A Journey into Product Management
I have been incredibly lucky to attempt this journey, applying product management principles at my role, this blog is an attempt to share some of the lessons and observations I have been learning along the way. I will keep updating this blog as a living document, as this learning is continuous and never stops.
Product management as a discipline emerged from technology companies, however we can see that there is now adoption in other sectors especially financial services. The concept of a product is rather clear when you have a software product or a website which people use, it becomes slightly harder when we try to fit in services or align against business units.
So there are definitely various interpretations of what constitutes a product, but I would prefer to focus on some common principles in a product centric outlook which add tremendous value to how we build and deliver today for our customers and clients.
There has been a shift about how companies and technology teams think, act and deliver value in the age of agile practices. Some key shifts include organisation as business units/teams that include technology expertise to achieve strategic goals 1, 2, 3, 4
Some central tenets around product thinking we can summarise from these articles above are
- A focus on outcomes and customers.
- Business driven teams with prioritisation discipline.
- A growth mind-set, a product is always evolving and disrupting till it’s no longer needed.
- Agile / lean thinking delivery practices.
- Regular benefits validation using usage analytics and feedback.
So now that we have seen what has led to this shift, we can then ask who is a product manager? We will find no single definition, good product managers come from various disciplines. I have tried to summarise some key traits of these individuals 5,6
- Work with people. They are comfortable building and nurturing relationships, get teams to be autonomous, self governing and accountable with unified vision and delivery.
- They can think both SMALL and BIG and are really driven to build, deliver products and execute strategies. (They enjoy doing this).
- Do customer and market research, understand business strategy and aspirations, help maintain and evolve roadmaps.
- Good communications skills and clear articulation to get buy in from technologists and business product owners.
We have seen that in different companies the roles differ, in some cases the role requires more of a technical focus while in others it’s completely around the business itself. There is also some clear advice that the product manager is not the scrum master or project manager within the team.
I hope that you have found this useful so far, thank you for reading.
These are my personal notes and observations and do not reflect any official policy or announcement from any company or employers past and present. These notes are only provided for informational purposes.
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