Huh?... What on earth does that title mean?... Well, most blogs try to entice you with a title like ‘3 Secrets To Greater Wealth’. Studies show humans can easily process 3 key points, but if we add a fourth our brains turn into mush and can’t process. We like to think our audience is smarter than the average bear and can process more than 3 things. So, we decided on ‘π Reasons To Assess Your Product Management Team’ as a title.
The Relationship between Pi and Product Management
Pi is a mathematical constant originally defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference (outside) to its diameter (the span of the inside).
Just like Pi – Product Management functions as the critical relationship between a technology firm’s outside market (circumference) to how their marketing, sales, and development teams operate on the inside (diameter). Product teams must be that ‘constant’ for an organization to succeed. As Product Management teams are such a critical function to this equation, then leaders should routinely assess if their PM team is positioned to meet the mathematical significance of this responsibility.
Thus, we at Egress Solutions will give you 3.141592… reasons technology firms should routinely run an assessment of your PM team. Still not sure? Keep reading – it all adds up in the end.
Reason 1: Slow Down To Speed Up, Set a Product Management Charter
Each company is different with different needs. Some companies need Product Management to be very structured and follow a detailed product management framework. Other companies need PM to be less restricted and have a greater reach. So often we see companies have a PM function without a PM charter. So, first organizations need to look at their own strategic goals and determine what roles and responsibilities they need to place on the Product Management organization. From there, the organization should identify what combination of Product Management frameworks works best with the cross-functional teams they work with. For example, if your development department is an Agile shop what framework will work best for the two teams to work together. Taking the time to step back and assess how the Product Management team fits into your organization’s business strategy provides clarity to both the PM team and cross functional teams; paying off in the long run.
Reason 2: Skills & People
To construct an effective team, I have never sought out the exact same skills for each member. While you desire to have a uniform job description to define the role, you need different perspectives to achieve a stronger end-result. In a recent Product Management Assessment performed by Egress Solutions, we were pleased to see that our client had sourced their PM’s internally from Support, Sales Engineering, and QA. This provided strong product knowledge and cross-team consideration into the offering. However, the team lacked any outsider perspective. It was easy for the team to sip their own champagne and believe it was the best; having never tried anyone else’s bubbly. Assessing your PM team's strengths and weaknesses, areas for growth, perspectives, and experience allows you to have a diverse organization that will provide both open-mindedness and a healthy dose of skepticism. It also helps you to pinpoint how to help your team members grow in their skills and career. Investing in your team is always the right choice.
Reason 3: The Politics
Let’s just admit it… internal corporate politics exist, and we must consider it as we set our team up for success. Often, we see unhealthy tension between marketing, technical, or strategic leaders and Product Management. This may be one of the best reasons to hire a Product Management consulting firm to assess your organizations PM team. Consultants can unearth the dynamics at play, communicate them to all the parties involved in a constructive way, and identify paths to transform those challenges into healthy tensions that you desire.
Just like PI, the role of a Product Manager never ends and is constantly changing. New challenges occur. By the nature of the product life-cycle, you have different phases that Product Management must own. These cycles from Product Launch to End of Life require different skills and different approaches. The need to routinely assess your team and how they must serve as the liaison between the inside of your organization and the outside is a mathematical certainty.
At Egress Solutions, we have performed countless Product Management Assessments across all industries. It never fails that each organization walks away with new ideas and clarity on how to have a stronger Product Management team. Whether you do it yourself or bring in outside professional perspective, we recommend you assess your team annually and be transparent with your findings to help your entire organization understand the PM team’s charter.