Tech talks are knowledge sharing sessions conducted bi-weekly at NovelVox. This week, we had a session on Product Management highlighting the roles of a product manager in delivering a successful product in the market, the many stages of product planning, product lifecycle, and more. The session was conducted by Bal Vikas Nirala on April 15, 2020.
What’s a Product
A product could be anything introduced in the market to offer a service or satisfy a want or need. It can be as simple as a keyboard and as complex as a highly-technical web application. However, we can broadly classify products into two categories:
- B2B Products
- B2C Products
The term “B2B” is an abbreviation for “business to business”. It refers to businesses that sell products and services to other businesses instead of direct consumers. The products in the B2B market are developed and designed to benefit a specific business area. The end customer for such products are businesses interested in availing the service of the introduced product. Example: Salesforce, iVision Plus, NAD.
B2B’s counterpart is B2C, i.e. “business to consumer”. The products here, are developed and designed to benefit the customer for personal use, not an organization or a business. The end customer here is a set of audience interested in availing the service of the launched product. Example: Amazon, Facebook, Zomato/Swiggy.
Behind every product, it resides the hard work and in-depth planning of a team that nurtures the product from the initial stage to the final stage. In short, there’s a pre-defined process that a product team follows while developing a product.
It is the process of conceiving, planning, developing, testing, launching, delivering, and withdrawing products in the market.
Let’s delve deeper into this process!
The Many Stages of Product Planning
Stage-1: Requirement Gathering
The product planning starts with requirement gathering in which requirements from the stakeholders and data fetched from the market analysis are collaboratively prepared to give a direction to the product team on what’s to be developed.
Stage-2: Product Features
Once the requirements are clear, the next stage is to come up with a feature-list based on the requirements gathered. These features will become the base of the product as the marketing team is going to promote the product based on its features. So, this stage is very crucial and hence special attention is given while concluding the product features.
Stage-3: Product Roadmap and Vision
No planning can be successful without a clear roadmap and vision. In product planning, the third stage is dedicated to set a product roadmap and vision which tells when and which feature will be worked upon. It’s usually a quarter by a quarter roadmap of product features defined to set a clear vision for successful product delivery.
Stage-4: Product Requirement Document
Based on the market requirements gathered in stage -1, a product requirement document is prepared and shared with the product team. The document shows how the product should look when developed fully.
Stage-5: Product Development
Once everything is done, the last stage is the product development stage wherein the product team starts working on the product. The development begins in full swing and in sync with QA, CR, and Timelines.
What Role does Product Marketing Play?
Once the product is developed and ready to be introduced in the market, the marketing team comes into play. The responsibility of introducing the product in the market is on the shoulders of the marketing team.
With planned promotion strategies, the marketing team promotes the product in the market and ensures the sales are always up.
Understanding the Product Lifecycle
The product lifecycle is divided into the following stages:
- Introduction – The product is introduced in the market
- Growth – The product is promoted and hence grows in terms of sales
- Maturity – The product sales reaches its peak, which matures the product
- Decline – The product has delivered what’s expected but now nothing new can be added, hence the saturation point has been achieved leading to product decline/product withdrawal.
Role of Product Manager
The role of the Product Manager is to execute the above product planning stages successfully. He is the person responsible for the successful delivery of the product. However, their exact responsibilities change across different industries and different companies. They work as a communicator, a prioritizer, a researcher, a presenter and the end responsible for the product success.
Product Manager Types:
Internal Product Manager – builds tools for other people inside the company
B2B Product Manager – interacts with the entire team (Marketing, Design, Sales, Engineering) to handle business clients
B2C Product Manager – works according to the needs of the end-user, analyze their feedback and other data to adapt the product
Product Management vs. Project Management
Product management is all about developing and delivering a product successfully. Success is defined by KPI or metrics. There are no pre-defined methods that a development team uses to reach its goal. Once a product is developed and delivered, the team doesn’t stop working on it. The product continues to mature and improve in later stages.
However, project management is about successfully delivering a project in a specified timeline and budget. Once a project is complete, it’s no more managed.
So, these were the valuable points that have been shared in the tech talk session by Bal Vikas Nirala. NovelVoxians gained deep insights about product management and product lifecycle that will benefit them in a better understanding of the product and the processes involved.