Egress Solutions Product & Innovation Management Blog

How to Quantify the Return on Product Management

Do you ever feel like you have a target on your back? If you’re a product executive, especially with product management responsibility, you’ve felt the pressure to justify the existence of you and your team at some point. Sure, you can talk to the executive team about efforts underway to define the MVP, groom the product backlog and prioritize features for the next release. But they want something more concrete from you – a clear connection between the investment in your team and the top line or the bottom line results.

It may be tempting to jump to your product or product line profit and loss to justify staffing compensation, return on investment, contribution margin and productivity… However, this can be a big mistake if you haven’t laid the proper foundation and set expectations with your co-leaders and your team.

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An Executive's Guide to a Healthy Software Product Portfolio

The software market is constantly evolving. Want proof? In the span of a single week technology website Network World reviews an average of more than 20 software and hardware products. For executives at software development companies, the challenge is one of balance — too many products and you get lost in the noise; too few, and you're not taking best advantage of your market niche. Here's a top-level guide to help ensure your product portfolio is in good health.

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Market segmentation: 5 signs you're doing it right

Many of us in the field of technology product management are so familiar with market segmentation principles that we take them for granted. In fact, I would bet that many of you respond to the topic with a big yawn. So, you might be surprised to learn that we have found that too many product managers don't go far enough with segmentation to get the results they need to grow their business.

We've all seen the analyst reports that estimate that a particular market size is huge and growing. Typically, these markets are defined in lofty and large terms that are perfectly fine for journalists and bloggers to quote in their posts, but inadequate for those of us responsible for making decisions about product features, pricing and go-to-market strategy.

You won't be alone if you have relied on an analyst's market definition to frame your target market segment. Frankly, thorough and thoughtful market segmentation requires effort and time. It isn't a trivial exercise. Even if you believe that your segmentation is as complete as it can be, read on to learn how we suggest you test it just to be certain.

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Don't Fall in Love - A Product Manager's Tip to Success

“One's first love is always perfect until one meets one's second love.”

-Elizabeth Aston

I was honored to participate in a podcast hosted by my friend Michael Hopkin. Michael has a blog site dedicated to Product Management (http://www.leadonpurposeblog.com/) and also runs a podcast called The Product Management Pulse.

It was great fun and Michael is a great host. Mostly it got me to think, talk and reminisce about my first love—Product Management.

Over the 30 minutes or so I was able to cover several of my favorite Product Management topics but in replaying it I realized I never got around to one of my most stringent rules for being a good Product Manager (although God knows I tried, I even attempted to talk through the break).

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Winning by Losing

 

“I never lose…I either win or I learn.” - Unknown

I've always been fascinated with how and why business deals are won and lost. As a long time product manager, I've always wanted to know why companies chose or didn't choose my product or service. What I've learned is that knowing makes all the difference.

Too often, the simple answer from sales is it’s either because of price or functionality. “Our competition’s price was cheaper,” they say, or “Our competition’s solution had a feature that we don’t have.” Now to be fair, that is often the reason the salesperson receives from their contact inside the prospect. It’s a quick and easy let down line—the old “it’s not you it’s me.”

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4 Reasons Why It's Time to Embrace a Product Management Maturity Model

I am deeply passionate about the role of product management and the intrinsic value good product management teams can provide to a company. However, I also have to accept the truth that product mangers as a group are not the game changers, nor the market makers, they could be.

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System of Record for Go-to-Market

My previous posts on the “product management system of record” have focused on the “Finding a Market Problem” and “Creating a Solution” parts of the product management process.

In this post, I’m going to complete the story, and talk about how the system of record can be used for the “Go-to-Market” part of the product management process.

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Product Portfolio Management: Important, but Not Urgent...Yet

Product Portfolio management is one of those important but not urgent activities that we never seem to have time to do. It is often thought of as an academic exercise; however, good product managers and product team leaders know it should be done, but struggle to organize the effort. If they take the initiative, the activity can unravel very quickly into an over heated debate about which products should be in what quadrant and why.

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Market Discovery: Obtaining Value From Small Sample Size Research

Product managers often rely too heavily on very narrow views of market input to decide what features are built into a new product or new release. While the usual stakeholders, including executive and existing customers, deserve to be heard, product managers often over correct their input results in product releases that only satisfy a very small group of potential buyers.

Meanwhile, competitors seem to fluidly introduce new products, releases and ideas that gain acceptance immediately with higher adoption targets. It’s not luck.

The competition isn’t inherently smarter and it’s not because its product teams are smaller (or larger). They simply throw away more ideas than they build.

You can do the same with market discovery, a technique that provides a bigger and better pipeline of market problems, new market opportunities and a method to validate them.

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Product Management System of Record - Rolling Your Own

Maybe you have read my post from a few weeks ago on a system of record for product management, and agree that not only does product management need one but there are no tools that provide one. What should you do? Can you “cobble together” an interim system of record solution, and should you?

A central system of record for product management provides three main benefits:

  • There’s a single source of truth instead of multiple copies of the truth, of which most do not agree
  • The information is an enterprise asset by virtue of being centrally accessible
  • It reduces duplication of work since people can now find desired information in the repository rather than searching for it, or worse, recreating it.>

Let’s start with the first goal—everything in its place; no duplication. How might we do that for all the artifacts that product managers create, such as interview notes, feature specifications, release descriptions and value propositions? You’ll need a database that supports documents and attachments as this becomes the well-known location for everything that product management produces. It’s very much like a wiki.

What about the other big piece of the system of record—the relationships between these items? For example, which customer needs drove which features. Luckily, a wiki can support this too, via linking.

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