During Sequent Learning’s product management training workshops, product managers often refer to “the product management process” as a unified approach to their work. If you find yourself in this population, or if you’d like some clarity on how the business of the product gets done, read on to clarify this notion of a product management process.
We will start with the understanding that a process is different than a practice (as in a best-practice). Processes define how workflows. Therefore, they require inputs, some kind of work (activities) and result in an output.
Remember: input, activity, and output.
A practice, on the other hand, can be thought of as a technique used to do the work. A best-practice is an activity that has been codified, endorsed, and improved over time and produces an optimal outcome.
With this, there are five “meta-level” product processes that should be used across the product lifecycle. By their names, they should be fairly easy to understand but there is a brief description of each below.
- Market Insight Development Process: Continuously analyze customers, industries, and competitors to garner relevant market insights
- Product Strategy and Roadmap Process: Translate insights and product business data into goals, strategies, and roadmaps
- Product Development Process: The steps followed to develop and validate a product – can be agile or waterfall
- Go-to-Market or Launch Process: The steps followed to bring products to market – can be major or minor product launches or product releases
- Performance Management Process: The steps followed to bring products to market can be major or minor product launches or releases
When considered against the backdrop of a product management framework, it may be easier to grasp how these can and should work together. The framework is organized to reflect the life of a product (tangible or intangible) from start to finish. It’s also organized in a somewhat linear way.