As your business grows, it demands more of your time and attention. You may find that you are a bottleneck and have trouble making product decisions in a timely manner.
You may need someone to help you drive your product strategy. Someone you trust. Someone who can give your product the attention it deserves. Someone who can help you implement product management. Because building a product management culture is a whole different ballgame.
I can help.
Before we identify the challenges, let's start by defining Product Management.
Product Management may be different across organizations, but the goals are the same:
Discovery is that part of Product Management where you continuously observe your market, your customer, your business environment, and your competition to discover the unmet needs of your target customer.
Delivery is that part of Product Management where you translate needs and insights into features, and user stories and feed them to a product development team to produce your business' offerings.
Business objectives differ based on where a company and product is in its lifecycle. Typically the objectives will address financial (revenue, profit, cost) and market adoption (% penetration, # of users).
The challenges to achieving success are too numerous to address here (I have collected a list of more than 200 challenges!). Here are some to consider:
Before you hire your first product manager, please consider the following:
Many of the challenges are cultural and fall outside of the control of the product manager. Successful product management will change the way the business builds and launches products. The people, processes, and systems in your organization may not be ready for that change.
Let's face it - in most small companies the first product manager is actually one of the founders and the first product is very important to them. It's like their baby. You wouldn't hand your baby to a complete stranger, would you? You need to trust the product manager implicitly. Your process must account for some sort of transition or handoff period to allow trust to be earned. In fact, many of the people that I interviewed actually suggested promoting someone internally rather than hiring externally.
A recent study determined that only 2% of product managers have any formal training. Whatever process you follow needs to account for training, coaching, or mentoring to ensure that your product manager develops the skills necessary to succeed in the job.
Determine what needs to change in the current environment to support and sustain effective product management.
Define the first product management role. Create and execute a hiring plan, considering internal and external candidates.
Once hired, ensure that the product manager has the right training, tools, and processes to succeed in their role.
Product management is not something most business owners are equipped to handle on their own. If your business has grown to the point where you are feeling overwhelmed defining, developing, and delivering your products, it may be time to bring in someone who can help you diagnose the problem and offer solutions.
Let's talk soon about the right approach to implement product management in your organization.