The Product Manager work is to link three main areas: Business Strategy, Technology, and Design (User experience). The conceptual structure of a product has, on one side the “Why?” – the business strategy behind that product, and on the other side the “What?” – the product functionalities or even the stakeholders’ “Shop list.”
The PM expands his proceeding, playing the role of a digital product strategist, instead of a simple “shop list prioritizer.” This achievement involves specific skills improvement. I’ve selected six of them here:
1. Comprehend real necessities
The PM doesn’t limit his activity to listening to the product actors and adding all of their ideas to the Product Backlog. His purpose is to find out problems to be solved instead of software building itself or merely project scope delivery. Anthony Ulwick has written that a key to successful delivery is to understand what jobs customers want to get done instead of their ideas about a product or service.
The bottom line is to make the right questions before trying to find good answers.
Eventually, the PM needs to deal with purpose conflicts between all the product development affected areas.
Successful conducting negotiation is supported by having a clear definition of the business and strategic product objectives cause they are over any particular stakeholder’s preference or partiality. It drives the product to achieve effective results.
The PM is these objectives representative, acting as an “ambassador’ for them. This posture brings autonomy to him, so he doesn’t need to do escalating or resorting decisions to other people frequently.
The PM has natural leadership both on the product as on the development team as well. He needs to keep his focus on the product, delegating responsibilities, and providing them with learning and an environment to grow. Therefore, the team converts self-conscious about deliveries, gets a sense of prioritization, and becomes independent for unblocking and discovering the required information to functionalities development by themselves.
4. Strategic performance
A digital product is successful when it achieves the business purpose, even if the original scope has changed. It’s the PM’s responsibility to make sure it happens; then, he does work discovering cheaper and faster alternatives to achieve the same initially previewed results.
The digital products don’t work by themselves, in a vacuum or isolated way. They depend on a mutual connection with persons, other products and tools on the broader community around them to exist and make sense. The PM is the strategic holder. He must watch over it, keeping the product alive, useful and wanted, even in a continually changing and dynamic scenario as we have now.
5. Strengthen Connections
Connections and relationships bring readiness to the PM’s work. Different areas of the organization have to be engaged in making sure that delivery achieves the success it meant to, including leaders, the team of developers, and the final customers, stakeholders, and sponsors as well. The PM who sets a good relationship around all this whole environment, even handling both perspectives of businesses or of technical, does create connections helping other skills improvement as discovery, negotiation, prioritization, and team leadership.
The PM needs to relate his prioritization ability to the awareness of the desired impact and results meant to achieve. It’s pretty much valuable than simple software delivery and product backlog management. Knowing the product “Whys” is the key to making the right decisions about cost, scope, and target.
A practical alternative to delivery prioritizing is to group them in an impact context. It means to group these deliverables relating to the impact or problem they do intend to resolve. This approach allows different deliverables comparison. If they support the same impacts, we can choose to develop the cheaper one and dismiss those that don’t indeed contribute to any essential impact or purpose. Besides, it allows us to build the product through iterative and even independent delivery, which brings a clear business value as we launch it soon in the product’s life cycle.
By Evellyn Zagui de Almeida – Product Owner