In this ProductTank San Francisco talk, Jeff Lash (VP & Group Director at SiriusDecisions – acquired by Forrester) gives some insight into high-performance product management teams. Studying high-performance teams is important, but one must understand what the right things to replicate are. His key points include:
- Customer Understanding
- Product Portfolio Investment Decisions
- Product Innovation and Lifecycle Process
- Roles, Responsibilities, and Structure
Effective product management is critical for accelerating growth, but it is something that many organizations are not able to achieve. High performing product management organizations have a thorough, well-followed program to ensure that product managers understand customer needs. Jeff recommends that companies invest in resources such as a central database to create alignment on customer needs and provide upskilling to make sure the program is followed.
Portfolio Investment Decisions
High-performing product management organizations have formal scoring criteria to determine investment decisions. This prevents them from relying on “gut” decisions, and ensures that investment opportunities are in alignment with the organization’s strategy.
Product Innovation and Lifecycle Process
High-performing product management organizations have a product lifecycle process in place that they use for all initiatives. Having such processes in place allows for greater productivity and ensures the teams remain focused on the customer. Proper process documentation and focusing on cross-functional collaboration can help to ensure the lifecycle process is established.
Roles, Responsibilities, and Structure
The best high-performing organizations are aware of the role of the product in their organization, have organization clarity, and ensure proper training for their product managers.
The key takeaways from this talk are that in high-performing product management organizations, product managers have a clear understanding of the customer, they use data to evaluate investments, they have a process they follow daily. And underneath it all, they have guidelines on what being a product manager at that particular company should involve.