Simplistically, product management is a lifecycle function within an organization that involves dealing with the planning, forecasting, and production, or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.
Defining Product Management
When I wrote the book, Managing Product Management, I entitled the first chapter “Reinventing the Wheel for the Last Time.” Because I’ve been a participant, observer, researcher, and thinker about all things product management for a long time, I wanted to reinforce some key points.
Why? You may ask. Why now? We all know what product management is and does. Don’t we?
How about this: Ask 20 people how they’d define product management. I’ll bet you that you’ll get 20 different responses… or pretty close to it.
As you can surmise from your own discovery of asking people that their definition entails, you could conclude that the number variations on the definition are a reflection a problem. This is especially important when it’s inconsistently defined in your own company, or in any number of companies – regardless of industry or sector.
To me, this is a big issue because when groups of people with a common mission or purpose can’t speak the same language, a lot of confusion ensues.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the role of product management as a functional discipline in a company is poorly understood, and its associated practices are inconsistently applied. Therefore, to get everyone on the same page, let me explain product management to you. I’ll do this by breaking down each of these sections into:
- What is a Product?
- What is Management?
- What is Product Management?
- Why are Product Managers so important?