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5 Game Changers in Product Management – Part 1

If you’ve been in product management for a while, you know there are a lot of things you could be doing with your time to manage your product portfolio. But which things are the most important and effective at helping your company reach its goals. This 2-part blog series will disclose the top 5 product management game changers that are at your disposal and can make you a hero at your organization, not to mention make your job easier.

Portfolio Prioritization — “Are we working on the right things?”

The discipline of Portfolio Management isn’t new, but applying it in a product organization may be. Your competition is prioritizing their product portfolio so their hottest products get to market. Are you? Here are the things you need to consider when evaluating your product portfolio:

  1. Will it drive revenue?
  2. Does it align with our corporate and product strategic goals?
  3. Do we have the resources to deliver it on time?
  4. What is the risk involved?
  5. How will this impact the brand?
  6. Will this help us leapfrog the competition?
  7. What will the sustainability impact be?
  8. Will our customers be delighted?

The key is to run multiple ‘what if’ scenario on products, projects, programs, or features to evaluate how those align with set targets, and whether you have the capacity to deliver. There are powerful tools available to product and portfolio managers that pull all of this information together onto one central page to give executives the information they need to make the decisions that drive the best, most profitable products to market.

Resource Management — “How do I best utilize my people?”

It’s simple math. If you don’t have the resources to execute, you can’t deliver desirable products on time and on budget. According to our annual benchmark survey on product development, this has actually been found to be the #1 pain point for product development organizations for the past two years. Effective resource management breaks down into 3 key components:

  1. Organizational capacity planning
  2. Development resource planning
  3. Ongoing change management to schedule and resource assignments

If you take this three prong approach to Resource Management, you can expect to achieve these benefits:

  • Clear visibility of demand and capacity to avoid resource bottlenecks, reduce risk, and hit launch targets
  • Forward and backward-looking resource planning to eliminate resource cost overruns
  • Resource management processes that lead to consistent, proactive responses to change

Agile Product Management — “Why should we care?”

Making the switch from Waterfall to Agile was difficult for me. I felt like I was losing control of the schedule and what was being delivered to our customers. But I soon discovered that Agile actually gave me ultimate control and flexibility as a product manager. In fact, through our Inner Circle program, we regularly show customers what’s going on and get feedback from them, involving them in the decisions that need to be made along the way, so I can ensure we’re “delivering to delight.” But what, specifically, does Agile do for us?

    • Iterative sprint cycle ensures we’re delivering what customers want

Central repository for all product ideas and backlogs reduces risk and saves time

    • Ultimate flexibility with stories and priorities allows us to quickly respond to change
    • Testing done throughout development often leads to higher quality and met deadlines

Embrace the change to Agile. You’ll come to love it, like I did.

Be sure to check back for our next blog post to learn about the remaining two game-changing tools. Louise Allen, Vice President of Product Management at Planview, will finish our series. I encourage you to evaluate your processes and tools to see if you are maximizing your product development potential.

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Carrie Nauyalis
Written By

Carrie Nauyalis brings her passion, experience, and thought leadership in the product portfolio management industry to her current role as Executive in Residence at Planview. As an EIR, Carrie is collaborating on market research and sharing best practices with Planview prospects and customers. She is an active speaker, MBA guest lecturer, blogger, and vlogger on all things PPM, with warm places in her heart for State-Gate®, innovation, calculating ROI, and agile. Carrie spent 19 years with Planview in various positions, including global consulting, product management, and as the solution evangelist for innovation and new product development. Prior to Planview, Carrie held multiple systems engineering positions with Emerson Process. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Truman State. Twitter: @PDPMprincess