The product management process can seem like a bit of a confusing concept to those who haven’t worked in that particular field for any length of time, if at all. You’ll find that even within a business atmosphere, only those who have to deal directly with the product management field actually really get what it is on any level.
But, those who do truly understand the product management process also understand that while it’s a challenging and at times ambiguous field, it’s also very rewarding and quite crucial to business functionality for any company that produces a consumable product, rather than a service.
For those looking to improve their skills, or to acquire enough baseline skills to fill the niche in a smaller atmosphere that can’t accommodate a dedicated professional or team of them, researching this can result in frustration and despair often, because most of the documentation on the concept makes little sense to outsiders, thereby defeating the purpose. Yeah, that’s how it goes often times with any field, when outsiders try to do research, but in this case, it doesn’t help the complexity already there when it comes to product management.
So, here are a few best practices for flow and management in this field that can help you get a basic grip on it.
#1 – Knowledge Capture Embedding
Knowledge capture is actually the term used by developers – there seems to not be a proper, standard term for this in the business and analytics side of things, so allow me to clarify. Knowledge capture is any set of systems embedded in web services which can snapshot data such as backlink information, Google Analytics form information, non-sensitive data regarding the type of device, operating system and browser being used, and a general bit of information about the regional location of the user.
This sort of data capture was originally developed as a way to get regional demographics and usage statistics by the likes of Google, and various institutions taking different internet censuses. However, it’s become quickly evident how valuable this information can be for customer experience as well.
With this sort of data capture, you can omit a lot of less than effective surveys and questionnaires that most users will opt out of filling and you can get a wider view of the demographic being largely drawn to your product or service.
You can also use this backlink information to see how they are finding out about your product, and even get a basic trail of their online research to see what third party sources (blogs, forums etc.) they are looking at, and through that, who’s representing you and how well they are doing so!
#2 – Strategic Communications
Strategic communications – what do I mean by this? Well, it’s important that you speak your customer’s language, as it were. It’s easy for a business professional to think in terms of their field, while customers do not. To be too clinical with your communication be it direct or through storefronts, descriptions and other static mediums is to confuse your customers, and get bad data out of them as well.
Be sure that all of your data is in the language a customer speaks, at least within reason, even if it’s data they don’t deal with.
#3 – Measure Impact over Time
It’s easy to be short-term reactionary as a product manager, and this is one of the reasons the field is so stressful and complicated at times. But, it’s also important to measure impact over time.
Decide outright what a good long-period time for measurement is, and then stick with this. It’s a good way to determine, per cycle, when a product or the interface for representing and marketing it needs to be addressed and changed. Being purely reactionary will drum up overhead, and cause a state of flux that will confuse customers and make a mess of your statistics as well.
This is far from all there is to the product management process, but these are three critical areas where things tend to go wrong for most people, and therefore, they’re the things to get a grasp on first and foremost.