Product management is an essential part of many organisations that requires a strategic approach to bring a product from idea to market. It’s the process of planning, developing, and managing the lifecycle of a product.
However, regardless of the product or the strategy to bring it to market, one of the most important decisions product managers face is choosing a product management framework.
There are many different product management frameworks to choose from, but some of the most popular are based on agile and lean methodology such as scrum, and lean startup.
When choosing a product management framework, selecting one aligned with your business goals and objectives is critical.
In this ultimate guide to product management frameworks, we’ll explore the most popular ones and provide tips on choosing the right one for your business.
What is a Product Management Framework?
A product management framework is a set of processes and tools that help product managers bring products to market effectively. In short, they provide a roadmap for product managers to follow.
Without a product management framework, product managers would be left to their own devices to figure out how to bring a product to market. This would likely lead to a lot of trial and error and could ultimately result in the failure of the product.
However, product managers can’t simply choose any framework and expect it to work for their business. It’s essential to select a product management framework that’s aligned with your business goals and objectives.
The Role of the Product Manager
The product manager is responsible for the success of a product. They’re in charge of developing and managing the product vision, strategy, roadmap, gathering requirements from stakeholders, prioritizing objectives, and working with cross-functional teams to bring the product to market.
In short, the product manager is the driving force behind a product’s success. They’re the ones who need to make sure the product meets the needs of the customer and the business.
7 Steps of the Product Management Process
- Vision: Great products start with great visions. A vision is a far reaching future that could be possible and working towards making it happen.
- Strategy: A high-level plan describing what a business hopes to accomplish with its product and how it plans to do so.
- Goals: Product goals translate the product vision into clear, measurable objectives.
- Initiatives: High-level efforts that you will complete to achieve each goal.
- Releases: An useable/workable version of the product that is accessible to customers.
Step 1 – Market Research
This step involves understanding your target market, assessing customer needs, and conducting competitor analysis.
How can you conduct market research? There are a few different methods, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and secondary research. The goal of market research is to gather data that will help you assess the viability of your product idea. If you aren’t sure if your product idea is a good fit for the market, this step will help you figure that out.
Step 2 – Idea Sourcing
There are a few different ways to generate ideas, such as conducting market research, talking to customers, and analyzing competitor products. The goal of this step is to generate a list of potential product ideas and narrow it down to the one that you think has the most potential.
Step 3 – Idea Evaluation
This step involves assessing each idea based on factors such as market opportunity, feasibility, and alignment with your business goals. After evaluating the ideas, you’ll be left with a smaller list of the best ideas to move forward with.
At the end of your screening process, you should have a clear product idea to move forward with.
Step 4 – Idea Validation
Step 5 – Product Development
You’ll want to track your progress throughout this step to ensure that you’re on track to meet your launch date.
Step 6 – Testing & Feedback Gathering
Without testing, you risk launching a product that’s not ready or that doesn’t meet customer needs. For instance, you wouldn’t want to launch a new software product without first testing it to ensure that it’s bug-free. Taking the time to test your product before launch will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Step 7 – Launch & Continual Product Improvement
After you’ve launched your product, it’s important to continue gathering feedback and making improvements. This step is ongoing and should be a part of your product management process from start to finish. By continually improving your product, you can ensure that it meets customer needs and stays ahead of the competition.
Software Development Methologies
Software development methodology is a structured process enabling the planning, designing, testing and delivering software.
1. The Agile Methology
The agile framework has four steps: iteration planning, development, testing, and deployment.
Iteration planning is all about setting goals and priorities for the development team. Development is where the product is actually built. Testing is important to ensure that the product meets customer needs and is high quality. Finally, deployment is when the product is made available to customers.
The agile framework is a good choice for businesses that need to be able to adapt quickly to changes. This is especially true for software development, as building the right product that delivers value is a huge challenge. Following an agile approach enhances time to market and also faster validation by the customers.
2. The Waterfall Methology
The Waterfall methodology emphasizes a linear progression from beginning to end. This methodology often used by engineers is front-loaded to rely on careful planning detailed documentation and consecutive execution.
This methodology has a negative result in software development, since time to market and feedback takes too long. Waterfall methodology postpones risk to the latest stage of the project.
Popular Product Management Frameworks
1. The Lean Product Process
The Lean Product Process is a framework created by Dan Olsen. It’s based on the Lean Startup methodology, which is all about making small changes and quickly iterating based on customer feedback.
The Lean Product Process has three steps: Problem/Solution Fit, Product/Market Fit, and Scaling.
This framework is designed to help startups validate their product ideas quickly and efficiently. If you’re just starting out with product management, this framework is a good option to consider.
Scrum is an agile framework for developing and sustaining complex products. It provides a set of accountabilities, events and artifacts to guide the scrum team to deliver value.
The accountabilities are Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developers
Scrum is an empirical process, where decisions are based on observation, experience and experimentation. Scrum has three pillars: transparency, inspection and adaptation. This supports the concept of working iteratively. Think of Empiricism as working through small experiments, learning from that work and adapting both what you are doing and how you are doing it as needed.
3. Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas offers a visual representation of processes in a business. This can be helpful for product managers, as it allows them to see the big picture and understand how different pieces of the business fit together. Elements include a product’s value proposition, the infrastructure, current and potential customers, and other financial considerations.
This framework is ideal for businesses that are in the early stages of product development. It helps you map out your business model and identify any potential issues. This framework is uniquely suited to businesses that are developing new products or services.
4. The Design Thinking Process
The design thinking process has five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.
1. Empathize – The first step is to understand the customer’s needs and pain points. This can be done through research and interviews.
2. Define – The next step is to define the problem that needs to be solved.
3. Ideate – In this step, you brainstorm potential solutions to the problem.
4. Prototype – The next step is to create a prototype of the solution.
5. Test – Finally, you test the prototype with potential customers to get feedback.
The design thinking process is a good choice for businesses that want to focus on creating products that solve customer problems.
5. AIDA Framework
The AIDA framework has four steps: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
1. Attention – The first step is to get the customer’s attention. Here you will focus on marketing and advertising.
2. Interest – The next step is to generate interest in the product. You can provide more information about the product and its benefits.
3. Desire – The next step is to create desire for the product. Managers can do this through pricing, discounts, and other marketing strategies.
4. Action – The final step is to get the customer to take action and purchase the product.
The AIDA framework is a good choice for businesses focusing on marketing and selling their products.
An often undervalued but critical component of product management is storytelling. Storytelling can be used at every stage of the product development process to help communicate the product vision, build buy-in from stakeholders, and track progress.
The art of storytelling has been around for centuries and there are many different ways to tell a story.
When it comes to product management, there are three key elements to consider: the hero’s journey, the problem/solution dichotomy, and the before/after story.
In product development, storytelling can be used to:
1. Communicate the product vision – When you’re first starting out, it can be hard to get everyone on board with your product idea. One way to do this is by telling a story about the product. What problem does it solve? How will it make people’s lives better?
2. Build buy-in from stakeholders – In order for your product to be successful, you need buy-in from all of the stakeholders. One way to do this is by telling a story about how the product will benefit them.
3. Track progress – As you’re working on the product, it can be helpful to track progress by telling a story about where you started and where you are now. This can help keep everyone motivated and on track.
Other Potential Product Management Frameworks
There are many other potential product management frameworks to choose from. Some of the other popular ones include:
- The Stage-Gate(R) Process
- STAR / SOAR (Storytelling)
- Porter 5 Forces
- RFM: Customer Segmentation Model
- REAN: Digital Marketing Strategy Model
- 5 C’s of Product Pricing
- The Four Ps Model / 4P’s of Marketing
Take the time to explore different product management frameworks and find the one that best suits your needs. And don’t forget, storytelling can be a powerful tool at every stage of the product development process.
Tips For Effective Product Managemnent Framework Implementation
Tip 1: Don’t Speed Through Idea Management
One reason that many product management frameworks fail is that businesses try to move too quickly from idea generation to product development.
This can be a recipe for disaster, as it’s important to take the time to assess customer needs and market demand before moving forward with product development.
Tip 2: Remember, Your Mileage May Vary
There is no one-size-fits-all product management framework. What works for one business might not work for another.
It’s crucial to select a framework that makes sense for your specific needs. One product may work within one framework, while another may requrie a different framework altogether.
Tip 3: Never Underestimate Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is essential to the product management process. Without it, you risk developing a product that doesn’t meet customer needs.
Make sure to build feedback loops into your process so that you can take customer input into account at every stage of development.
Tip 4: Be Willing to Pivot
Many product managers make the mistake of being too attached to their product. While it’s important to have confidence in your product, you also need to be willing to make changes when necessary.
Be open to feedback and be willing to pivot your product if it’s not meeting customer needs.
Tip 5: Don’t Forget About Analytics and Experiments
Data and analytics should be a key part of your product management process.
They can help you make informed decisions about your product and ensure that you’re always making improvements. Additionally, don’t forget to run experiments to test new features or changes to your product.
Tip 6: Focus on impact, not features
Great products solve certain problems. Customers love it, not because of their features, but because of the benefits to solve real customer problems. Move away from building features and focus on solving customer problems.
Once you’ve identified a problem that you want to solve, gather a great team of people who would like to solve this problem with you.
Product management is a critical aspect for many businesses, regardless of size or industry. While there are many product management frameworks to choose from, it’s essential to select the right one for your specific needs.
In this article, we’ve explored some of the most popular product management frameworks and provided tips on selecting the right one for your business.
The key takeaway is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution – you need to select a framework that makes sense for your specific needs.
To create successful products, you need to discover, deliver and validate.
1. Start with Lean
Identify customers and their needs. Use prototypes to quickly validate assumptions about their needs and your business model.
2. Development with two streams
The greatest challenge any product faces is what to build. A development stream of discovery and delivery will lower your risks.
2.1 Product Discovery
Product development is never done. Product discovery allows you to validate your solutions and see if customers really care about them.
2.2 Product Delivery
Once you have validated your solutions, you can build them and have a lower risk of creating something that nobody wants to use.
Implementing a framework can be a challenge, but it’s essential to the success of your business. With the right framework in place, you can streamline your product development process and bring great products to market.
Don’t be afraid to get flexible! Great product managers often deviate from their initial ideas but keep their vision once they have discovered a new situation.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your product management process is effective and efficient.