Tag Archives: Product Management

Product Management Is Not User Experience

Let’s get one thing clear right away. Product management and user experience (UX) are both necessary roles in pretty much any company that creates products. But they are different. This is a bit personal for me, since I was a UX practitioner for many years before transitioning into product management. It was a natural transition for me, and my UX experience and skills served me well in product management. Many friends and colleagues during my UX days are now in product management roles or are considering them.

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What Olive Garden Can Teach B-to-B Companies About Innovation

Olive Garden – the casual Italian dining chain – recently ran a one-day promotion offering free babysitting to parents. By partnering with My Gyms – a chain of gymnastics facilities for children – the restaurant allowed parents to drop their kids off at My Gyms, enjoy a child-free dinner at Olive Garden and show their restaurant receipt at the gym when they picked up their kids. Why would Olive Garden do this? Obviously, the company hoped that free babysitting would attract more customers – particularly those who wouldn’t otherwise have been customers. (I’ll admit that, as a parent of small children and someone who rarely eats at Olive Garden, I wondered whether the prospect of free babysitting would entice me to visit.) This is a great example of identifying hurdles in the buying process – and leveraging a partnership to address them – to open up a potential new customer segment.

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And the Award for Best Solution Type Goes To…

Here in Southern California, where the Hollywood sign serves as a tourist landmark and a symbolic gateway to the entertainment industry, it’s awards season – specifically, Oscars season. Before the ceremony, there was much promotion, speculation and hand-wringing about the best Hollywood players and their roles. Whether someone is nominated for best actor, best supporting actress, or best director, editor or cinematographer, each category has its own merit, and each is needed to create a successful movie. The glitz and glamor of the entertainment industry are rarely found in the b-to-b world. But as in the entertainment industry, multiple categories are important, especially in the context of the solution portfolio. The SiriusDecisions Solution Model defines four b-to-b offering types:

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Where Should Product Management Report?

“We’re hoping you can settle this debate for us. Where should product management sit on the org chart? Who should it report to?” Aah, the old org structure question. This is an easy one to answer: Product management should report to a product management executive. Sure, it’s a flippant answer, but it makes an important point. Would you have salespeople report to your CTO? Would you have developers report to your CSO? Would you have accountants report to your VP of human resources? No. Then why would you have a product manager report to anyone but a product management executive?

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What You Need to Know About Aligning Innovation With Strategy

Last year, we released our Innovation Strategy Framework to help organizations invest in the right types of innovation to support their growth strategy. The Innovation Strategy Framework was built on extensive research, and we’ve continued to collect data on how companies approach their innovation investment strategies. If you haven’t yet participated, please take our short four-question survey — even if you’ve never heard of the Innovation Strategy Framework before, you’ll be able to respond and see how your organization compares to others. While data collection is still in process, we wanted to share a few interesting insights which have come out of the preliminary results.

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Which Bundle Is Right for You?

Some bundles are too small. Some bundles are too big. This one is just right! Many organizations are working toward simplifying their product lines by offering bundles, as opposed to a long list of options that buyers must choose from. Sellers do this for a number of reasons. First, it may help gain share of wallet, since bundles provide value for buyers, ideally by offering components together at a lower price. Second, bundles help buyers chose the correct level of offering, especially if the offering is new and buyers don’t know exactly what they need to purchase. The question is: What is the best way to construct a bundle without leaving money on the table or offering over-featured bundles to customers who really just want the bare minimum?

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What is Marketing to do When Product Goes Agile?

There’s a scene playing out in lots of offices right now. Product management and product development have declared they are “going agile.” Marketing’s reaction is usually confusion (“What does this mean for us?"), though sometimes it can be intentional ignorance (“Won’t impact us, don’t worry about it”) or even active resistance (“It’s probably going to be bad for us, so let’s put a stop to it”). The reaction depends particularly on how the organization has implemented or is planning on implementing agile and whether the rollout impacts marketing processes. (Note that we’re talking here about using agile product development approaches, not about “agile marketing,” a related concept that involves applying principles of agile to marketing activities themselves. We’ll cover that in a future blog post.) Agile is usually focused on product delivery, so marketing is more of an interested bystander than an active participant, often eliciting comments like:

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Should You Move from Products to Solutions?

Moving from products to solutions is a strategic priority for many organizations, and how to make the switch is an issue we commonly advise clients on. Often, organizations’ reasons for prioritizing a switch to solutions are strategic (e.g. a desire to be perceived as a trusted adviser – not just a supplier – to customers). However, usually there is also a financial driver. By their nature, solutions are likely to be larger deals that are sold to higher levels within an organization. They often help establish and keep longer-term customer relationships, and can be much more profitable than product deals. For companies that have grown by mergers and acquisition (M&A), increasing cross-sell and upsell is usually core to their M&A rationale and their overall corporate strategy. So, what's wrong with moving from products to solutions?

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What’s Your Solution Type?

As b-to-b organizations have moved to solutions over the past several years, SiriusDecisions has rolled out a solution model to clarify the meaning of “solution” and describe the different approaches to solution implementation and marketing. The model describes the following types of b-to-b offerings:

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Agile Is Not a Product Management Framework

When we ask clients about their new-product innovation and go-to-market process, they often respond with: "We use agile." There's just one problem: Agile isn't a process for product management. It's a method for product development. Whether you're using agile, waterfall, some combination (Scrummerfall? Iterative water-kanban?) or something else entirely, you need a process for product management.

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