Organizational Requirements for Product Development and Management
Product management is an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning, forecasting, or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle. Product development – the process of bringing new products to the marketplace – combined with product marketing, make up the product management function that oversees the launch of a company’s new products.
Product management spans many activities, from strategic to tactical, and varies based on the organizational structure of the company. Product management can be a function separate on its own, or fall under marketing or engineering.
Functional Requirements of Product Management
Depending on the company size and history, product management has a variety of functions and roles, and can be shared across different departments, such as product development or engineering. A product manager investigates, selects, and develops one or more tangible products for an organization. However, product management also deals with intangible products, such as music, information, and services. Many interpretations exist for product management roles and functions and vary depending on company size, history, and industry.
The Intersection between Product Management, Product Development and Marketing
Frequently there is Profit and Loss (P&L) responsibility as a key metric for evaluating product management performance. In some companies, the product management function is the hub of many other business activities around the development and launch of a product. In other organizations, product management is one of several things that need to occur to successfully launch, monitor, and manage a product. Product management often serves an interdisciplinary role, bridging gaps within the company between different sets of expertise.
This intersection most commonly happens between engineering-oriented teams and commercially-oriented teams. Often, product management professionals serve as the middlemen between product development and engineering and marketing and sales teams. They often translate business objectives set for a product by marketing or sales into engineering requirements for product development. Conversely, the product management team may work to explain the finished product’s capabilities and limitations to marketing and sales professionals. This constant exchange between technical and business teams ensures that product benefits and features are accurately communicated to target audiences.
To facilitate this communication process, product management teams will perform activities including customer research, competitive intelligence, industry analysis, and competitive analysis. Likewise, product management works closely with marketing distributing messages, training sales people, developing market strategies, and communicating messages through advertising and public relations channels.