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Product Management in Software Development

Mariel Lettier

Table of Content

What Are Products In Software?
What Is Product Management?
What Is Product Management In Tech?

Product Management In Action
Areas Of Product Management
Product Management Purposes

Product Management Lifecycle
Product Management FAQs

Product Management In Software Development
Why Is Product Management Important?
Product Team Roles In Software Development

Product Management Tools
Conclusion

Product Management is the core of every software development project. It’s the glue keeping every piece of the puzzle together. This article will cover the basics of Product Management and some of its most frequent questions. Further, we'll review its role in software development and share some valuable tools. But first, let’s start from the beginning and look into what we mean by “product.”

What Are Products In Software Development?

Products, in general, can be classified into three main categories. These are durable, consumer, and industrial. Moreover, consumer products can be classified into convenience, shopping, specialty, and unsought products. But what about software development products in particular? Well, a software product can be application software or system software. Below, we’ll list some of the most common types of products that you can develop in this field:

● Startup Products
● Additive Features
● Marketplace Platform
● SaaS Or B2B Solutions
● Mass Consumer Apps
● Transformation of Existing Products
● IoT, Physical, and Machine Learning Products

What Is Product Management?

Product Management guides a product's lifecycle. Its process puts the product and consumers first. A Product Manager (PM) identifies the consumer's needs. As a result, they translate those into products or features. Also, they pitch ideas and work with the team to bring them to life. All this while ensuring it meets the needs of users.

What Is Product Management In Tech?

Product Management differs slightly in the tech world. Here, a PM will have technical computer science and software engineering knowledge. This understanding will allow them to manage the development team. Yet, this will depend on each project.

Product Management In Action

Now that we have some context for our topic, let’s focus on the Product Management process. We'll look into its main areas and its different roles. Moreover, we'll cover the Product Management lifecycle.

Product Management in Software Development

What Are The Three Major Areas Of Product Management?

There are three central pillars when it comes to Product Management. These are product discovery, product planning, and product development. Let’s take a closer look at each of them below.

Product Discovery

Product Discovery—also known as “opportunity discovery”—revolves around what to build. The success of the project hinges on getting this step right. A Product Manager will carry out the relevant research. This research includes interacting with potential users to get their feedback. Also, they're in charge of keeping an eye on the competition.

Product Planning

Product Planning focuses on figuring out what the product will look like. During this stage, there's the development of the product vision and roadmap. Here, the PM will establish the goals to be achieved during the development stage.

Product Development

The final area of Product Management is development. Besides creating the final product, there are some tasks in this step. Some of these include developing a backlog and a development plan from it. Further, there are user-related edges to attend to. For instance, there are writing requirements for user stories and product optimization from feedback. Another relevant task is carrying out User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

Product Management Purposes

Product Managers may have a specific role or purpose. Often this depends on the project and the company's needs. Below, we’ll take a look at three specialized Product Management roles.

Growth Product Manager

A Growth PM focuses on improving metrics. These go alongside the company's goals and help grow businesses. Here, the Product Manager will work closely with the Marketing Team. Often, they'll run short-term experiments to measure success.

Technical Product Manager

This type of PM relates the most to the subject matter of this article. Technical Product Managers will often have some background in development or engineering. Thus, they'll focus on functionalities or the best tech stacks for each project.

Data Product Manager

The Data Product Manager will work with the analytics team and data analysis in this case. As a result, they'll create use cases to measure a product's or feature's success.

Product Management Roles & Purposes

What Is The Product Management Lifecycle?

We saw that there are three main areas of Product Management. The tasks included in each place make up its lifecycle. Yet, there is no real consensus on the number of functions in the Project Management lifecycle in software development. You’ll find various sources describing between five and nine stages that cover the development process. For this article, we’ve chosen to focus on a seven-step lifecycle, as you’ll see below.

Ideation

The first stage is to come up with a product to solve a specific customer problem. Here, you also establish the scope of the product.

Requirement

Once you have the idea for your product, you'll need to establish its specific requirements. Moreover, you'll need to ensure that the product development is workable. You will use this to create a roadmap for product development.

Design

After having precise requirements, you can move on to the design stage. You will lay out the product architecture and create a prototype design here.

Development

Now you’re ready to start developing the product. Your team will focus on writing the code for your product's various features. At this stage, the dynamic teams must consider the relevant specifications.

Testing

With the product already developed, you'll have to test it. Here, QA engineers make sure everything is working as it should. In parallel, developers fix any bugs or issues that may come up.

Deployment

Once the software is ready, you will launch it into the market. This release will come accompanied by appropriate and previously approved marketing strategies.

Maintenance

The Product Management lifecycle does not end at deployment. After launch, you will continue to gather feedback to improve and update your product.

Product Management FAQs

Now that we’ve gone over what Product Management is and how it works, let’s focus on some of the most frequently asked questions in this area.

Do Product Managers Need To Code?

About Product Management in software development, no coding is involved. But, a Product Manager in this field should have some background in the software development lifecycle.

Will Product Management Be Automated In The Future?

It’s doubtful that Product Management will become automated in the future. AI and automation uses are increasing in our daily lives. In this context, Product Management is no exception. At some point, PMs will have to integrate automation into their work. This process applies when considering the level of complex decision-making and evolving marketing. Yet, Artificial Intelligence is unlikely to take over this role completely.

Product Management vs. Project Management

These two concepts are complementary but separate. Let’s first look at the differences between a project and a product. A product is an item or service created to meet consumer needs. Meanwhile, a project is a set of tasks established to meet a goal. A product is a final result of one or a series of projects. We can say that Product Management deals with the idea behind a product. This encompasses planning its production and its business trajectory. Meanwhile, Project Management focuses on the methods, skills, processes, and knowledge needed to make the product a reality.

Product Management vs. Product Marketing

Again, Product Management is concerned with bringing a product to life. For its part, Product Marketing focuses on making the product sellable. These areas have the user's core and entail their fair share of market research. Yet, Product Marketing is also responsible for positioning and growth.

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

Product Managers focus on users' needs and prioritize the next product development steps. Meanwhile, a Product Owner is in charge of creating and managing the product backlog. They also create user stories for the development team and help them execute a shared vision. To sum up, while Product Managers are strategists, Product Owners are tactical.

Product Management FAQs

What Is The Role Of Product Management In Software Development?

We’ve made it to the core of our article. The role of Product Management in Software Development is quite like what we’ve seen before. Product Management entails developing, building, implementing, and managing software products in Software Development. Moreover, it involves connecting engineers, designers, analysts, marketing, and stakeholders (among other actors). The final goal is to create a successful outcome.

Another critical aspect of Product Management is to find balance. This balance includes market needs, business goals, organizational alignments, and product capabilities. Here are some of the tasks and activities that fall under the umbrella of “Product Management”:

● Representing The User Needs
● Carrying Out Customer Interviews
● Carrying out Relevant Market Research
● Analyzing The Competitive Landscape
● Defining The Product Requirements
● Elaborating The Product Planning And Strategy
● Setting The Vision With The Product Owner
● Overseeing The Development Process
● Managing The Product Testing Process
● Coordinating The Product Launch
● Tracking Product Metrics

Why Is Product Management Important In Software Development?

As we’ve mentioned, Product Management is the glue that holds your project together. But a PM wears many hats to guarantee the success of a project. Let’s look at the importance of Product Management in software development below.

Helps Understand Customer Needs

Product Managers interact with, and research customer needs to perform the best idea. Delivering a working product that meets needs and expectations is vital for success. These needs and expectations are continuously shifting. So, there might be changes along the course of a project. The Product Manager is there to track the shifts and make sure changes are implemented.

Creates A Product Roadmap

Software products can become obsolete as techs change and evolve at a fast pace. PMs ensure a clear product roadmap to help the software stay relevant in the long run.

Establishes A Clear Scope

As PMs are in charge of setting the vision for a product, they will establish its scope. Having a clear range helps organize the processes around the project's specific aim.

Maximizes Team Resources

The role of Product Management is key to maximizing team resources. Development teams comprise a variety of IT professionals besides developers. These can be analysts, designers, testers, or content creators. A PM will guide team members to meet client requirements within the specified deadlines. They will also organize how best to use team resources.

Assures Quality Control

Product Managers will work to assess the quality of the product. This process applies at each stage to ensure no bugs or issues.

As you can see, Product Management creates a roadmap for the development process. Also, PMs are in charge of ensuring every team process follows it and adjusting it when necessary. This makes Product Management essential for the software development process.

Product Team Roles In Software Development

There are various roles in the product team, some of which we’ve already discussed. These are the people the Product Managers will have to lead and work with to build a successful software product. We’ll look at this in a bit more detail below.

Product Manager

As we've seen above, a Product Manager is in charge of establishing the vision for the product. Further, it leads and organizes the time to develop it.

Project Manager

A Project Manager is in charge of the success of a specific project within the Product Development Process.

Marketing Manager

A Marketing Manager will tackle the promotion of the product. They are in charge of developing and implementing the marketing strategy.

Business Analyst

The position of Business Analyst is also called “resource manager.” That’s because they ensure the team has all the tools and resources needed to carry out the process.

UI/UX Designers

UI/UX designers are responsible for the user interface (UI) and the product's user experience (UX) aspects. That is to say, UI designers control how the product will look. Conversely, UX designers make sure the end-user has a good experience while using the product.

Solution Architect

Also called “software architects,” they describe the product's technical and functional architecture. Also, they guide the dev team to help them create the various components and features of the product.

Development Team

Software developers will be responsible for writing the code for the software product to work.

Other roles include Product Owner, Team Lead, Tester, and Quality Assurance Engineer.

Product Management Tools

Product Management Tools

There are quite a few tools that make Product Management a lot easier. Below, we’ll give you a brief overview of tools you can use when tackling the different process steps.

AirTable

AirTable is an excellent tool for road mapping. AirTable makes it easy to organize your work process. Besides, it has fully customizable tables according to your needs.

ClickUp

ClickUp is very useful in task management and includes a kanban view. The platform offers mind maps to outline product visions. It also has chat features and countless integrations.

Jira

Another fantastic management tool is Jira. It offers scrum and kanban boards and includes reports and insights. Further, it also has roadmap features. The platform was specifically created for software development purposes.

Figma

This is a collaborative editing and prototyping tool. Figma includes instant art designs, plugins, and modern pen tools.

Asana

Asana is a great task management tool for smaller teams. It lets you divide tasks into sections and subsections. Also, you can set reminders and create workflow templates.

Conclusion

As you can see, Product Management is key to any successful project. They ensure every aspect of the development process runs smoothly. Further, they're always looking out for the interests of potential users. We hope this article has given you a comprehensive review of Product Management in Software development!


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