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Product Management: Methodology & Metrics

Instructor: Jagina McIntyre

Jagina has conducted professional training in communications and analytics for 12 plus years, with a a degree from Kent State University in Journalism and Communications.

Welcome to product management methodology and metrics, where you will learn how a product makes it from the product idea phase to public distribution, as well as identifying what makes a successful product release.

Product Management Methodology

Have you ever wondered how a product that you choose to purchase at the local grocery store made it onto that shelf? Who is responsible for the selection of products this store will carry? Why do some products succeed, while others fail? Product management methodology may have the answer you have been seeking.

Product management methodology is a form of project management that deals specifically with managing the life cycle of a product from birth (or its idea phase) to distribution (or public release). This can also include managing recalling a product from distribution, in the event of product defects.

The traditional product management methodology used the waterfall method, where each event had to occur in a defined sequence: idea, analysis and design, product build, testing, and distribution. The agile method is more flexible and does not require one phase to be completed before another can be started. The agile method requires more communication between teams handling various portions of the product management.

Most product management teams blend these two major methodologies, allowing for the benefits of proper documentation before product development, while delivering a product to market sooner.

Example

Picture yourself working for a company that wants to revolutionize sunglasses. The market is flooded with sunglass selections, but the company believes its concept of creating a collapsible pair of sunglasses will be all the rage. The concept has been drawn up and presented. The glasses will conveniently fold in half and slip seamlessly into a coat pocket without being damaged. The company believes the 'No More Lost Glasses' campaign will be a marketing sensation.

The product management methodology for this company would outline from start to finish the process required by the team members to get this product to market.

Methodology Goals

There are three major components to successful product management:

  1. The rule set--that defines how the product will be handled from start to finish.
  2. The guidelines--that help to proactively avoid pitfalls and potential issues.
  3. The product manager--who manages the process to keep the product moving through the various phases of development.

A successful product management methodology reduces cost and improves the overall quality of the product. When continued improvements are made to the process, the benefit is getting a good finished product to market sooner.

The Plan Components

The key to a strong product management plan is having outlined tasks that can be executed and checked off when completed. There are four measures to a strong plan:

  1. Identifiable--There is a written document to reference.
  2. Goal Oriented--There is a clear path to distribution.
  3. Consistent--It should be reliable and not contradict itself.
  4. Practical--It should be a plan that can actually be completed.

For example, you have been assigned to the team that will bring the collapsible sunglasses to market. At the first meeting, the product manager presents a written document that outlines the distribution of this product from the manufacturer to the warehouse. The document indicates that the new sunglasses will be released early spring, just in time for the summer rush. However, an executive staff member points out that the marketing team has already photographed all products for the upcoming spring catalog. All new product development had to be completed a month ago to make it into the catalog. This plan met three of the four measures listed--identifiable (#1), goal oriented (#2), and practical (#4) measures. Yet, this plan was inconsistent with the plan used for all new product development. This product has missed the marketing deadline.

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