When 3 becomes 2 - customer intimacy and collaboration
A while back I did my own research. I asked a group of product managers to describe the 3 most important tasks and activities they had as a product manager. I didn’t provide any more guidance than that, below is subset of the answers I got:
As said, this is just a subset of the answers I received after asking product managers what’s most important to them, but the pattern from the other answers were the same. When looking at the answers I noticed two things that came back again and again (just with different wording):
1) Pro active and market driven, understand your market, understand your customers, understand the challenges and deliver a product that meets the needs of the market
This was the first thing that stood out and this did not come as a surprise. In almost every meeting we have this is one of the things being discussed and it’s also a topic that is recognized by CEO’s (and has a high priority with them). But even if being market driven and understanding your customer seems to be top of mind with most organizations we see time after time products that are launched, but fail to meet the amrkets expectations. They don’t reach the expected revenue numbers or at occasions they even need to be taken off the market since the result is so poor.
So the next question is why we fail with this, despite it being a top priority? In the simplest form - for me being market driven means that you secure that there is a way to capture and gather the ideas, requirements from the market on your product(s) and the features & functionalities they likely will desire further down the road. This information is then prioritized based on the value each product, feature and requirement generates for the customers and the organization. Prioritization has to be objective and effective, this to eliminate pet projects, loudest voice and pure gut feeling and so on. Instead it should be based on a set of criteria that forms the foundation for the organization and its product which also incorporates parameters like cost and risk. This way, organizations can feel secure that they have products in their portfolio, features in their products and requirements connected to features, that fill a purpose and that creates value.
Do I have it wrong - is it as “simple” as this? Is one of the steps towards high performance product management for organizations to secure that they can gather and capture market information and then being able to prioritize effectively on this?
2) Collaboration (internal & external). Secure that there is collaboration, understanding and control
This second bullet ties closely into what we discussed in the previous section and how we need to be market driven. But it also extends and broadens this thinking. One of my contacts informed me that by improving internal visibility, they were able to save around 1M dollars in one year. This organization had a culture where every department and its members were handling their work in spread sheets and word documents etc. From time to time this was shared on servers that everyone could connect to. But it did not create a good overview. It was very hard to aggregate and create an understanding of the full picture and it was also very time consuming. They did put a system in place where all this information was shared, it was made visible and they could also collaborate around it. It was not by any means a big and complex project, but just being able to share the information making sure that people had the same understanding, creating acceptance, creating collaboration improved things like time to market, eliminated redundancies etc so much that they estimated the savings to approx 1M dollars. They are not done yet, and they will continue to work on making the transparency and visibility even more relevant for every user, in addition they will bring in more stakeholders for broader collaboration. I would imagine that they will see even bigger savings moving forward.
I see collaboration as vital and in order to collaborate better we need to break down the silos that exist. Not only in the smaller groups or unites (even if that is the place to start) but also the barriers between for example deve
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