Do you know the four key values of agile development in the technology industry? They state that developers value individuals and interactions over the use of tools and processes, customer collaboration over contract negotiations, working software over comprehensive documentation and response to change over following a plan. How does this method apply to the strategic role of product management within a technology company?
Many technology business owners push product management to the side, but it is a well-understood and accepted aspect in virtually every other industry and it directly applies to the technology industry as well. Who needs it? In short, the role of product management applies to both tactical and strategic activities within a company.
More clearly, the strategic role of a product management system is to be what is called the “messenger of the market.” These individuals delivery key information to the departments that will then make decisions regarding them. It is quite common for companies that have a limited focus on product management to struggle with hiring and firing – often times in a roller coaster fashion because they lack any clear direction. However, the role of a product manager can clearly help a company to stop the up and down movement and push the company to a higher level instead.
Whether you are a startup or a fully developed company working on your next project, you need product managers and the right ones. Take a look at a few descriptions of the types of managers you need:
Customer-focused product manager: A more externally-focused individual, he or she focuses on the “what” rather than “how.” This person in your business should understand your customers and work to build relationships with them.
Engineer-focused product manager: This individual’s task is producing incredible work. His or her job is to deal with the technical aspects of the project. They tend to have the software engineering background and more focused on the production of the product. This is your “how” person.
Design-focused product manager: Often a younger, eager individual whose job it is to push and pull. Highly effective when the founder is still very much involved in the product development, these individuals tend to challenge the founder and, ultimately, help create a better product. His job is to focus on user-centric design and functionality of your product.
Business-focused product manager: The business-focused project manager: This person should be a true professional with MBA-level knowhow and a data-driven focus in sales and partnerships. This individual will aid in making strategic product decisions, but is less intimately aware of the design and engineering components of your business.
Still wondering how product management fits into your company and your goals? Here’s what’s important to remember. With product management and a team of professionals working together to meld your product ideas and plans along with market research and consumer needs, you end up with a lower risk product. You have a product that’s marketable right out of the door and you have a repeatable pattern you can continuously follow to continue improving your business. More so, this method helps to better identify product opportunities, resolve key product problems, and aids in helping you to find a buyer for your technology.
With key communication among product managers, versatile opinions and experience, and a framework for success in place, you can develop products quickly and effectively, saving money, creating a better end result, and aiding your business in thriving. This is directly related to your technology company’s success.