Product Management for the Internet of Things


In this talk from ProductTank San Francisco, I walk you through the IoT Decision Framework I developed to tackle the complexity of IoT products. The framework provides a structured way to organize your product strategy, identify gaps, and build your IoT roadmap.

The IoT Decision Framework

The greatest challenge of managing an IoT solution is that there are five layers in the IoT product stack, and all the normal product management decisions need to be made at each layer. These five layers are:

  1. Devices/Hardware
  2. Embedded software
  3. Communications
  4. Cloud platform
  5. Applications

To help tackle this complexity, my IoT Decision Framework includes a canvas for each layer of the stack. Each canvas includes the following 6 Decision Areas:

  1. Business
  2. Technology
  3. UX
  4. Data
  5. Security
  6. Standards & Regulations

Through the Framework, the challenges and opportunities at each layer are highlighted from a Product Management perspective. It also emphasizes that the decisions you make within each layer and within each Decision Area will affect the decisions you need to make in other layers and Decision Areas. Most likely, you’ll need to iterate several times across the whole stack and all Decision Areas before you reach a solution that makes sense and is consistent!

Most importantly though, Product Managers should use the Framework to collaborate with other departments to develop a common understanding of what the product will be.

Wrapping Up

  • IoT Product Management is complex because decisions need to be made at each of the five layers of the IoT product stack.
  • The IoT Decision Framework can help manage this complexity, by prompting and organizing the decisions that need to be made within each layer.
  • Product Managers should work collaboratively with other departments to use the Framework, and should iterate several times across all layers of the stack until a consistent solution is reached.


Enterprise software Product Manager. Author of A real-world guide to IoT Product Management. Twitter: @delizalde

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