Product Management for XR - Introduction and Application

Aditya Garg
Published in
6 min readAug 18, 2022


Created on Pixlr

Product Management is a function or a mindset that focuses on identifying the customer needs and how they can be fulfilled through a solution be it a complete product or a part of it. The function mainly focuses on shaping the product, delivering and aligning the people. Few of the tasks that a Product Managers perform:

  • Understanding customer needs
  • Defining the vision and objectives of the product
  • Identifying stakeholders and aligning the vision with them
  • Defining roadmap and prioritising features
  • Facilitate, delegate and empower teams with decision making

It is visible that “understanding customer needs” is one of the integral and initial steps that define the rest of the journey. Irrespective of the industry, this is true for any product manager.

It is more important for XR Product Managers. Being an emerging tech, many times PMs are so attached to the technology that they skip the purpose of building a product.

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

One of the mental models- Maslow’s Hammer fits for XR PMs. It’s important to understand what is the problem that the user is facing and XR can solve it. Of course, XR is cool but being only cool will not sustain. It has to solve some real problems.
When buying cheese online it's cool to see it in AR with all details, 3D images etc but users do not need that. Though users surely need cloth fitting and look before buying it from an E-commerce that AR can solve.

What is XR?

There are multiple good articles and definitions about XR over the internet but it can be summarised here for setting up the context.

Extended Reality (XR)- It is an umbrella term that signifies a bucket of all types of realities that majorly including AR(Augmented Reality), VR(Virtual Reality)and MR(Mixed Reality). Reality is something that the brain perceives. This can be the physical reality or a machine-generated (digital) reality.

As technology advances the line between the two realities is getting thinner because of the way it interacts with our body senses. The more natural the interaction, the more the brain perceives and believes about its existence.

Augmented Reality (AR)- It's an experience where the virtual objects blend with the real world. It overlays (augments) these virtual objects in the real world where the user can experience yet distinguish between these two different objects.

Virtual Reality (VR)- In VR user is completely immersed in the virtual world also known as computer-simulated reality and the user can interact with these digital objects.

Mixed Reality (MR)- Like AR, here also the digital objects are overlaid onto the real world but here the users can interact with these digital objects. The devices can also recognise the environment and the location of the device in that environment.

What's in XR for Product Managers?

Every new technology comes with queries, chaos and opportunities. In 2022, XR is expected to have a market size of USD 37 billion and can reach up to USD 114.5 billion by 2027. In the year 2021, Oculus sold more headsets than Microsoft did Xbox. Though it’s too soon to decide the winners it surely indicates the potential market and user interest.

As the technology is taking more shape, more unexplored use cases come forward. It is not a magic wand that solves everything, hence Product Managers' role becomes important to filter in and out the problems where this can fit in. To identify the areas where it really can add value. Once the fitment is achieved, then there is no going back and it will only grow from zero to a thousand to a million. Currently, there are multiple areas where XR use cases look promising.

XR as a tool- Use Cases

With multiple applications active or evolving, the acceptance of XR is gradually increasing. Though it is not wrong to say that it has not reached the hype it has created but it surely is on its way. Multiple factors like hardware, content, technology and value addition are evolving at a good pace and increasing the early adopters.

Being an XR Product Manager, identifying the use cases where XR can create value becomes very important. As of now, XR applications can be categorised into the following four different areas -

1. Marketing

It is where existing features and content is enhanced through XR. This becomes important, especially for Growth Product Managers who they can leverage XR to spread the word through creativity. Through these visually appealing experiences, brands can move the needle like adoption, awareness, bounce, and broadening the top of the funnel.
Eg: Advertisement, Brand discovery, Food & beverage storytelling via packaging, Real estate visuals, and Social media engagement.

2. Entertainment

So, this is where maximum adoption happened for XR. Gaming, movies, and XR social media have been part of the ecosystem and user’s life. Here the friction is the hardware accessibility. With time hardware has evolved with better technology, comfort and affordability. Headsets like Oculus Quest 2 have drastically reduced the prices and are improving with each version.
Eg: VR Chat, Horizon World, Beat Saber, Netflix VR, Youtube VR

3. Productivity & Collaboration

Productivity- XR has multiple implications in B2B space and productivity is a major one. Enterprises spend a great portion of their investments in training, onboarding, planning, site tours and simulations. These activities are exorbitant, time-consuming and aren’t much effective thus impacting the productivity of the people. With VR the content is customised for such use cases of enterprises and their users.
Eg: Automotive designing, Architectural Designing, Healthcare training, Hospitality training

Collaboration- In a pandemic, everyone has experienced the importance of remote working. The time when there is no round table, whiteboards, or planning board with sticky notes. This triggered further the necessity of such an enterprise solution where XR can be leveraged to improve such collaboration in teams. This collaboration can have virtual meeting rooms, whiteboarding or even planning. Currently, few VR applications aim for such partnerships. They have improved a lot and are enhancing further.
Eg: Horizon workrooms, Spatial, Microsoft Mesh, MeetinVR

4. Commerce

This is where XR fits in very smoothly and has been experienced by end users. One of the major reasons is a low barrier of hardware as mobiles/ tablets are the hardware requirement. Also, there is a utility that the user sees in it.
With AR many E-Commerce companies help users to experience the product before making a decision. This directly impacts metrics like engagement, conversions and low returns.
Eg: IKEA, Amazon AR View, Lenskart

Each of these areas can fit across multiple industries with its respective use case. Product Manager’s research and study can help in identifying the problem, understanding the utility, preparing a hypothesis and shaping a solution.

In Conclusion

XR Product Management is not just applying the technology. It is about finding the problem, knowing why it exists in the first place and understanding how XR can bring in value. The objective is not to introduce XR to users but to solve their problems.

The article shared the perspective and mindset of a Product Manager while getting into XR product development. It also talks about how XR can add value in different areas. The next article under ‘Product Management for XR’ will talk about the journey and thought process to plan and build the XR product.