What is product management?
Product management is the practice of strategically nurturing a product through each step of its lifecycle: from user experience and market research to product development to positioning to market launch and continued operation and improvement.
Product management practices accomplish this by highlighting customer and user needs, giving voice to technical and operational voices within the team, and providing a framework to synthesize it all with the needs of the business.
What is a product manager?
Through each step of the product life cycle, product managers balance your need to deliver value to your company with your need to deliver real, practical value to your customers and users.
They focus on the nexus between the customer, the company, and the team, and help create a product organization that consistently ships solutions with better product-market fit. Good product managers help you ship the product features that will engage your customers and achieve your business objectives ahead of your competitors.
Stride’s approach to product management is guided by each client’s unique needs. Our product management consultants select the techniques that best solve your most important challenges. Whether you need help with product strategy, building a product roadmap, or user experience research, we will help your product team do it with a greater focus on users and measurable results.
In the discovery phase, product management consultants learn from you and your stakeholders about the end-users of your website, product, or service and what they are trying to accomplish. We interview users, create personas, and adopt the perspective of your users to understand exactly what your product or service uniquely provides to them. Together, we build a customer journey map and a new, complementary visual language that improves the user experience.
We also dive deep into the goals of your business to ensure that product success proceeds hand in hand with the achievement of business objectives, as measured by your organization’s success metrics.
Uncovering business value
- Product vision – Identifies and aligns the vision for the product.
- Objectives, measures, values (OMV) – Articulates the goals of the project and shared measures of success.
Defining user value
- Persona definition – Builds user personas for high-value end users.
- Customer journey mapping – Constructs current and ideal customer journey maps.
- Planning onion – Introduces ideas of planning at different levels of granularity.
- Stakeholder mapping – Defines and documents the roles of all parties involved in the project.
As we define the user and business goals, Stride’s product management consultants build a roadmap to reach those goals and translate them into a backlog of work for the delivery team to tackle.
Product managers power a shared vision between you and the team by helping the team understand the needs of the users and business as well as ensuring that you stay up to date on what the team learns as they start to build out your solution. Software development is an iterative process, and gathering feedback from the market and the team to inform the direction of delivery is essential.
The team builds software, prioritizing the highest-value features first and focusing on delivering value as quickly as possible. This enables stakeholders and users to see and try working software early, and to provide feedback that points the team toward the next highest priority.
Even as we deliver software, we never stop learning and adapting. After each release and round of feedback, we revisit the backlog, decide on the next highest priority, develop, and release again, all the while measuring our progress. This process of continual reflection and refinement of prioritization, led by the product management consultant, ensures that you and the team are always aligned on shared metrics and focused on the highest priorities for your business and your customers.
- User feedback – Interview end-users to gather feedback.
- Stakeholder demos – Review progress and collect feedback biweekly.
- Lean analytics – Define metrics to improve, develop hypotheses, design and run experiments, and analyze results.
- A/B testing – Conduct simple, controlled experiments to gather data about preferences from actual users.
Translate value to work
- Weekly/biweekly check-ins – Alignment sessions to keep you informed and the team apprised of shifting priorities.
- Product backlog grooming – Translate ideas into user stories that the team can work on.
- Sprint planning – Commit to a certain amount of work per weekly or biweekly iteration (“sprint”)
- Daily standups – Align the team on the highest priority work and remove blockers.
- Retrospectives – Review team practice and reflect on ways to improve.
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