The Product Manager is in charge of defining the requirements, writing user stories, making product presentations, participating in meetings, controlling the development project, collaborating in marketing, in sales.
Software product management is widely recognized as the key discipline for the success of software and digital products. Successful products are the lifeblood of every software company, be it a young company or a mature software organization. So being a software product manager is having one of the hottest jobs in the industry, and the demand for talent is growing exponentially.
Software Product Management is really necessary as a practice in all software companies and corporate IT organizations.
Engineering or software development teams focus on the latest technology trends, strive for perfect software design, cleaner coding, and if there’s something new in the developer community, they want to give it a try.
Developing software or digital products is a difficult and complex task. Many more teams are involved, and they all have high expectations for the product so they can achieve their own goals.
Software product management can be seen as the great protector that takes care of the products and protects them. Products might not survive for a multitude of reasons, even if the idea is great and there is a market. Any product failure comes with a reason.
The mandate of Software Product Management and the reason for its existence is the holistic vision and understanding of how all the pieces must fit together for a successful product out of the box.
Timo Wagenblatt explains in his Software Product Manager book in English that software product management sits in the middle of it all, acting as a hub between all the different stakeholders who have their own agendas, constraints, and goals. Software product management motivates and leads stakeholder alignment, or in other words, software product management evangelizes the product mindset in the following dimensions:
Product viability: Includes all the activities necessary to ensure that those new product ideas or product features make business sense, provide an adequate return on investment, and have customers who understand the value of the product well enough to pay for it.
Product development: Guides the engineering team from product vision and strategy to scope prioritization and delay. Provide clarity and direction to the product team, to reinforce team spirit and develop a quality product.
Go to the Market / Product Marketing: Disseminate and position the values of the product in an optimal way for the ecosystem in sales, professional services and the community of partners, and – without thinking about it – for the market and the current and future clients of the company.
Software demos and training: Show the product and empower people to use it in the best possible way, underlining the positioning and showing the various values for the target groups in an attractive way.
The Market / Customers: The market can be represented by the target market segment, communities, analysts, press and media, while the customers are the people and companies who write the checks. Account managers and client success teams provide a constant stream of feature gaps identified by their clients.
Organizational maturity: Define software product management as a leadership role and continually improve processes and tools. Managing the hierarchy and cross teams to show the value that Software Product Management adds to the organization. Software Product Managers help infuse the product mindset into the organization.
Each dimension has its own special set of stakeholders: people, teams, and departments that have an interest in one or more dimensions, but probably not all. Each stakeholder focuses on one or two dimensions, articulating self-interest demands and often prioritizing their own goals over the product as a whole. While software product management is concerned with long-term product success, the various stakeholders may not always share the same goal.
Successfully used software product management means higher chances of success for your product and higher performance potential for your product. Increasing the chances of success and the potential for performance is all about finding the right balance for the dimensions mentioned above.