Session 2 – Product Management – More than one link in a chain

By Posted on : 5 Apr 2018 0 Comments

Session 2 – Product Management – More than one link in a chain
Annette Torrington, Director at Platinum Warranty

What is Product Management?

There are differing definition of what it really is:

• The organisational structure within a business that manages the development, marketing and sale of a product or set of products throughout the product life cycle. It encompasses the broad set of activities required to get the product to market and to support it thereafter – Business dictionary

• Product management is an organizational function that guides every step of a product’s lifecycle: from development, to positioning and pricing, by focusing on the product and its customers first and foremost – Atlassian

• The product manager is often considered the CEO of their product and is responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for that product or product line. The position may also include marketing, forecasting, and profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities – Aha this is it!

With product management forming part of a Marketing degree, it is interesting to see that of all the participants, they have come from a variety of areas (9 in total) – and none have a marketing degree. There is a distinct lack of Product Management training in Australia, with only a small number of providers. Globally there is only one degree in the world for product management in Germany – IT product management.

People fall into product from a variety of backgrounds – including legal, actuarial, claims, operations and a range of other roles.

What’s in the role According to Tanya Cordrey, former chief digital officer at the Guardian – “One of the really fantastic things about product management, but also one of the real stresses of it, is that it is a very broad role. You have to be able to be really good at strategy, be inspirational, and understand the long-term picture. At the same time, you have to be really good at the operational side and making things happen.”

There is a variety of elements a product manager will be involved in and needs to understand:

• Customer

• Price

• Market

• Packaging

• Distribution/sales

• Brand

• It/systems

• Placement

• Monitoring

“Ensure all these elements are working together to fulfil product proposition”

Product organisational model: There is a significant difference between back office and integrated product management model – organisations should be driving towards the integrated model:

• Back office model:

Crucial points to do this?

• Knowledge

o Learn what others do in detail e.g. operations, systems

o Ensure you can converse in all technical areas e.g. pricing, systems, profitability

o Learn about the customer

o Stay abreast of regulatory discussions and changes

o Know what PM&D policies or procedures are in place

• Bring value o Share your knowledge – team updates, discussions, info email

o Ask “what are you trying to achieve?”

o Give alternative solutions – explain advantages and disadvantages with technical considerations

o Ideally, a Product Manager should be able to find areas in the business that need improvement and help solve those issues.

• Embed o Product development and management process

Ensuring the process works – Implementation readiness

• No matter how big or small the change to a product is, the organisation must be ready for the change

• Don’t rely on people being involved throughout the process

Have an implementation/business readiness checklist • Get sign off that heads of each area have done everything required

Annette’s tips:

• Delegate and action on urgency as well

• Know your product

• Is your product/company offering what it said it would?

• Product managers are the strong, flexible, tensile link holding the chains (other parts of the business) together

• It’s an emotional journey – joy then dark swamp of despair but rewarding at the end!

• When finding it difficult – gain sponsor commitment then use them to gain commitment from leadership team

• Set parameters about knowing timelines and processes for product these are your guiding principles

3 tips for busy product managers:

1. Have a good filing system on your email (to keep in control)

2. Be clear about what things should come to you (what do you need copied in on? Can you cut out emails?) You chose what you need to be involved in

3. Talk to people, huddle and communicate!

Remember, enjoy the journey!