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Implementing the Product Management Function

Design and Deploy the Right Methodology for Your Organization

Faced with increasing competition, organizations increasingly must improve their product lifecycle management (PLM) processes.   PLM affects every aspect of the business, from identifying and screening new product ideas to retiring products in a timely fashion in order to reduce the drain on resources. 

 

While all organizations practice some form of product lifecycle management, the process often has evolved in an ad-hoc fashion and may be inappropriate for current business conditions.   A common problem is functionally organized organizations suffer from poor handoffs between “vertical” silos and from certain activities not being properly addressed.   In order to make the transition from a “vertical” to a “horizontal” orientation, organizations implement a product management function tasked with horizontal accountability for the success of products from cradle to grave.

 

While the Product Management function had existed for many years and is employed at many companies today, it can be difficult to implement for the first time.  The roles, responsibilities and activities vary from company to company, so there is no single “blueprint” for the function that a company can use.  In fact, the product management function should vary from company to company, since each has its own unique business model.  In addition, each organization already has processes in place, so the product management overlay requires a degree of change management.    

 

This course provides the foundation, framework and tools for implementing an effective product management organization within an organization.  It addresses all elements of successful product management, from the organizational context to specific processes and deliverables that have been proven to work at each stage of the product lifecycle in a variety of companies, together with tips for adopting them within the unique culture and existing processes at each company.

 

 

BUSINESS ISSUES ADDRESSED

 

Key issues that this course addresses include:

         How should “best practice” PLM processes be adopted for your organization?

         What are the roles and responsibilities of the product management function?  What should be expected of Product Managers?

         What is the typical organizational infrastructure within which the Product Management function must exist and how can it be tailored to meet specific business requirements?

         At each stage of the product lifecycle, what are the key activities and what is the role of product management?

         What are some of the key “landmines” that should be avoided? 

         What are the metrics that Product Management should use to drive the process? 

         What are the metrics that should be used to determine the effectiveness of the Product Management function?


FOR WHOM IS THIS COURSE DESIGNED?

 

This course is intended for organizations that have not yet implemented a product management function, or who are at the beginning stages.  These organizations typically include:

  • Information Technology Departments facing increasing competition from the outside
  • Other formerly “captive” departments within larger organizations who provide products and services internally to other departments and who are now facing outsourcing.
  • Mature companies in businesses that were formerly protected and that are now competitive
  • Service companies that increasingly must standardize in order to remain competitive
  • Fast growing early companies who are outgrowing the initial “startup” infrastructure

COURSE OUTLINE

 

While the course can be delivered as a standard offering, we recommend adopting it to each organization.  By tailoring the material to build upon existing “good” practices within the company, it reduces the learning curve and level of change management required.  This, in turn, results in faster and more complete adoption.   

 

INTRODUCTION                                                                              

         Objectives and overview of the course

         Expectations

 

OVERVIEW OF THE PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE PROCESS

         Stages of the Product Lifecycle

         The organizational infrastructure

         Top-level roles and responsibilities 

         How this maps into the current environment

 

ORGANIZATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

  • The participants in the product lifecycle management process
    • The Product Manager
    • The Product Team
    • Other functions (e.g., Engineering/Development, Marketing, Support)
  • Charter, Roles and Responsibilities for each
  • Key interfaces among the functions
  • Contrasting Product Management with complementary and potentially overlapping functions.

EXERCISE: Defining the PLM Organizational infrastructure for your organization

 

PRODUCT INCEPTION

         Idea Capture

         Business Need Definition

         Requirements Definition

         The “Whole Product” and why it is important

         The Product Plan

         The role of the Product Manager

EXERECISE: Developing a Product Plan for your product/organization

 

DEVELOPMENT

The Role and Responsibilities of the Product Manager in:

  • Project Initialization
  • Project Planning
  • Product Architecture
  • Development/Vendor Management

LAUNCH

Internal

  • Preparing the organization (e.g., sales, training, support)
  • The role of the product manager  

External

  • Elements of the launch into the marketplace
  • The “Product Introduction Plan” (e.g., The coordinated execution of the announcement, events, public relations, advertising, promotions)
  • Role and responsibilities of the of the PM and other functions

MATURITY

  • Key activities
    • Internal
    • External
  • Maximizing revenue and profits  
  • Role and responsibilities of the of the PM
  • Other participants, roles and responsibilities

RETIREMENT

  • How Retirement is triggered
  • Considerations for retiring products
  • The “Product Obsolescence Plan”
  • Role and Responsibilities of the Product Manager

METRICS

  • Definition
  • Metrics for the Product Manager and the Product Team

         EXERCISE: Choosing the right metrics for your organization

 

NEXT STEPS

         Principles of change management

EXERCISE: Developing your action plan

 

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