In a lean environment, everything is about the customer. Every process and every product should add value. That's where product management comes in.
In the traditional method of business, an engineer may design product technology, a marketing team will research the best way to showcase a product, and business development will connect end users with your business. Product management still utilizes all three roles, but the manager creates a structure and takes responsibility for the overall process. The product manager must be fluent in all three areas to be able to take a product from its beginning stages to the end result.
Here are some benefits of having a product manager on board:
1. Strengthen collaboration between internal teams
As stated, the product manager is responsible for creating a structure that teams will work within, and also to work collaboratively across the environment. They bring a group of individuals with very different professional backgrounds together and work with them on a daily basis. The product manager creates clear roles and boundaries for each party to minimize any ambiguity associated with the project.
2. Have a universal translator for technical information
The typical business development professional may not be fluent in systems layout, just as an engineer isn't necessarily versed in the sales process. It takes a diverse set of skills to design, develop and market a product, and each skill is vital. The product manager works as a universal translator between processes, so that each employee can dedicate themselves to developing the skillsets that will best serve the customer in their current role.
3. Clearly defines expectations
While an engineer may not need to know the ins and outs of business development, they must know how their process affects the next stakeholder. By creating clearly defined expectations for a process, a product manager constructs a system in which each process is informed by and helps another. Their role involves the facilitation of information between internal departments to ultimately ensure all parties are working together and speaking the same language.
4. Aligns market needs
A product manager examines and analyzes market research, so the product can be differentiated and provide value to the customer. This kind of research is absolutely fundamental to the release of the product, as the defining features and value proposition can't be effectively established without it. The result is an innovative product which solves a critical problem within the market.
5. Reduces risk of product failure
Understanding the customer and clearly defining a roadmap for a product can't totally prevent failure, but the intelligence the product manager brings to the project can minimize it substantially. They are immersed in the customer's world, the market changes and the changes needed for existing products. Knowing what the market wants and needs will help reduce the chance that a product will flop.
Ultimately, a product manager can update processes, strengthen your teams and foster collaboration across your company. They help ensure your long-term success and tackle opportunities as markets evolve.