The tools of a product manager
As I have noted in an earlier post, Product Management happens after a product is launched. I wanted to do a deeper dive into the tools that are used post-launch (either the MVP (minimum viable product), or V2, or any launch, for that matter.)
In the product cycle, Product management is at the tail-end, like so:
There are six lenses used to product manage. They are as follows:
- Heuristics A set of experience-based lenses towards product optimization. Does the product solve the core customer problem? What can it do better to solve that problem? This also includes retention marketing and customer relationship management.
- Performance Does the application deliver the information, functionality and delight that it promises? Is it fast and performant? Does it retain state when users switch in and out of the application?
- Analytics The use of the most appropriate data to understand performance and marketplace acceptance. This usually includes A/B testing. It always includes an analytics suite like Google Analytics, Flurry, Mixpanel, Omniture and/or some internal business intelligence tools.
- Customer Feedback Also known as customer validation, this channel has to be seen as one, but not the sole vector for product roadmapping and improvements. It starts with an understanding that the customer most likely to speak up is the customer most likely to have an issue with the application. It should be buttressed by dog-fooding.
- Competitive assessment A view of where the product stands relative to the competition in the space, and relative to other products, in general, that are vying for user attention.
- Brand Depending on your company size and type, the brand may be an important vector. Companies that are older and deliver physical goods, like a Procter & Gamble, tend to be the most concerned with brand, while digital firms, like Netflix, tend to view the customer experience with the product as the brand.
As with all things product-related, the use of each lens will vary by product.
Kneading the disparate vectors into a coherent product narrative is the post-modern piece of commercial art that makes a product person, well, a product person.
Feel free to let me know if I missed anything.