This post is a part of a series discussing Agile Product Management responsibilities. Here’s a list of posts so far:
- Title 1
- Title 2
Aligning long-term service and product development with company strategy will require a Product Manager to contribute to portfolio-level product planning. Typically this process is separated into a) new product or service development and b) maintenance management of products and services that already exist.
Product managers come up with proposals for new services or products with a view to their usefulness, given future predictions concerning technologies, markets, and financial forecasts. A Product Manager must also alter product plans to keep in step with product status, a comprehensive knowledge of customer/markets, and finance-related feedback.
Before they give the go-ahead on any new initiative, executives often demand realistic business plans backed up with thorough market research. As such, if they are to introduce major new efforts, product managers must be authorities on business opportunities, technical risks, market segments, and high-level requirements.
To stay on top of all these developments, a Product Manager employs various data-gathering tools; such as secondary research, as well as customer visits and surveys. Using prototypes, wireframes, and storyboards, a Product Manager can use customer input to focus on specific product requirements. Information concerning customer needs is then combined with reliable projections of cost and revenue in order to create a watertight business case. Should the product be approved, the portfolio of existing products will be adjusted and resources allocated to ensure that the updated product mix will take maximum advantage of the new business opportunities created.
Principally, portfolio planning and new product proposals occur separately from daily product development processes. Portfolio decisions require more planning, as they risk incurring greater costs than product-level decisions, so these decisions are obviously made much more gradually and with greater caution. Product managers are integral to this process and essential to both levels of planning because their unique perspective combines detailed product information and expertise with their understanding of the overall aims of the whole portfolio. An Agile Product Manager also has up-to-date, detailed customer intelligence.