Product management and its importance for new technological solutions
When we talk about product management applied to the digital environment, we must consider the concept of such a solution and the iterative process of elaboration, until we achieve a product adapted to the user’s needs. And even more, to monitor the performance during the useful life of the solution.
Product management involves a multidisciplinary team of professionals linked to marketing, technology and development. But it is the product manager who is in charge of leading the process and the person who will ultimately be responsible for ensuring that the result meets the objectives.
Do you want to know how good product management is the key to a successful cloud project? Would you like to know the profile of a product manager as a key figure in the development of digital products for companies like yours? Read on!
What is product management and what are the keys to a successful project?
The complexity of developing a web, application or cloud management solution does not only lie in the programming and technical details. When, as a customer, you state your needs and explain the objectives you want to achieve with a digital solution, we must take on the project holistically. In other words, as developers, it is necessary to go beyond the obvious:
- Analyze the circumstances that will influence the execution of the project.
- Then, research the market and reveal the real needs of your users.
- Set out the concept of the product and its objectives. Here you will have to consider the user experience (UX) criteria that will guide the design of the user interface (UI).
- Next, plan the work of the teams of professionals who will be involved in the implementation. To do this, it is necessary to select the agile methodology that best suits the project and establish the sprints and partial deliveries to be able to evaluate the evolution of the product. It will also be necessary to test with real users to assess usability and functionality, as well as user interaction with the solution.
- Finally, consider a long-term vision of the digital product to add value to it in the future or define its useful life that allows to consider when it will be necessary to start working on another product.
All these events make up digital product management. Consequently, we can define it as the planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of the development of a digital solution, from its concept to the end of its useful life.
Product management has its origins in the project management of conventional companies and has been adapted to the realities of online project development.
The role of the product manager in product management
In essence, product managers are project leaders and, among other responsibilities, they establish the connection between work teams. As we will see below, they are multidisciplinary professionals with extensive knowledge to make decisions during the process. They also ensure the alignment of objectives between the different groups.
In summary, a manager who takes on product management can be considered a “project CEO” and should have the following profile:
- Have a clear user experience orientation. In particular, have the criteria and skills to establish a relationship between the objectives of the solution and the user’s needs. And based on the same, provide experiences that generate a positive perception of the user.
- Demonstrate extensive knowledge of the market and its trends, as well as the ability to observe the competition.
- Commercial vision. Having clarity to develop the commercial strategy, defining objectives, establishing deadlines for testing and launching the product to the market. Also to know how to choose the appropriate metrics to measure results. Be aware of pricing variables and financial fluctuations.
- Hard skills. Obviously to gather knowledge, skills and experience in technologies related to web development: programming, data architecture, application design, etc. Apart from sufficient knowledge in related disciplines, such as marketing, finance and ergonomics, among others.
- Soft skills, such as: ability to lead teams, assertiveness and ease of communication, empathy, adaptation to changes, etc.
Basic functions of digital product management
The digital product design and execution process should necessarily be efficient and take full advantage of the contribution of all work teams. Based on this, the product manager must ensure and direct the fulfillment of six fundamental functions:
As project manager and liaison between the different work teams, the product manager has to maintain consistency between the tasks and input of each department. Product management being a dynamic process where creativity and innovation are critical, the manager will be in charge of:
- Generate, search, capture and evaluate the best ideas and opportunities both to define the product and each of its functionalities. Here, speed and selection criteria are vital. Based on the above, it makes the concrete approach of the digital solution, in addition to its purpose, features and value proposition.
- Know the distribution of tasks among the different teams and monitor their execution based on User Experience (UX) criteria.
- Generate a consistent business case taking into account the target audience, market opportunities and the scope of the application or solution.
- Observe the complete life cycle of the digital product to ensure the fulfillment of each stage of the process with the minimum of unforeseen events.
Creativity, innovation, disruption
In the field of web development, innovation must be a constant. Therefore, one of the functions of our “project CEO” is to foster an environment of creativity among the participants in the process. Motivate the disruptive participation that adds value to the solution in execution during the entire life cycle. Within this line, it is essential to encourage “brainstorming” constantly, recording and valuing each contribution regardless of whether they are applied or not.
Likewise, the product manager must continuously research, looking for references and inspiration in different cases. Identify strengths and weaknesses in them to define innovative and disruptive proposals.
User experience and user interface
Undoubtedly, the most relevant criterion for designing a product or digital service is the user experience or UX. In this sense, one of the main tasks of the product manager is to maintain the priority of this condition. In this sense, it is important to analyze and shape the user/solution interaction and test it at the end of each iterative cycle. In this way we obtain decisive insights in the final configuration of the digital product.
In parallel, our “project CEO” will ensure that the user interface design is adjusted to the UX criteria. So he will check that the designers have the appropriate visual elements on screen to ensure intuitive user navigation, essential to improve the user experience.
Construction, operations and methodology
This function includes all actions related to the construction and support of the solution. Also included are the tools and agile methodologies that allow the progressive development of the digital product, with improvements and changes introduced in each sprint. In this aspect we must include product testing with real users and customer feedback in each partial delivery.
Marketing and sales
Similarly, to make an application a successful product that is sustainable over time from the start, we must apply appropriate marketing strategies. For this purpose, the product manager has to coordinate with the marketing team a complete research and analysis of the market, the consumers and the competition. On this basis, a plan will be drawn up that will determine the most suitable moment for the launch, the price and/or the outstanding advantages of the solution. And of course, the promotional and communication plan.
Permanent communication with the customer, key for an efficient product management
At Nuvolar we know that the key to product management lies in clear and constant communication with our customers. Therefore, in case you need to develop a digital product, we will assign a “project CEO” who will be the link between your company and our development team. The person who will be responsible for ensuring that all the people involved understand the project requirements; the person who will present the progress of the project until the product is completed and who will be responsible for ensuring that the changes and improvements are addressed after each partial delivery, based on the defined objectives.
So far, we have described in broad strokes our approach to digital product development projects from Nuvolar. If you need an efficient product management and to achieve success in the development of technological projects, please contact us. We will be happy to study your case to offer you a professional and qualified advice, tailored to your needs.