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Product Management Matters Today More Than Ever

Today, we strive to communicate, collaborate, and operate more efficiently and effectively in both our professional and personal lives. Therefore, the level of sophistication and excellence we’ve come to expect from our business applications has grown exponentially. We’ve grown accustomed to a friendly user experience and have expectations for specific, advanced functionality.

Quite simply, we require more out of our technology.

This mentality has given rise to the discipline of product management and is the reason that it continues to grow in importance.

Defining Product Management
Product management is responsible for establishing and owning the vision for what a product will realize for a business. Ultimately, product management lives in the intersection between business, technology, and the end user. The role of the product manager is to find and maintain the appropriate equilibrium of these three important components.

The Importance of Product Management in Business Application Success
Ensuring the implementation of a new business application is a success requires listening and understanding the needs of the user, aligning end user needs with the goals of the business, translating business needs and goals, and responding to ongoing user feedback. In combination, these activities move a successful business application forward.

Establishing the Big Picture
While it can be easy to want to just go and develop an application, careful planning is a critical component of long-term business success.

First, ask:
– What should the application accomplish?
– What need will the application fill?
– What are the ways to fulfill this need?

Spending a few minutes bringing stakeholders together to understand pain points and ideas for resolution can save significant time in the long run. Invite everyone to contribute their opinion, find a consensus, and create a vision around it. Take in the information, synthesize it, and replay it to envision what the application should accomplish.

Throughout the process of establishing the big picture:
– Collaboratively create the vision for the product;
– Ensure ongoing team-wide mindfulness; and
– Communicate the vision to stakeholders.

Understanding the Why, What, and Who
To establish and objectively measure the value of an application, from project initiation to project close, each team member must first understand:
     Why the business application is needed;
     What features/functionality are requirements for success; and
     Who the business application will serve.

This understanding will serve as decision-making guide posts for the team throughout the engagement.

Help team members understand the why, what, and who include by:
– Tying features back to business objectives;
– Creating and managing the product roadmap; and
– Building user personas and use cases.

Being the Voice of the User
Engaging end users for feedback, thoughts, and feelings is an important component of product management, both at the onset and throughout development and launch. Positive feedback and constructive criticism will likely be offered – both play a critical role in success. Positive feedback may reinforce a significant point of impact. From constructive criticism, new themes and ideas may emerge.

After collecting feedback, the step often neglected is synthesizing the feedback and formulating actionable steps to apply feedback for the purposes of evolving and improving the product.

The importance of product management grows as users place higher expectations on the applications they use daily. Businesses must balance the end user needs with the business needs and the technology utilized to be successful in the long term.

Our team takes a unique approach to product management. We work with clients to not simply deliver a business application but the precise business application that will lead to future success.