Watch this video or read on for key highlights from the talk.
Partho says he hasn’t found many talks or presentations that focus on growth in product management, but he always gets lots of questions around it. His talk is aimed at founders, product leaders, growth product managers and product managers struggling with product growth.
Our jobs should always be about evolving and growing our product, he says, because we want people to use our product and get value out of it.
Growth in product management means product adoption and continuous market/fit, he says. But he’s seen a disturbing trend in that it’s become very common to split out growth product management. He thinks this may make sense for some large businesses, but it happens too quickly in many organisations and it comes with a lot of pitfalls.
Types of product manager – Growth product managers vs feature product managers
You can read a lot about the rise of the growth product manager, says Partho. He recommends tech career development platform Reforge as a good source of knowledge that identifies four types of product managers and the work they do:
- feature work, core PM
- growth work, growth PM
- product market/fit expansion, innovation PM
- scaling work, platform PM
But we forget that, as product managers, we’re supposed to own and think about the entire product lifecycle. The product experience and product adoption suffers if these roles are split up too early.
Splitting product management into growth and features can often seem like the best place to start for product leaders. But in reality this causes a split in one key aspect – who owns and takes care of product adoption. This split can mean that the feature PM doesn’t have to care about or be accountable for initial and continuous adoption and usage metrics. The growth product people are left with driving adoption. This is bad product management because all product managers should think about demand and usage during discovery.
Good vs bad growth product management
In good growth product management there’s an even split between acquisition and retention. There is constant end-to-end thinking about the product and its lifecycle, and there is a lot of data-driven testing and experimentation. There are also constant debates about market fit, metrics and usage patterns and a focus on constant iterative and fast learning.
Adoption goals shouldn’t be handed to a growth PM team, says Partho. Instead they should be finding ways to increase adoption, create vitality and engagement and monetise features.
He recommends that they focus on growth loops rather than funnels. He says product departments barely talk about growth loops but growth teams always talk about them.
Growth product management and product-led growth
We see that lots of companies want to adopt product-led growth (PLG), in reaction to competition, fear, or growth goals. Product growth can unlock PLG, says Partho, but it can’t do it if it’s simply cleaning up problems of the past. Partho shares a PLG flywheel to explain why. Great product growth departments focus on activation, engagement, communication, monetisation and billing, he says.
Partho says product adoption is the secret to churn that no one talks about.But it requires a team to focus on it all the time. It’s not one person’s problem but requires cross-functional work.
The best models have a team that continuously drives adoption but only one person is accountable, he says. He believes the product manager should be accountable for ensuring adoption metrics are created and focused on when going live; the product designer create guides and onboarding to aid product adoption; the product marketing manager drives adoption both during and post launch; and the growth product manager is responsible for monetising and driving virality, usage, and engagement.
Product adoption still takes a team, make sure it doesn’t just fall onto product growth teams.
Ensure discovery, experimentation and testing are concepts for all product managers, not just growth product managers.
Think deeply about how you split up your product teams.
Focus on growth loops not funnels.
There’s more where that came from!
Explore more #mtpcon SF+Americas 2022 video content or use our Content A-Z to find even more product management insights.