How to Improve Product Management
When it comes to product management, you never stop learning. Another thing you’ll need to learn how to do is always keep improving. Every day you will be presented with a “new problem and you will need to learn a new way to tackle it.”
Luckily, you’re not alone. Here, I will present some tips on how to improve product management.
Remember Your Stakeholders
When designing products, product managers have many stakeholders to consider. They must ensure that their product meets the goals, expectations, and requirements of each stakeholder respectively. Some of these stakeholders are internal to the organization while others are external. Talking to all of these stakeholders and understanding their needs and desires will be essential in the design of any solution. To do this, product managers must start first with a hypothesis and then present it to their audiences to gain a better understanding of how they feel to trigger a conversation. These conversations will be used as data points, helping the team draw conclusions and conduct research. Be sure to talk to not only one customer but as many as possible to gather accurate data points to generalize your product and not simply solve a problem for one specific customer.
If you listen to one customer, you’re going to be very biased to their processes versus trying to listen to as many as you can and then generalize your product.
Isolate Your Priorities
Everyone has an agenda and every stakeholder is going to want something else. Some may want a solution personalized just for them and may provide you with promises of a large budget if you work towards their agenda. Others may want you to solve a specific problem and give you a million reasons why. Regardless, as a product manager, it’s your responsibility to review your priorities and lead decision-making on the direction of the product.
Learn To Say No
With your priorities isolated and new insights gained about your product and requirements, you’re going to have to learn how to say no to others. Whether it’s stakeholders in the marketing division or high-level executives, you have to make them aware of the priorities established on the project and rid of any friction. One solution for making this process simpler is to use data as a way to clearly express to your customers and stakeholders the consequences of moving in other directions.
Using the results from the previous conversations with stakeholders, product managers can now go in and conduct a few rounds of experimentation. They can then take these experiments and prototypes back to the rest of the team and stakeholders to present them. They may present solutions that aren’t exactly aligned with the stakeholder’s original goals but can show them how even though the experience is different, it provides them with their intended results or maybe even better results than they anticipated.
Educate Your Audience
Oftentimes, when a product is designed. It’s going to bring about some technical elements that many won’t understand. For example, if your team is trying to implement automation into a system that historically didn’t need these features, you may get presented with questions like the following:
- “Why do we need automation?”
- “What can automation do for us that we can’t already do?”
These questions may bring you to technical answers, however, you must learn to present them in a way your audience understands and can accept.
Ask The Right Questions
It’s simple right? Ask your customers what they want and design to their requests? It’s not always that simple. Sometimes customers tell you one thing, but without understanding the technology and systems, you’ll learn that they really want something else. This is a challenge many face in business, especially product managers. One solution to this challenge is to treat your customers like a dreamer and understand that they don’t understand feasibility. Another thing you can do is break down their problem and assess how you can iteratively get to their desired solution in time.
Developing products is complex and there are always solutions that can be leveraged to change this experience. Today, we took a look at how design thinking could be implemented as a way to solve product management challenges.
Design thinking has no boundaries. It can be implemented in many different ways across a variety of fields and industries. Without a doubt, you too could implement design thinking into your business.
What’s stopping you from taking things to the next level?
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