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The product management process is very broad – from discovering, understanding and articulating customer / market problems to determining what features are in what releases to delivering releases, training internal teams and creating positioning documents.  At its finest, product management is a well choreographed set of activities to get ideas to market that provide significant value to the recipients. At its worst, it is an uncoordinated flurry of activities that seems to go nowhere; laden with crisis after crisis.

Here are some of the symptoms that indicate a less-than effective product management process:

Features provide little to no value to current and future customers

Is the loudest voice or strongest opinion winning the feature debate? Whether it is the development team looking to add the latest technology or the sales team looking for that “million-dollar” feature – is your feature selection process driven by opinion? Are 80% of the features in the product of little to no value to customers? Resources are scare and they need to be focused on the items that provide the greatest value to customers (current and future). But how do you know what provides the most value? First off you really have to find and understand the problems that customers and the market have. Discovering the root cause of these problems could lead to an innovative solution that others have not thought of; giving you an opportunity to lead the market and not simply follow.

Releases are consistently late

If your releases are consistently later than what was originally projected then that typically means that too much is being jammed into the project. With good intentions early in the project, the world unfolds and more is added to the release. Something has to give, and it’s usually the expected availability date. A well articulated set of objectives, a system where feature requests are assessed against the objectives and a process to support the assessment is an absolute requirement to fix this problem.

Releases require too many post-release patches

Are you delivering patches as soon as the release is available? Similar to the previous problem, if the date is not moved then something has to give. In many cases the testing time is reduced to meet the stated availability date. The result is most likely a long stream of patches or emergency releases to fix issues that would normally have been caught. A feature request assessment process and a process that engages customers from the start of feature concept through to delivery is essential.

Product is not resonating with the market

Are people in your target market saying that they don’t understand who your product is targeted to? Ill-positioned products cause confusion within the minds of your target customers. Have you identified your target markets along with the problems your product will solve? Your target customers will only resonate with your product if they can link their problems with your solution. You therefore need to express your positioning in terms of their problems. Without this link, your target customers will not understand the compelling reason to buy your product.

The services we provide will help you solve these (and other) problems. As your business needs to scale to meet the ever-increasing demands; so to does your operations ability to scale.

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