Product management

Product management is a broad subject and product managers wear many hats. What hat you wear varies depending on the organisation, the problem you’re solving and the team.

If you’re a startup founder or representing a product, you’re either already a product manager or have been doing product management already (whether you realise it or not.)

I’ve worked on over 30 products with various teams ranging from early stage startups that haven’t written a single line of code through to enterprise software with hundreds of thousands of existing paying customers.

If you have an idea you want to get off the ground or an existing product you need to evolve, send me a note.

Let’s talk Product Management

The Purpose of Product management

Product management is about understanding your customer’s problems more than they understand the problem themselves. It’s also about discovering problems and new markets that have potential for a viable solution to be created.

Determining the viability of a potential solution is a big part of product management. The main driver for a product manager it to decrease risk and reduce waste.

A product manager will use constant validated learning to reduce the risk of building the wrong product while still being able to comfortably change direction using methods like Agile software development.

The role of a product manager effectively prioritises the highest value business opportunities and gets them to market.

The opportunity could be solving a customer problem that provides value people are willing to pay for. Or it could be building an automation tool or integration to speed up an internal workflow.

The Product Management Roadmap

A product manager works closely with business stakeholders and company strategy to create a ‘product roadmap’. The product roadmap is a prioritized list of projects, features or problems ordered from most valuable or important to least important.

The product roadmap is the source of truth behind what your team works on and when. It can make or break your business.

Building the wrong thing or the right thing at the wrong time costs huge amounts of money. The Product Roadmap keeps you on course to reach growth and profitability.

It will keep you and your team focused on the most impactful development for your customers and business.

Make every detail perfect and limit the number details to perfect.

Jack Dorsey, Square

Many variables go into roadmap development. It is constantly evolving and needs to be ‘agile’ so your startup or organisiation can adapt if the market changes. Wan’t to read more on roadmaps?

Product Management Solution Bias

As a product manager its VERY important not to get attached to a solution. Solution Bias is the ‘Achilles’ Heel of a Product Manager or Startup founder.

The more time, effort and money you spend on a solution the more attached you’ll become to it. You’ll look to confirm your assumptions rather than looking for information you don’t have yet.

This is ‘Confirmation Bias’.

Confirmation Bias is so easy to fall into nowadays with so much quantitative data driven Product Management. Product managers simply can head to their latest data dashboard product and run a search query to validate an assumption without exploring any other options.

You can see why this is extremely risky. Data can easily be validated if you looking for it.

The very clever Clémence Tiradon, Director of Product at eBay published this article – 3 Key Biases in Product Management

All too often in product management people forget to undertake qualitative research to compare and cross reference learnings.

In my experience this is where the true learning happen. Getting out of the building and talking to humans will give you insights you had no pre conceived assumptions on.

This is where the innovation happens.

Research means to investigate something you do not know or understand. 

Neil Armstrong

You must embrace the unknown but be confident in your process.

Imagine believing your solution is perfect and spending all you money building it only to discover you solved the wrong problem or solved the right problem the wrong way.

Product Management Conclusion

I work with you to constantly learn, measure and iterate toward the right solution. Using methodologies like lean startup, lean UX and agile product development.

Depending on what stage you product is at I’ll use the appropriate method to gather learnings, experiment with solutions, prototype ideas to define your roadmap and turn it into reality.

You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole.

David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework