As an entrepreneur building a startup, all the focus goes to delivering your product in the best way possible. But there may be many constraints to the growth of your business, challenges that you are the best-qualified person to solve. An effective product management practice can streamline this process, especially if you are in the early stages of product development and idea validation.
Product management is a unique role assumed by entrepreneurs in the early stages of a startup. It combines the development, marketing, and sale of a product. It is an organizational structure that directs every step of a product’s lifecycle.
What Is Product Management?
The focus of product management is the customer and their product satisfaction. Therefore, it is geared towards creating a product best suited for your customers and delivering it to them in the most tailored fashion.
Martin Eriksson described product management as the combination of business, user experience, and technology to create a product.
The primary function of product management is business, aiming to maximize business value from a product. It helps a startup achieve its business objectives by bridging the gap between product development, customer, and business development and design.
How to build your product? That’s what constitutes technology. Product development’s technical, operational, and organizational aspects come under this. So how can a business owner optimize technology to produce the best product with the available resources?
What is the voice of the customer? Product management is also about enhancing user experience. When a startup launches a product, they have to test the product, talk to the customers, and get their feedback directly.
Why Is Product Management Important?
Creating a solution for your customers’ needs does not happen overnight. Therefore, your startup needs an efficient product management strategy to combine the three aforementioned aspects of creating a product that is a hit.
Here are some of the compelling reasons why your product management is essential.
Analyzing The Product-Market Fit
“Product-market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” So Marc Andreessen, an American entrepreneur and investor, claims.
According to 42% of surveyed startups in research, the number-one reason for the failure of a startup is the lack of a market need for their product. As a result, startups create products no one wants, which causes them to shut down.
And that is where product management becomes quintessential to you as an entrepreneur. A startup must validate the market before focusing on other aspects. Premature investment without product validation increases the risk of failure.
A Roadmap For Creating Your Product
Once you have a vision of your product, you must create a roadmap to make that vision a reality. Your team may have to focus on multiple areas in your product’s creation, marketing, and sales. A proper roadmap makes the entire process easier.
A roadmap is a communicative tool that shows where you are in the process, where you are headed, and what is the end goal. It is an iterative development plan that helps you realize where to focus on making a unique product or offering to get ahead of the competition.
The reality is that you can’t predict or control the different scenarios that prop up in delivering your product to the market. You need to gather information about the market response and how to improve your product constantly, and a roadmap focused on these details can become a lifesaver.
Know Your Customers
The vision of your business should include your customer’s needs. Therefore, effective product management is all about defining and prioritizing the needs of a target market before working on solutions.
An in-depth analysis of the market is required for that. Then, you must create tailored solutions for the problems so your product will stand out in the market. And you should incorporate the data into the roadmap to communicate these goals to your team. Finally, you can create a product prototype that satisfies the market’s needs.
Once that prototype has reached the market, product management will enable you to get feedback from your targeted customers and users through different sources. They include usability testing, customer interviews, and customer and prospect communication.
Identifying Your Priorities
Business owners of small enterprises will be handling multiple tasks at once, especially in the initial stages of their ventures. Prioritizing the tasks is a continual process of determining the best outcome that will bring the most value to the customer with the resources you have at hand.
Focusing on anything but the product is a big mistake for a startup. So a product management roadmap uplifts that goal by channelling your team’s resources and attention to building the product.
Know Your Competition
Figuring out what your competitors offer the customers determines how you roll out your product. When you analyze the market, you can identify gaps between customer needs and solutions. Then, you can choose one of those areas to build your product.
This is accomplished by product management. It enables you to collect data on the market and develop new ideas to solve existing problems. That way, you can discover new opportunities to stand out from the crowd.
How does Product Management look In Practise For Startups?
As we have seen throughout this blog, startup experts believe you need to know everything about your market and your customer to define a vision for your product. Then you can implement product management to build it accordingly.
Now, let’s look at the processes involved in the practice of product management.
This involves discovering problems that need to be solved for a market segment. First, the startup team needs to engage with the target market, interviewing and understanding the needs of prospective customers. They do that through a combination of qualitative and quantitative activities. They include user research, face-to-face interviews, surveys, user stories, and journey maps.
Using the valuable information through customer discovery, the team can prioritize the business value of solving them and brainstorm innovative solutions. Then, as we saw with road mapping, the team can iterate through a set of prototype products, test them, and then apply what they learned to tweak the product until they have validated the solutions.
Now the startup has an idea of what to build. Then, it can proceed to the development of the business plan and figure out how to build it.
After a few rounds of experimentation, the team has the best solution for the problem the startup is trying to solve. Then, the requirements for developing this tailored product are added to the plan for development, more testing, and the push into production.
At this stage, the startup can focus on other business areas like marketing or attracting investors.
Product management is an innovative and assured way to launch your product onto a path of success. But the lack of formal product management experience can slow down a startup’s growth.
Entrepreneurs can overcome that by focusing on three main strategies. First, they should start with customer discovery to fully understand the market problems. Then, brainstorm hypothetical solutions for the issues, run experiments to validate hypotheses, and learn the best solutions.
Aligning your product management with these three tactics can help entrepreneurs avoid common pitfalls when bringing out the best product to create a positive cash-flow business.
With the advent of Tech startups, the Product Management role has changed and become more streamlined. If you are building a product-based business, it is important that you have the right guidance at the right time. And that’s where Voila can help you find the perfect consultation at the right time. SIGN-UP TODAY.