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Product Management Library of Knowledge


Practice and Principles: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

A discussion of the many reasons why both theoretical AND practical knowledge are so valuable regarding successful product managers.

Older Equals Wiser, or Does It? The Role of Age in Product Management

A discussion of the concept of age in product management and why striking a balance between the young and the experienced is so important.

Value: The Major Building Block of the Product Life Cycle

A discussion of the concept of value, and why it is essential to understand and incorporate the elements of value all throughout the product life cycle.

The Product Requirements Document

A discussion of the ever-evolving Product Requirements Document and the important role in continues to play in the modern era.

The Many, Many Names of Product Managers

By: Therese Padilla Just about every company has someone that matches the job description of product manager. In terms of a product that is currently in the process of being developed, this person tends to have their hands in just...

Is the Product Lifecycle Process Relevant in Today's Modern Era?

By: Therese Padilla We live in a world that is changing around us rapidly with each passing day. A wide range of different industries have essentially been throwing out the processes that built them over the last few years, instead...

Growth Hackers Conference: Lessons Learned

"With the possibility to iterate on your product and marketing efforts faster and faster the product manager's role more than ever builds the backbone of a product's competitiveness and success."

Managing The UnManageable: Excerpt of Discussion With Co-Authors

There are very few companies these days that are not relying on software, software developers, software development in some way to drive and underpin their businesses, and yet, as we point out in the book, software development is a mystery and we try to unravel that mystery and make it more understandable.

Creating a Compelling Product Business Case Q&A

Answers to questions raised during the recent webinar, Creating A Compelling Product Business Case with Demand Metric. Questions and answers cover best practices for the timing, intention, multiple products and creating buy-in across the organization.

Why Do Products Fail?

Why do products fail? Trying to organize all of the reasons that your product might fail is a Herculean effort. Understanding how your product did, will, or might fail will help you focus on what you need to do next.
read more of.. Why Do Products Fail?

How To Disqualify A Lead

A common reason for losing a deal is that the client was looking for something else but you tried to sell him anyway. Your internal process refused to disqualify the buyer. You ultimately lost a deal that you should never have pursued. And the most common process problem is a failure to disqualify.
read more of.. How To Disqualify A Lead

Five Reasons Why Agile is Lean

In agile, each function has learning up front, a build in the middle, and a validation at the end. Since the customer typically has working software to experience the functionality, and is saying "yes" or "no" to each one as it's completed, it's less likely to need revisions later on. The customer validation after each new build increases leaning earlier in the process and makes the product more accurate. An accurate product gets traction faster, uses less resources and is lean.

Pricing is ... Information

Price is more than just what the customer needs to buy your product or service. It is also telling the customer more about your offering. Take care that your prices are telling them what you want.

Getting Product Managers Up To Speed with New Software and Processes

Whether it is Microsoft applications like Office, Visio or Project or other Enterprise applications used by their company, most of the time Product Managers are left to their own devices to learn how to use the tools that are critical for their day to day success. But as new applications become available that are more powerful and useful, it's important to give your team of Product Management professionals the support they need. This is even more critical if the software is integrated into your existing or new product processes that span across different functional groups in your company.

Four Critical Success Factors for Your Products

Just build a great product and you'll take the market by storm, right? That's the myth perpetuated in Silicon Valley, and it's a difficult lesson that many entrepreneurs, and seasoned companies, end up learning the hard way. Sure, some products seem to have everything magically fall into place and succeed. The majority of successful products, however, have good planning and execution combined with a great product.

Positioning: When knowing too much is a liability

Properly positioning a company and its products is a critical factor for success. When a solution just can not seem to get traction in the market, often the problem is not the product; it is how it is positioned.

The Top Ten Things that Differentiate Successful Product Development Initiatives from Failed Efforts

Source: The Study of Product Team Performance, 2012â„¢ In January of this year Enterprise Agility and Actuation Consulting joined together to conduct a global survey of product team performance. One of the survey findings that did not make the white paper was based on the question "What characteristics do you believe differentiate your organization's successful product development initiatives from those that have struggled or failed?"

The Perfect Partnership: Product Management and Business Analysis (part two)

By pairing business analysts with product managers at key points throughout the life cycle of a product's development, organizations can optimize bandwidth, expertise, and interest-related challenges that allow both roles to do what they do best - create value.

Innovation: No Silver Bullet

Companies often propel themselves to the frontlines of the market with a startling innovation.  This innovation can differentiate an organization and gain it legions of fans.  However, for companies that strike gold, sustaining momentum for the long term-still presents a formidable challenge.

Challenges and Change provide a bonanza for Product Managers

Part 2: Building entrepreneurial skills
©2011 by Karl Hellman and Robert S. Siegel

The Perfect Partnership

by Greg Geracie and David Heidt

Companies often struggle to maintain a good balance between their market activities and their product development efforts. The fact is most new products are not ready for prime time. This circumstance leads to products that deliver less value than anticipated or fail altogether. This inability of organizations to effectively bring products to market often creates a significant drag on companies' ability to innovate and compete in today's rapidly changing marketplaces.

read more of.. The Perfect Partnership

Challenges and Change provide a bonanza for Product Managers

Part 1: Identifying anomalies and converting them into business opportunities
©2011 by Karl Hellman and Robert S. Siegel

Part 1 of a 4 part series

We all delight in the legend of the entrepreneurial-hero--the genius who invents the new product that transforms the world as he or she is sitting in their dorm. And the world has indeed produced wonderful entrepreneur heroes, like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Writing Effective Benefits Statements

Writing Effective Benefits Statements
by: Brian Lawley

How to turn features into compelling benefits that matter to customers

One of the most common trap the marketing folks get into when working on technical products is focusing on the features of a product rather than the benefits to the end user. Features are great - we all want to know what is in a product and want to be able to compare it to other products. But at the same time there are many features that, while the benefits may be obvious to the Marketer or Product Manager working on them, may leave potential customers wondering why they matter.

The Fundamentals of The Product Information Management Benchmark

By Sam Miller

The purpose of every business is to deliver the products that they have provided for their customers and then make sure that they offer only quality products. This will guarantee customer satisfaction and when their customers are satisfied with their products or services, they will become profitable. Basically, it is a chain in which there is a cause and effect relationship between the quality of the products and the satisfaction of the customers. In order for you to maximize product value, you should be able to gather the necessary data and compare the relevant ones to the results that you have acquired before and after the process. This is what you call the product information management benchmark.

Roadmap to a Customer-Centric Strategy

Part of the appeal of customer-centricity is that it takes very little business acumen to grasp its core concept. Focus intensely on customers, align your products or services with their interests, and voila: a customer-centric culture is born. Simple, right? Not quite. Becoming a truly customer-centric organization is perhaps one...

Managing Products and Services in the Economic Recovery

As the economic recovery begins to take shape, the severity of this downturn will have a certain definitive impact on how products and services are managed now in the future. Why? Because companies will continue during the recovery period to reduce the number of suppliers they do business with, squeeze supply chain margins to further cut costs, and sharpen their focus on their own core products and services with modest expansion as they learn to operate on thinner margins as well. This means the ability to make money while competing in the supply chain will greatly intensify and put greater pressure on companies to manage their product and services more aggressively.

Three Tips For Successful Product Management Today

What happened to the days when product management meant targeting a customer base, identifying specific needs, taking the time to build the right product, and growing marketshare though strong brand and quality satisfaction promotions? They are long gone. Several key dynamics have changed product management forever:

The Scrum Sprint Burndown Chart - Every Picture Tells a Story

We use Agile software developments methods and, for project management, Scrum is our preferred method. Our development team are based offshore and there are challenges to making Agile work with a distributed team but it can be done (and can be fun also!). So I thought I would share a story with you one of our real Sprints as told through the Scrum Burndown chart. Why? Well, because I think we can learn a great deal from the Burndown chart and everyone has its own story to tell. Here's ours:

Chefs and Agile Restaurateur

As more of our clients have moved to agile software development, we've seen a growing need for business agility: getting non-engineering functions involved earlier and more collaboratively, so that companies deliver better revenue results as well as better software. Let's make this more concrete by mapping it to the restaurant business.

Maximize Product Profitability as the Market Matures

Maximize Product Profitability as the Market Matures

By Lee Shaeffer

An important role for the product manager (or for the product marketing manager, if that function is separate) is to obtain the maximum profit from a product during its lifecycle. There are many standard practices in maintaining a product when it is in the market: pricing adjustments, advertising and promotion, increasing penetration within the existing customer base, finding new customer segments, etc.A common practice is to release a follow-on product, often a feature enhanced/cost reduced "mid-life kicker" to keep the product competitive in the marketplace. These are all good and often necessary activities, but a commonly underexploited opportunity is to enhance the product by bundling complementary products and services in order to create and enhance the complete solution for the customer, not just the product itself.

What is a phenomenal product manager?

What is a phenomenal product manager?
An excerpt from the new book by Brian Lawley, titled The Phenomenal Product Manager: The Product Manager's Guide to Success, Job Satisfaction and Career Acceleration

If you have been in product management for a while you probably have come across a few product managers who seem to stand out. For some reason they come across as being really good at what they do, whereas other product managers seem to have little or no clue. They are the stars - the phenomenal product managers who are clearly on the road to big things in their careers.

Marketing Strategy And Product Portfolio Mix - How Do You Develop Your Marketing Portfolio?

Marketing Strategy And Product Portfolio Mix - How Do You Develop Your Marketing Portfolio?
By Adrian Pepper

I have been working with a management team who have dreams of growing their small business by developing their market offering. Most small businesses grow because the products and services that they offer happen to find favour with their customers. How refreshing it is to work with business people who plan for growth.

How to Outsource Product Management to Customers

How to Outsource Product Management to Customers
By Risabh Shastri

For any Enterprise Software Company, Product Management is one of the most critical functions. If products are utilized by more and more customers, than requests for new features will start to pile up, which is but obvious. In order to implement the needs of the customers, the job of product manager should be to prioritize the products in order, so as to keep, feature creep away from it.

Organize Your Demo Like A Newspaper Article

Organize Your Demo Like A Newspaper Article

Pick up this morning's newspaper and think about two things:

  1. How you read it.
  2. How it is written.

If you are like most people, you scan the newspaper for articles that catch your interest. For many articles, you may only read the headline and move on rapidly - you're not interested in the topic. Other articles engage your attention sufficiently to review the first few paragraphs, after which you stop and move on. Some articles you read all the way through, because they address a topic of real interest for you.

Product Management is Inherently Political

Product Management is Inherently Political

Recently, I had lunch with a bright young product manager trying to perfect the process for deciding which features to include in his next productHome of the Brave release. Skipping past theory about “internal ROI” and other quantitative approaches, we talked about having to choose among the many demands for enhancements from sales teams: that MRDs are only the starting point in an ongoing lobbying campaign for product improvements. In other words, product managers will always have to manage the emotional world of people and internal politics.

The most important Hour You'll Spend This Year

The most important hour you'll spend this year
by Karl Hellman

You've got to run off to a meeting, I know. But I just need a minute.

I want to remind you that your product's position is the most important strategic decision you make-in fact, it's the single most important factor in your product's success.

Take a copy of your positioning statement with you; it will help you keep the meeting "on strategy." And during a lull-maybe, when the accounting guy is explaining the allocation variances-cast a fish eye on it. See if you've learned something recently that improves your understanding of your target market. Challenge your point-of-difference-is it compelling to your target customer? Is it still different and better than your competitors? What about your proof: Is it really credible in the target customer's eyes? And finally, is your product's name an asset? Does it convey the identity of your product and its position?

Change your strategy before it's too late

Change your strategy before it's too late.

By Karl Hellman

Product Managers must know when they need to change their strategy-before "doing what worked last year" destroys their product.

We study the product lifecycle because it gives us guidance about when to change and how to change.

Introduction. Growth. Maturity. Decline. Each has its distinct challenges. Each has a distinct strategic theme for the product manager to develop.

A Product Manager's Reading Anthology

A Product Manager's Reading Anthology
By Daniel Shefer
[email protected]


When I first entered the field of Product Management, I immediately set out to find written materials on the subject. Back then, there was only a single book, a 30,000 feet overview on Product Management but nothing to guide me through the day to day activities of a Product Manager.

The purpose of this article is to present a guided tour through of some of the literary resources available that offer guidance for Product Managers in the day to day aspects of their jobs. Experienced Product Managers will benefit from these resources as well as they offer enriching perspectives.

A Pretty Good Definition Of Leadership

A pretty good definition of leadership
By Karl Hellman

Product Managers must lead.

First, they must persuade their companies to make the correct decisions for their product. No mean feat, since all organizations hate making decisions.

Second, they must motivate and guide their companies in implementing the decisions and approved plans. A Herculean labor, since it typically requires the coordination and cooperation of multiple silos, each of which has its own plans and priorities.

Third, they must lead the company's thinking about their product. A tricky task, since everyone has their own, typically partially valid view.

Product Management and Project Management

Product Management and Project Management - Two Functions, Two Vital Roles
By: Steven Haines

For the past few years, the business world has suffered from 'growing pains' and the corporate community is certainly enduring its share of turbulence and disorder. Among the many causative issues, mergers and downsizing are creating conflicts over strategies, roles and responsibilities, and corporate culture clashes. The current shift to outsourcing of important business functions like Product Development and Customer Service is another area of concern.

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly
by Karl Hellman

Product Management is learning-learning what customers need, how they respond to programs, how competitors react, how your execution can be improved. Product managers-brand new or grizzled veterans-need to make learning an integral part of the way they do their jobs.

Learning through Marketing Actions

Every time you introduce a new product feature, you learn. Every time you change price, or run a motivation program, you learn. In fact, every time you take any marketing action, there are incredible lessons to be learned-if you are disciplined enough and honest enough to learn them.

Who's Driving Your Product?

Who's Driving Your Product?
By Stuart Ayling

A colleague of mine is in a difficult situation - or so he thinks! He and a partner have developed a CD-based learning aid to be used in tertiary education institutions. They both have inside knowledge of what students require, they are well qualified in their field, and they know how to produce the product. So what's the problem?


Or rather, the lack of sales.

Whilst they have a great product concept they have not yet developed a sustainable marketing scenario in which to make their product commercially viable. Their current fragmented distribution limits their control over the sale of the product and consequently they are having difficulty increasing revenues. They are not driving their product, their customers are.

Desktop vs. Enterprise Applications – The impact on Product Management

Desktop vs. Enterprise Applications – The impact on Product Management


With input from Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing, Rob Steckbeck, and Rick Chapman, author of The Product Marketing Handbook and In Search of Stupidity.

A couple of months ago I discussed product management with a VP at a company that is moving from the "tool space" to the "enterprise application space". As a result of that conversation, I asked myself, how is product management different for enterprise software vs. for desktop applications? This article is an answer to that question.

There are many differences between managing a desktop tool or application and managing an enterprise-ready software package. The impact of buying an enterprise application is more profound on the buying company, the sales process is much longer, and its participants and nature are different. Customer expectations of functionality, support, services and pricing are different as well. These differences impact the product management process, product features and capabilities and how Product Managers interface with Sales, Professional Services, Support and of course with customers. Consider the following:

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