Product Management 101: Streamlining Planning Process
As the saying goes, a goal without a plan is just a wish. So, before executing the idea, one should work on planning the plan. Proper documentation of all the findings and future steps can work like a magic wand. In this article, we will learn two ways to implementing the planning process.
Using a lean approach to planning in product management means not defining everything in advance. It means accepting — and even welcoming the changes and be part of the development process. The goal of Lean Thinking for product management is to reduce time to market and project costs without losing focus on customer benefit. Simultaneously, the project should reach the product-market fit criteria.
The lean methodology makes use of learning cycles like the ones mentioned below -
- Discover, Hypothesis, Test, Learn loop works well in the early stages of product development and goes well with agile.
- A / B testing determines which of the two selected options is most effective.
Lean includes the idea of reviewing and changing as part of the process. A few of the factors that could play a role in revisiting the idea execution are as follows -
- Problem: If you find that customers are still not interested after solving their problem, maybe you need to check and reframe the issue again to make sure you understand the underlying need.
- Customer Segment: Addressing a wrong customer segment can be a huge setback. Properly defining the user personas is what you should do again.
- Product: Your customers may only be using part of your product. You should refocus and expand the part of the product that works and underline or cross out the rest.
- Marketing: If this is the issue, you should consider repositioning your product in the market.
- Price: The price structure can influence how customers receive and perceive a product. Interestingly, if the offer is positioned as a premium product, one way of branding can be to increase the price so customers can understand the value of the offer.
IN-DEPTH PLANNING APPROACH
When a new idea is proposed to all the team members and stakeholders, it could become difficult to justify every nitty-gritty, majorly the amount of investment in the project. That’s where your in-depth planning comes in handy.
When working with agile teams, product managers often skip in-depth planning activity. Teams can confuse planning a product during the planning phase with the scrum planning activities. Both instances use the word plan, but the work done is very different. To focus on the long term vision of the product life cycle, product managers must work on well thought out strategic documentation. This documentation should be detailed so that a concise product vision better serves the agile team members based on the strategic document that guides the whole project.
While deciding to whether document a product plan or not, the following points can be considered -
- If the documentation level is light, then few or no written document is required. Critical issues can be justified in person.
- If the level is medium, some or all documents can be written in short form, and the level of detail should be kept as minimal as possible.
- With a heavy documentation level, a complete document should be delivered for all phases with extensive detail.
Although you can run an entire project from one business case by just putting one canvas on the wall, which may look beautiful, the reality is that the level of documentation depends on a multitude of conditions, like whether you are using the agile methodology or waterfall nature of the project etc.
Now that we have updated our knowledge with two different planning methods, it’s time to wrap up the article. I hope you learnt something new today. See you next time. Thanks for reading.