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Product Management For Dummies



Product Management For Dummies

Brian Lawley, Pamela Schure

ISBN: 978-1-119-26403-3 January 2017 384 Pages

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Your one-stop guide to becoming a product management prodigy

Product management plays a pivotal role in organizations. In fact, it's now considered the fourth most important title in corporate America—yet only a tiny fraction of product managers have been trained for this vital position. If you're one of the hundreds of thousands of people who hold this essential job—or simply aspire to break into a new role—Product Management For Dummies gives you the tools to increase your skill level and manage products like a pro.

From defining what product management is—and isn't—to exploring the rising importance of product management in the corporate world, this friendly and accessible guide quickly gets you up to speed on everything it takes to thrive in this growing field. It offers plain-English explanations of the product life cycle, market research, competitive analysis, market and pricing strategy, product roadmaps, the people skills it takes to effectively influence and negotiate, and so much more.

  • Create a winning strategy for your product
  • Gather and analyze customer and market feedback
  • Prioritize and convey requirements to engineering teams effectively
  • Maximize revenues and profitability

Product managers are responsible for so much more than meets the eye—and this friendly, authoritative guide lifts the curtain on what it takes to succeed.

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part 1: Getting Started with Product Management 5

Chapter 1: Welcome to the World of Product Management 7

Understanding the Need for Product Management 8

Recognizing the Critical Role of Project Management 9

Defining product management 9

Serving as a strategic driver for business 9

Product Management in a Nutshell: Checking Out Your Day-to-Day Life 12

Managing a product during every phase of its life 12

Reaching in to your bag of tricks 13

Chapter 2: Getting in Character: Discovering Your Role as a Product Manager 15

Orientation Day: Examining Your Role as Product Manager 15

Checking out the job description 17

Pinpointing product management on the organizational chart 19

Drafting your product management manifesto 20

Comparing Product Management to Other Related Roles 21

Checking out product marketing 22

Looking into program management 23

Exploring project management 25

Knowing what other roles you interact with 27

Conducting a Self-Assessment: Traits of a Great Product Manager 32

Business acumen 32

Industry knowledge and expertise 33

Technical knowledge 33

People skills 34

Decision-making skills 34

Problem-solving aptitude 35

A cool head 35

Leadership chops 36

Scoring your product manager traits 37

RACI and DACI: Understanding Responsibilities 38

Going the RACI route 38

Taking a DACI direction 39

Using RACI and DACI effectively 40

Chapter 3: Checking Out the Product Life Cycle 41

Defining the Product Life Cycle: What It Is and Isn’t 41

Phases and gates 42

Mapping phase-gate to Agile methodologies 43

It’s Just a Phase: Breaking Down the Product Life Cycle 46

Phase I: Conceive 46

Phase II: Plan 47

Phase III: Develop 48

Phase IV: Qualify 49

Phase V: Launch 49

Phase VI: Maximize 50

Phase VII: Retire 51

Detailing the Optimal Product Process 52

Taking a look at how the process works 52

Understanding the nine core documents 54

Part 2: Discovering, Evaluating, and Planning for Great Products and Services 57

Chapter 4: Coming Up with Great Product Ideas 59

Getting a Handle on the Creative Process 59

Exploring sources for new ideas 60

Letting your team play 61

Generating Creative Ideas: Techniques and Tips 63

Brainstorming 63

Consulting customer councils 65

Tapping the power of mind mapping 66

Trying a more structured approach: The four actions framework 67

Chapter 5: Working to Understand Who Your Customer Is 69

Moving from Markets to Segments 69

Defining markets and segments 70

Determining market segments 70

Harnessing the Creativity of Personas 72

What is included in a persona description 72

Developing personas 74

Making Sure You Cover All Persona Roles 77

Visiting Customers 78

Observing customer visit courtesies 78

Interviewing customers 79

Chapter 6: Doing Your Homework: Evaluating Your Ideas 83

Understanding the Importance of Market Research and Competitive Intelligence 83

Subdividing kinds of market research 85

Looking for the right place to start 86

Undertaking the Market Research Process 87

Spelling out the market research process 88

Asking the right questions 89

Examining market research methods 91

Studying Competitive Intelligence 93

Identifying competitors 93

Collecting all the competitive intelligence possible 93

Keeping track of the competition 98

Reality-Checking Your Ideas and Hypotheses 99

Using a simple validation process 99

An example of product validation 100

Crunching the Numbers with Financial Forecasting 100

Chapter 7: Prioritizing and Selecting Your Ideas 101

Prioritizing Your Ideas 101

Finding the right fit with the product-market fit triad 102

Putting business canvases to use 104

Weighing different opportunities 108

Applying Scoring Models 110

Scoring for differentiation: The Kano model 110

Scoring for efficient use of development resources: Value versus effort analysis 111

Filling out a prioritization matrix 112

Collecting ballots: Dot voting 113

Buying features 114

Chapter 8: Planning to Plan: Choosing a Suitable Approach 115

Adopting Planning Best Practices 115

Starting early 116

Including your team 116

Treating your plan as a living document 117

Deciding on the Right Amount of Planning 117

Comparing Lean versus in-depth planning 118

Completing the types of new products and services grid 119

Finding the right level of planning for your company’s culture 120

Considering your executives’ expectations 122

Evaluating investment risk 123

Streamlining the Planning Process with Lean and Simple Planning 124

Understanding the Lean approach 125

What numbers are you looking at? 125

Taking a look at a popular business model canvas 126

Being prepared to rapidly change and pivot 128

Taking a More Thorough Approach: In-Depth Planning 128

Deciding whether to document 129

Using key documents and corresponding questions 130

Estimating your time investment 132

Chapter 9: Developing Your Business Case 133

Making a Business Case for the New Product or Service 134

Recognizing the importance of a business case 134

Outlining your business case 135

Gathering the necessary information 136

Putting It All Together: Documenting Your Business Case 136

Part I: Executive summary 136

Part II: Problem and opportunity 137

Part III: Market landscape 139

Part IV: Competitive landscape 139

Part V: Financial and resource impact analysis 141

Part VI: Risks 143

Parts VII through XI: Other sections 143

Getting buy-in for your business case 146

Chapter 10: Developing Your Market Strategy 147

Grasping the Importance of a Market Strategy 148

Setting Yourself Straight on Strategy Tools 149

Go-to-market strategy 149

Strategy models 150

Considering Other Components of Marketing Strategy 156

Whole product offering 156

Brand promise 157

Pricing 157

Segmentation 161

Positioning 161

Naming your product 165

Messaging 166

Putting Your Market Strategy in Writing 168

Part I: Executive summary 169

Part II: Whole product offer 170

Part III: Pricing 171

Part IV: Segmentation 172

Part V: Positioning 172

Part VI: Messaging 173

Part VII: Strategy 173

Part VIII: Launch programs and activities 175

Part IX: Budget 175

Part X: Concluding sections 175

Chapter 11: Developing a Plan: Market Needs, Product Description, and Road Maps 177

Uncovering Market Need and Creating Product Feature Descriptions 178

The problem space 178

The solution space 178

Comparing market needs and product features 178

Keeping discussions clear 180

Documenting Market Needs 181

Questioning why “why” is so important 181

Gathering the necessary information 183

Detailing your market needs document 187

Prioritizing detailed features and market needs 192

Whipping Up a Product Feature Description 193

Outlining the product description 194

Completing the product description document 195

Plotting Your Product’s Path to Success with a Product Road Map 199

Part 3: Building and Maximizing Product Success: From Development to Retirement 201

Chapter 12: Shepherding a Product Idea through the Development Phase 203

Getting the Lowdown on Waterfall/Phase-Gate versus Agile Development 203

Waterfall: Measure twice, cut once 204

Agile: Plan and deliver rapidly 205

Creating the backlog in Agile 207

Assuming typical responsibilities 211

Unlocking the Secrets of the Product Development Trade-Off Triangle 213

Maintaining Best Practices during Development 215

Chapter 13: Gearing up for Your Product Launch: The Qualify Phase 217

Getting Up to Speed on the Qualify Phase 217

Ensuring internal and external quality validation 218

Creating a beta plan 219

Dodging typical beta testing mistakes 220

Putting a Beta Program in Place 221

Setting appropriate goals 221

Making your goals concrete 221

Recruiting participants 222

Making the Decision to Ship the Product 226

Chapter 14: Liftoff! Planning and Executing an Effective Product Launch 227

Unlocking the Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Product Launch 228

Understanding the importance of first impressions 228

Detailing the elements of a successful product launch 229

Setting Launch Goals 230

Checking Out Different Launch Types 231

Launches under Agile or very frequent releases 231

Easy does it: The soft launch 231

A small effort: The minimal launch 232

Going all-in: The full scale launch 233

Choosing a launch type: Key considerations 233

Running a Smooth Product Launch 234

Building your launch squad 235

Tracking milestones and ensuring accountability 235

Arming your sales team and other key stakeholders 236

Creating a Product Launch Plan 237

Recognizing the importance of the launch plan 237

Filling out the launch plan template 238

Validating the Plan against Your Launch Goals 241

Chapter 15: Maximizing Your Product’s Revenue and Profits 243

Grasping the Basics of Marketing 244

Marketing mix 244

Working with marcom and creating marketing collateral 248

Fitting into the sales and marketing funnel 252

Getting sales the tools to sell the product 254

Becoming marketing aware 255

Forecasting: A Look to the Future 256

Collecting data for forecasting 256

Making assumptions 259

Creating an Effective Marketing Plan 260

Recognizing the importance of a top-notch marketing plan 261

Outlining your marketing plan: What to include 261

Setting goals 263

Monitoring Product Success Metrics 265

Keeping tabs on the sales funnel: Leads, opportunities, and conversions 265

Examining revenues and profitability 265

Gauging market share 266

Benchmarking: Tracking against the business plan 266

Changing Course: Making Adjustments 267

Beefing up sales support 268

Enhancing the product 268

Trimming costs 268

Chapter 16: Retirement: Replacing a Product or Taking It off the Market 271

Deciding How to Retire a Product 272

Taking into account internal and external expectations 272

Considering Critical Factors in a Product Retirement Plan 273

Breaking down specific end-of-life issues by product type 273

Distinguishing a product’s various end-of dates 275

Checking out parts of a product retirement plan 276

Following Best Practices when Retiring a Product 277

Part 4: Becoming a Phenomenal Product Manager 279

Chapter 17: Cultivating Your Product Management Leadership Skills 281

Identifying Traits of an Effective Product Management Leader 282

Developing Your Leadership Style 283

Reaching for results and motivating people 283

Handling stress 284

Thinking, acting, and communicating like a leader 287

Chapter 18: Mastering the Art of Persuasion 289

Brushing Up on Persuasion Basics 289

Active listening 290

Convincing with the three reasons method 291

Asking for what you want — concisely 292

Getting Your Executive Team on Board 293

Drawing up an influence map 293

Building relationships with the key players 294

Talking the talk: Executive-speak 295

Winning Over Your Development Team 296

Building your credibility 296

Assessing your team and adjusting 298

Sizing up different types of developers and how to handle them 299

Fostering rapport with the team 300

Getting Sales on Your Side 301

Making it easy for sales to sell your product 302

Chapter 19: Getting to the Next Level in Product Management 305

Mapping Your Career Path: Setting Goals and Target Dates 305

Establishing goals 306

Building a career plan 307

Writing one-, three-, and five-year action plans 309

Remembering the favors 310

Mastering Your Market and New Technologies 310

Becoming the market and customer expert 311

Increasing your technical expertise 312

Part 5: Part of Tens 313

Chapter 20: Ten Common Product Launch Mistakes to Avoid 315

Failing to Plan Early Enough 316

Not Having a Sustaining Marketing Plan in Place 316

Shipping a Poor Quality Product 317

Inadequately Funding Launch 318

Underestimating the Required Marketing Exposure 319

Driving Customers to Buy Your Competitor’s Products 319

Announcing Too Early 320

Not Having a Dedicated Product Review and Public Relations Program 321

Delaying Communication 323

Considering International Markets as an Afterthought 323

Chapter 21: Ten (Plus One) Road Maps to Help You Succeed 325

Theme-Based Product Road Maps 326

Timed Release Product Road Maps 328

Golden Feature Product Road Maps 329

Market and Strategy Road Maps 329

Visionary Road Maps 330

Competitive, Market, and Technology Trends Road Map 331

Technology Road Maps 331

Technology across Products Road Map 332

Platform Road Maps 333

Matrix Product Road Maps 333

Multiple Product Line Road Maps 334

Chapter 22: Ten Ways Product Managers Fail 337

Talking More Than Listening 337

Focusing Only on Features 338

Not Continuing to Learn 338

Reinventing the Wheel 338

Avoiding Seeking Help 339

Digging In and Refusing to Compromise, Ever 339

Never Visiting Customers 339

Not Owning the Whole Product 340

Adopting Agile but Losing Overall Business Focus 340

Being a Product Janitor Rather Than a Product Manager 341

Glossary 343

Index 349