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How we help the Product Manager

The success of the organization is directly tied to the success of its products.

By aligning products with the strategy of the organization, product managers can operate from a position of strength and be capable of delivering success by meeting customer needs.

Product Manager Role Summary

The product manager is one of the more straightforward roles in delivering strategic portfolio management or SPM, but the importance of the role couldn’t be higher.  Product managers are directly accountable for the success of their products which contribute directly to the strategic success of the entire organization.  They are primarily focused on the following strategic imperatives:

Defining strategic roadmaps

The product manager’s contribution to strategic success starts with the ability to plan and develop effective roadmaps for the product or products they are responsible for.  These must define the arc of their product over the coming periods, integrate with and support the related products and services, and fully align with the strategic priorities of the organization.  Only then can the products be developed from a position of strength and be capable of delivering success by meeting customer needs.

To ensure that those roadmaps result in effective solutions that deliver on their promise, product managers must also break those strategic roadmaps out into pieces of work that come together to move the product forward in the right way.  The work will primarily be delivered using agile techniques and the product manager must ensure that features are prioritized and developed in such a way that the needs of the customer are met while moving the product forward in alignment with organizational strategy.

Adopting a dynamic approach

That progression will be subject to numerous variables – internal shifts in strategies, goals, capabilities and priorities; and external shifts in technological capabilities, customer demands and competitor actions.  As a result, product managers must master adaptive and continuous planning to adjust the work that is being done with minimal disruption and optimal alignment with customer and business needs.  Product managers cannot do this in isolation, products must work together to deliver complete solutions to internal and external customers and the dependencies across products must always be managed effectively.

Metrics to measure outcomes

Product managers must contribute to the defining of the success criteria for their products – what outcome will make them successful, and for the metrics that will be used to measure that performance.  They must then work with their teams to ensure that the actual performance is measured and variances from expectations are addressed.  This will in turn contribute to effective adaptive and continuous planning as outcome variances drive future adjustments to everything from roadmap to work tasks.

Product managers must have strong relationships with each other and with the delivery teams who execute on their work.  They must also work closely with line of business executives, portfolio managers and domain PMOs to help ensure that they are supported by the right resources, that their work is appropriately aligned with the overall strategy and that they are delivering consistent performance.