Product Management 101 – Udemy

Product Managers manage the full lifecycle of products/services to:
1. Create exceptional customer value
2. Generate long-term competitive advantage
3. Deliver year after year profitability

Four Areas of product management
1. Market Intelligence: Market, Customer, Competition
2. Strategy
3. New Product Development: Roadmapping, development, Launch
4. Lifecycle Management: Finding growth, Pricing, Sales channels, Sales support, Product support, Forecasting, Obsolescence


Market Intelligence: Market

  • Importance of market analysis and segmentation
  • Identifying market segments
  • Profiling segments
    • Describing
    • Sizing

Market segmentation is the process of dividing a broad market into groups of customers with similar needs (needs-based segmentation). Why do it?

Why do it?
– Evaluate, compare and select market segments to enter
– Target specific customers
* design products to specifically meet their needs
* focus your marketing and sales efforts


How to do needs-based segmentation?

1. Identify the segments
– Cluster customers into groups with very similar needs
– Use market research, customer data, key opinion leaders and deep market understanding
– For your product or business group, be careful to cluster customers according to needs (segments not sectors)

2. Profile the segments
– Describe the segments

– Size the segments


Market Intelligence: Customer

Customers and their needs:
– Why should product managers care?
– How to research?
– How to analyze?
– Example

Customer needs: Customers (or potential customers) are trying to solve an issue, or realize an opportunity. They are trying to satisfy their needs.

Why do we care?
A deep understanding of customer needs guides strategy, new product development, growth plans, pricing and sales efforts – leading to competitive differentiation and long-term profitability.

How to identify customer needs?

Typically through research
– Qualitative
* What problem are they trying to solve?
* Why is it important to them?
* How are they solving this today?
* What works / doesn’t work today?
* What would they like to see?
* Examples: Ethnographic research, Focus groups

– Quantitative
* Allows you to quantitatively describe your target customers and their needs
* ~ Qualitative research is directional
* ~ Quantitative research can give you numbers and percents
* Typically follows Qualitative research
* Online surveys are a common method
* Costs may be shared through syndicated research

– Big Data mining
* Increase of cheap data allows new types of analysis
* Huge breadth (with data messiness)
* ~ Data from Google search, facebook, twitter, retail purchases, e-commerce, software usage, customer support, etc.
* Correlation not causation – the “what” not the “why”
* Find big data for your products, and use it




Analyzing customer needs: after you have captured customer needs through market research, you need to:
– categorize and prioritize needs
– compare needs across segments



Market Intelligence: Competition

Competitive advantage: better than all the competing alternatives at meeting your customers’ needs

  • Why analyze competitors?
    • Anticipate market shifts
    • Improve your product or service
    • Spot the emergence of new competitors
    • Craft counter-attack strategies
    • Optimize pricing
    • Change your strategy
  • Identifying and prioritizing your competitors
    • Substitutes, market evolution and distruptive technology: Customer meet their needs with alternatives or new technology
    • Category competition: Closely related categories that meet the same basic customer need
    • Directly competing companies with very similar products and services
  • What to analyze
    • Market share and trends
    • Strategy and Investments
    • Target market
    • Strengths/Weaknesses
    • Technology position
    • Pricing
    • Channel Strategy
    • Reaction Pattern
  • Disruptive technology
    • Innovations of products, service and business models that fundamentally alter market demand
    • Long-established companies can lose their market competencies
    • Risk factors: management denial, resistance to change, high profitability, lack of imagination
  • Competitive monitoring
    • Continuous: Analyze most critical competitors, On-going
    • Periodic: Analyze key competitive trends, second tier competitors, disruptive technologies, every 3-6 months
    • Project-based: Analyze new competitive entrants, new products and services, new technologies, as needed





Strategy Development

  • What is a strategy?
    A central, integrated, externall-oriented concept of how a business will achieve its objectives
  • What is Product managers’ role in creating strategy?
    • Mission and objectives (corporate/business unit)
    • Strategy (corporate/business unit, supported by product management)
    • Product group strategy (led by product management)
  • Five elements of strategy?
    • Arenas: Where will we be active?
      Top priority market segents, geographies and core technologies
    • Vehicles: How will we get there?
      How do we acquire the capabilities to compete? Develop? Acquire? Partner?
    • Differentiators: How will we win?
      Our value vs competitors What are our core competitive differentiators?
    • Economic logic: How will we make profits?
      What is the sequence and timing of our major moves?
    • Staging and pacing: What are the speed and sequence of our move?
      How will we generate near and long-term profits?
  • Pulling it all together (strategic integration)
    The five elements need to be consistent and reinforcing. Make sure your strategy align and support each each other. Choices in arenas and vehicles should build core differentiators, in turn creating healthy profits
  • Strategy development in context of a product manager’s work
    Strategy is fed by market intelligence, and forms the foundation for new product development, growth plans, pricing and channel decisions


New Product Development: Roadmapping

  • Process of new product developmet
    Roadmapping -> New product development -> Launch
  • What are roadmaps?
    Time based charts showing the planned evolution of a product or service
  • Why do roadmaps?
    Prioritized technology investments; Breakthrough, market leading products or services; long term, sustained competitive advantages
  • Product managements’ role
    Roadmapping should be led by product management and R&D teams. If R&D doesn’t participate, product management should lead the effort
  • Developing roadmaps
    1. Establish a roadmap team: PMs and R&D staff
    2. Review your market intelligence (market growth, customer trends, competitive analysis), strategy, technology assessment and innovation ideas.
    3. Sketch a preliminary roadmap, discuss and iterate
    4. Develop a final version
  • On-going evolution of roadmaps
    Use roadmaps to plan resources (people and money) and start new product development. Review, update and evolve every 3-6 months




New Product Development

  • Stage-gates
    Stages: Phases of a new product or service development process
    Gates: Checkpoints where product developmet is reviewed. Go/Kill and prioritization decisions are made, and resources are approved (or not) for the next stage
    Five stages:
    1. Scoping
    2. Business case
    3. Development
    4. Testing
    5. Launch
  • Agile
    Communication, Prototypes, Customer collaboration, Responding to change
  • Spiral developmet
    Multiple iterations, share ideas and prototypes, get feedback and revise


Product Management responsibilities
– Business case
– Value proposition
– Product requirements

Product Manager’s role in spiral development:
– Be the champion for your customers
– Understand your competition
– Develop the business case
– Focus teams on the value proposition
– Guide product requirements
– Develop your go-to-market plans
– Price the product
– Prepare the product for launch





New Product Development: Launch

  • Importance of a solid launch
  • Setting launch priorities
  • Delevoping launch plans