Product Management: Process & Best Practices

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 a comprehensive introduction to product management processes and best practices. Learn the best ways to bring a product to life and land it in the hands of customers.

How to Take on the Best in Product Management

Have you ever tried to launch a new product but you just can not seem to get it out the door? Have you wondered how a company seemingly comes out with a new and successful product every other day? Understanding the best practices of product management might be just what you need to know to solve your issues.

Business Dictionary defines product management as the development, marketing and sale of a product to a customer. A product manager is responsible for working with teams throughout the company to complete everything from developing ideas to releasing the product to market. No two product manager roles will be alike. Roles vary by company and the type of product. Product managers in a nutshell define the problem and create a solution. A product manager needs to be able to see the full vision, while breaking the lifecycle of a product down into small incremental steps.

A product manager's goal is to bring the technology, the business, and the users together. Within each of these areas are best practices for communication and workflow that can make the process go more smoothly.

The goal of a product manager is to bring the technology, business and user together.

The Best in Communication

One of the most important roles of any product manager is to be a skilled communicator. There are several areas of communication that keep product development on track:

  1. frequent meetings - teams need to be on the same page.
  2. communication plans - make goals clear.
  3. prioritize issues - keep a visible backlog of concerns.

The Best in Workflow

Product managers work with various teams throughout the organization, which can lead to varying workflows. Understanding how to unify departments effectively is a key to successful product management.

  1. learn basics - be hands-on to help understand teams' abilities.
  2. good relationships - build trust.
  3. non-technical skills - contribute, using what you know to lend a hand, for example, understand what parts of a programmers' tasks does not require a programmers' skill set to pitch in.
  4. team dynamics - understand what they need from you.
  5. give credit - acknowledge team members' helpful ideas.

The Best Product

Product managers are responsible for providing a solution that works for the customer. Here are the keys to delivering a good solution:

  1. core problems first - do a few things well by solving the main issues, and not trying to solve everything at once.
  2. prioritize features - know what is coming next.
  3. delay perfection - solve current problem and make upgrades later.
  4. innovative - do not spend too much time worrying about the competition or you will waste too much time following them.

A Real-World Example

You have owned a local donut shop for the past five years, when a large chain bakery moves into the area and sales have been declining for the past year. The competition offers a variety of about 20 standard donuts, but your research tells you most of their sales come from coffee and hot sandwiches. Your shop does not offer those items, and currently does not have the budget to add coffee machines or sandwich makers. You also have no desire to replicate what your competition is doing. You are open to new ideas from your employees on ways to bring more customers into the shop again. A few of the employees suggest that adding unique flavors would be intriguing to the customers. It would set your menu apart from the competition and bring a different market of customers into the shop.

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