can be obtained from data — to later influence decision-making. The results of such analysis will show the management team how well the product performs and if any changes are necessary — be it adding new features, adjusting the sales strategy, or updating the marketing campaign.
What is a product manager?
A product manager is the person who creates internal and external product vision and leads product development from scratch. This individual defines customer needs, works with stakeholders and teams on creating the required product, and carries responsibility for overall product success.
Product manager’s responsibilities
Marty Cagan, the author of Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love defines the goal of a product manager the following way: “to discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible.” So, a product manager has to be knowledgeable in three main spheres: business, technologies, and user experience.
Who is a product manager?
Identifying opportunities. The first thing that a product manager does is see the opportunity to develop a new successful product or improve an existing one, adding necessary features to it. The product manager must be aware of current trends and have a deep understanding of the market to make the right decisions when a company decides how to build or improve a product. This person is also responsible for the outcome of a product launch.
Product discovery, explained
Developing product vision and strategy. A product manager has to define the long-term mission of a project and build a clear, realistic plan of how to reach the desired result. A recent survey demonstrated that the key activity of most product managers (84 percent) is setting a product strategy. It’s closely followed by crafting a clear roadmap and overseeing its completion.
Team and stakeholders management. A product manager has to make sure that all members of a team work harmoniously to achieve the main goal. One of the most important functions of this person is to clearly communicate the requirements to the development team and organize the development process in the most efficient way. On the other hand, the product manager has to negotiate with stakeholders and balance their demands and expectations.
Marketing activities. Marketing is one of the main factors contributing to product success, so product managers collaborate with product marketing managers. That involves market research, observing current industry trends, collecting and analyzing customer feedback, defining pricing, and developing a marketing strategy.
Constant product improvement. While at first it seems like a product manager performs only administrative tasks rather than making something, that is not true. They are constantly working on the improvement of the existing product, testing it, analyzing data, and managing defects. Eventually, a product manager has to make the final decision on what the end-product should be like and the strategy for its development and launch.
While there’s no single set of KPIs and responsibilities for a product manager, they usually include monetization, user engagement, and the level of user satisfaction. The KPIs may vary depending on the company and industry. Some product managers focus mainly on development, writing specifications, and supervising development progression, while others display more focus on marketing and sales by developing a marketing plan and training a sales team.
Product manager deliverables
We’ve already mentioned the main product manager’s deliverables when discussing the process, so here we’ll just briefly recap on the outputs that have to be created when working on the project – often through cooperation with other teams:
To cope with such a workload, product managers use various software tools that are also worth mentioning.
Product manager tools
Just like project manager’s tools, product manager’s digital helpers should assist with planning and monitoring resources, managing workflows, tracking productivity, collaborating, and exchanging information. However, since product managers have a wider range of responsibilities, they often use more diverse software in their daily routine:
Depending on the scope of work and personal preferences, many product managers also take advantage of presentation platforms, notetaking tools, designer software, and more. Luckily, some comprehensive tools such as Jira or Wrike provide functionality that covers multiple workflows – plus numerous integration opportunities to seamlessly connect to other specialized systems.
Roles in a product team
Depending on the size of the company and its stage of maturity, the role of a product manager can vary greatly. In a small startup, this position can be substituted by a project manager or a product owner that we discuss below. In small companies, the product manager is likely to be a jack-of-all-trades with a broad range of responsibilities, including marketing, pricing, and even sales.
The roles in a bigger and more mature company, however, are usually more distinctly defined and have a narrower function scope. Also, as the business grows and starts developing multiple products, the need for a chief product officer arises to oversee the entire product portfolio.
The product manager is part of the product team that consists of several players, including those at the management level. Usually, there are three: a product manager, a project manager, and a product marketing manager. Product development can also be influenced by stakeholders and, besides that, there’s also a business analyst – someone who translates stakeholders’ business requests into development tasks for the tech team.
Roles in product management team
Each manager has one’s own responsibilities, limited to his or her sphere of concern. The product manager’s role is much wider and includes activities on every level. Let’s define the functional scope of the other positions to understand a product manager’s role better.