All You Need to Know About Product Management Workflow

Product management often changes the way a software project functions. With the speed of communication through the internet, the same scenario has existed since the 1980s as it of today. Software companies thrive within the competitive marketplace where the new hardware, software, and operating systems undergo drastic changes every month.

The temptation to chase the newest shiny bright is enormous. If you fail to chase it, your competitor might introduce a powerful FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about your company and product in the marketplace. In order to stay competitive, it is essential to have a comprehensive knowledge of product management workflow, its benefits, and more. Keep reading this article to know more.

All You Need to Know About Product Management Workflow

Definition of A Product

Before getting into product management, let us look at the product. Most software companies think their business is delivering the products to their business partners. They fail to think of themselves as someone who builds, sells, and maintains software products for their customers. The software product has become crucial for business partners to continue serving their customers.

The software product plays a central role in modeling the business processes and has become a crucial element for application delivery and development. This has made the software companies stop and think about how effectively they can develop and deliver the product.

A software product generally supports many operational scenarios as specified by the software requirements. The software product processes the functional scenarios with the help of an abstract sequence of data processing. Here each operational scenario is identified and evaluated by the assortment of functional operations, which are designed accordingly.

The architecture of a software product involves four key attributes: integrity, modifiability, testability, and usability. The attribute integrity can be characterized as the ability of different software elements implemented in a system works cooperatively together, signifying the software implementation. Next, is the attribute modifiability, which changes in the product, gets adapted in the architecture, and accommodates product support. The attribute testability is acceptance testing. This attribute addresses how the specifications and features function and determine if they satisfy stakeholders’ expectations. Finally, attribute usability is where the training happens. This attribute is responsible for ease of use, and it directly influences the lifecycle of the product and updates.

For instance, an ATM will have to support several distinct banking transactions. These are several banking transaction scenarios, each of which needs to be processed distinctively. Each transaction is evaluated, and the corresponding functional scenarios are triggered.

Those scenarios include:

(1) notifying banks with inactive bank accounts due to closure by the customer
(2) suspending transactions due to inappropriate account activity
(3) suspending transactions due to insufficient funds in the bank account
(4) Complete the requested transactions as there are sufficient funds in the customer account. Each of these situations is distinctive in nature and represents different functional scenarios, and the software product is designed to handle such distinctive functional operations.

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What Is Product Management Workflow?

Product management is getting much attention from startups and enterprise companies but cannot be defined in simple terms. However, it can be defined as the interdisciplinary role which teaches how to plan, design, and continuously produce better products in the market to stay ahead of the competition. Simply, it is the combination of technology, business, and customer. But the question is how to develop the best product for the market and grow our business.

A product manager is deemed responsible for guiding the lead developers and engineers to scope out use problems and develop a product to solve them. They make critical product decisions and manage the production workflow management processes. Their roles and responsibilities foes beyond the development and delivery of the product. They need deep business acumen and an understanding of the fabric of the product.

Open product management workflow is another proven methodology developed through practical experience from various companies. The data is summarized from the best ideas and practical methods adopted by numerous businesses. This open product management workflow will provide you with step-by-step knowledge on comprehensible product management, which can be implemented readily. It has pre-defined software templates, tools, and training to practice it quickly and effectively. The open product management workflow can be used with the product management tool to develop more innovative roadmaps for the success of a product.

Product managers set up the product vision and formulate the product development strategy. The development plan they develop should gel with the company’s goals as well as customers’ expectations.

Here comes the critical part – product management workflow. Any product management workflow will involve these six key steps –

  • Identifying opportunities or problems
  • Emphasize
  • Developing solutions
  • Building products
  • Launching and promoting the developed products
  • Measure performance metrics and collect customer feedback for improvement

These steps keep happening in a cycle. Since not all ideas get translated into great products, it is best for companies to model and implement production workflow management. You can create order out of chaos when you have a normalized workflow, especially when multiple stakeholders are involved in product development. The development process will be accelerated and simplified with a product management workflow, mainly when cross-collaborating with different teams.

Stages of Product Management Workflow

Let’s take a look at what happens at each of the stages mentioned above.

Ideation

This is the first stage where the product development team figures out what problems the customers are facing. Ideation and brainstorming sessions would lead to market analysis and can be identified with potential customer interaction sessions.

The more the problem identified, the better it would be. When you work more with the product, you will efficiently come across innovative solutions as you grow. A perfect understanding of the product world help comprehend each problem and connect the solutions that will have a network effect. In addition to customer interaction and market analysis, you will also analyze competitors, talk to your engineering team for technical implications, and formulate a roadmap.

After having accumulated data from the ideation process, the product manager would analyze the data further and identify the most useful customer-centric ideas. The selected problem/opportunity should lead to the betterment of the new product.

Emphasizing

With a basketful of problems, you need to emphasize. The product manager places their bet on the problem choices. They should have both company’s goals and users’ expectations when choosing them. Many companies try to use complex formulas to try and prioritize problems/opportunities. However, to think it will work 100% is simply skeptical.

But placing these larger bets can be quite challenging. These bets do not include simply fixing bugs or improvement requests. These bets will be made on other bigger issues that might take days and even months to fix. But quantifying these types of larger bets can be a bit overwhelming. So, how to emphasize it? Well, there are three things to consider: (1) the product manager can prioritize the issues based on quantitative and qualitative research (2) if fixing the issue reflects improvement (3) having a well-developed product intuition.

Finally, once the issues are identified and prioritized, the product development strategy/roadmap needs to be finalized. For this, you will need to have crystal clear reasoning. In addition, you need to have alternatives/backup scenarios to face any hiccups in the product development process. When the final roadmap is ready, propose it to the stakeholders and discuss it with the respective teams involved.

Elucidation

This is a complex stage. This is where various teams collaborate with each other to come up with different solutions. But, this is a creative phase. But you need to take your time to arrive at the build phase. There are more chances of things going wrong initially at this stage, and it’s okay.

In this stage, you must ensure that your engineers and designers understand the problem/opportunity. They need to understand the product vision completely and analyze competitors. Organize regular workshops, meetings, and design sprints whenever needed to iterate design ideas. When you arrive at a new solution, get feedback from the internal team on prototypes. Ensure all this technical information is documented and reviewed to ensure that the team moves in the right direction.

Create

It’s time to build the product. This is when your team builds the new product and is a crucial step in the product workflow. This is done when the team is confident with the proposed solution. Your team will work as per the discussed and documented requirements. A product manager will leverage their skills and guide the product development team towards success.

Product managers need to keep track of the progress and ensure that their developers have the big picture in mind. Also, they need to ensure that the team has full clarity on the tasks and the end goal. Stakeholders need to be updated regularly regarding the build progress, and any delays should be informed duly to avoid unnecessary consequences.

Launch

Yes! Finally, the product is fully developed. Or it can also be the first milestone of a much larger project. But, if you are ready to launch it to a smaller group of users even, then just do it.

Before that, develop a detailed launch plan and work closely with the marketing team on how to execute the launch. It is important that the stakeholders are updated about every detail of the launch. Communication is key to this stage, and let all your users know about the launch event.

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Review

When the users begin to experience the new product, it’s time to collect feedback. Feedback influences business growth and they are the key factors for improvements. Only through feedback can you know what the user expects and what needs to be improved in the launched product.

Measuring performance metrics is a crucial part of product development. Here, you need to check if everything works as planned and regularly check the technical health of the product. Technical heath is measured in terms of monitoring servers and databases. Collect the initial database from the users and update it in your business.

As your product starts to gain attention and its adoption increases, then you need to keep a backlog of improvements. The measure of performance metrics reveals if the product has succeeded or failed among the users based on which upgradation is done. Also, monitor feedback across different channels to help gain a better understanding of your product, and it helps with the improvement.

An ideal product management workflow should have all these six stages here. But, it differs with each company, and they should prioritize the most practical steps possible for their own product development journey.

Roles of A Product Manager

So what does it take to be the best product manager? Well, a product manager is often referred to as the “CEO of the product,” and they simply have the direct authority to guide the team to make their products successful. From user and data research through design and development to sales and marketing, they support and manage each of these stages.

There are three primary factors based on which a product manager is evaluated:

1. Core competencies,
2. Emotional intelligence, and
3. Company fit.

The core competencies include conducting user testing, customer interviews, design sprints, road map planning, translating business to technical requirements, revenue modeling, and designing success metrics.

Secondly, emotional intelligence is one of the most crucial elements for a good product manager. The ability to empathize with the customers is an added advantage as they turn their body language and emotions to accurately pinpoint how the product will address the customers when launched. A product manager with a high EQ will maintain strong relationships with their organization and have a keen navigational sense to overcome any internal and external hurdles.

Finally, company fit is measured in terms of skills, personality traits, and technical skills which would guarantee success. They should be knowledgeable about the company’s philosophy and engineering and need to maintain a rapport with the C-level executives of the organization as well as the stakeholders. Having skills in both technical and soft skills will help a product manager excel in their role and lead the product towards success.

Product Management Applications

Now that you know about product management workflow, you need to know the product management tools to help enhance your productivity. These are organizational tools to help you develop your business in the most efficient manner.

The product management tools help product managers to collect information and layout plans to arrive at the new product. Although these tools are typically used by product managers, even other departments, including sales and marketing, are starting to use them.

Product management workflow applications offer several useful features to organize and execute the work effectively. The roadmap feature helps to idealize the product development stages and breakdowns the entire process from ideation to launch with adjustable timelines. Another important feature is prioritization. This is the key feature for the roadmap to be effective, and it helps product managers to focus on the most critical tasks, eliminating delays. They should also have several other features such as sprint planning, resource management, bug tracking, portfolio management, agile workflows, and collaboration features.

Benefits of A Product Management Tool

Ideally, a product management software act as a unified hub where centralized activities and product-related information are stored. It also helps with product lifecycle management. Likewise, there are several benefits of having a product management workflow tool.

  • Having a collaborative environment during product development is highly essential. Therefore, a product management tool will help you create a diverse environment for different teams to work together. Here, you can also provide user access permissions for data security as well as for seamless teamwork.
  • Visibility is another major benefit of having a product management tool. The application will give you in-depth insight into the statistical reports to help develop performance metrics and KPIs. This, in turn, helps stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding product development.
  • The robust features of the product management tool will help provide analytical reports specifically designed for different stakeholders. The features help them understand compelling analytical reports easily and provide accurate information in minutes. This enhances the quality of the decision-making.
  • When you have all the relevant information, you can develop product maturity models and other models which will help forecast the product’s growth in the coming future. All this information can be stored in a single centralized database. This helps stakeholders and other team members to access the data in real-time. Maintaining data validity helps improves communication and strengthens collaboration.
  • Finally, an effective product management tool should have the following features: (a) road mapping for a project, (b) task management, (c) collaboration and communication tools (d) resource planning and management. All these features will enhance your productivity.

Well, how to choose the right one? Ask yourself who are will be using the platform and what you will be managing using the tool.

Since product management is critical for a company’s productivity, you need to identify the needs before making the decision. Since each company has its own requirements, you need to define what your team needs from the software clearly. Upon listing the needs, define the core features and functionalities and determine if all your employees can use it easily. So, you need to settle for a simple and intuitive tool like Cflow. Right product management tools are needed for successful product launches.

Cflow is a cloud BPM and workflow automation tool with robust features which will bring life to your product management. It is a simple and intuitive product management workflow tool that you can use to collaborate with your team effectively. It has a centralized hub that helps your product development teams to work together.

You will have great flexibility and visibility at every stage of your product life cycle with Cflow.

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