Understanding Product Life Cycle Management

Having just talked about the development cycle, you naturally want me to talk about the product life cycle management as a sort of sequel. I mentioned that once you went to active phase in that, you’re now running this. So, of course you want to know what that cycle is like, because it’s the one you run the most, if you’re lucky and your product is successful.

The Problem:

Oh yes, there’s a big problem with talking about the product life cycle management, having just talked about the development cycle not long ago. They’re almost the same exact thing. Seriously, the steps line up most of the way on both of them.

This means that this is going to be a somewhat boring read, because oh joy of joys, I’m repeating myself in many places here. I’ll try to focus on the parts that stand out here. But that’s not going to abate some of this repetition.

Quick Mention:

There is a second definition of this life cycle, which is a fiscal period in which measurements are made and minor adjustments and managerial decisions are made to keep things even keeled.

But, there’s not much to say about that one, as it’s not a set of steps, it’s just a set of routines that vary from one group to the next radically. I felt, though, that this needed to be mentioned.

First Customer Input:

It begins by listening to user input over surveys, complaint to customer service, and mentions online. You listen for their negatives, the things they’d like to change, and so on.

You then propose revisions, and move on to R&D from there.


Revisions being made to a product go through R&D in a smaller form of the development phase. Prototypes of the revised product are tested, and then a small implementation phase is brought on where any retooling of manufacture processes is done, new packaging and the like.

Marketing Renewal:

This is a new life being put into the marketing campaign. Again, different department, but you need to take cues from each other and share tracked data.

Second Customer Input:

Once the altered product is active, you will monitor customer input, watching to see if the initial complaints, at least the reasonable ones, are being resolved. You will also watch to see how new ideas you’ve brought in are being received.

If you have mostly positive reads from this, you maintain that other definition I mentioned, plus periodical customer attitude readings as well. With the two of them, you’ll be able to watch for when you need to stop the cycle and relaunch yet again.

In time, you’ll want to do it even if not given a cue, because over time, it will stagnate and customer interest will decline. Marketing, packaging and the like have to change with the times, and stay fresh to hold attention of the masses.


The product life cycle management isn’t any more complex than the development one, and yeah, it’s very much almost the same. So, sorry if I had to talk about some familiar topics here, but I needed to really make concrete both of these cycles, even if some of the information overlaps.


Mark Silver
Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.
Mark Silver on sabtwitterMark Silver on sablinkedinMark Silver on sabgoogleMark Silver on sabfacebook