“The job of a product manager is to discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible.” – Marty Cagan
Product managers today have to be a jack of all trades. In addition to standard product management duties, they also need to be savvy marketers and shrewd business people scouting the market for the next big thing. Needless to say, this person is an expert juggler.
Advancements in technology have helped and also hurt the product managers’ cause. These folks are expected to stay ahead of the curve on the latest technology available, not only for product offerings, but also for internal use among teams. That, coupled with significant time and resource limitations, make product management an exceptionally challenging role in organizations small and large.
The list of challenges that product managers face on a daily basis is long, and getting longer all the time. However, based on recent studies and feedback from our own clients, there are three core issues that can sabotage product innovation and prevent even the best product managers from doing their jobs effectively.
1. Creating Product Roadmaps without Customer Feedback or Market Research
As a product manager, you are constantly under pressure to develop the right products at the right time. However, if you don’t have the time and resources needed to assess product priorities based on customer feedback and market research then it’s hard to be sure that you are developing anything worthwhile at all until it’s too late.
Without proper research on what the market wants and needs, you also can’t be sure it’s the right time to launch a new product. What does all of this leave you with? A product roadmap based solely on input from senior leaders and other internal stakeholders who may or not be steering your product in the right direction.
2. Tracking Competitor Activities and Market Changes
The people who we’ve found benefit the most from our services are product managers struggling to find time for competitive intelligence – and it’s easy to understand why. Between managing current offerings, developing new ones and everything in between, there is very little time left in a 24-hour day to sift through unfiltered Google Alerts or scour the internet for actionable intelligence.
3. Reactive Tasks vs. Proactive Strategy
Time and resource limitations can significantly hinder product development and innovation if the right tools are not in place to support product managers and their team. If your company relies on the product team for market intelligence, in addition to product management, and day-to-day sales and marketing support there’s no way to effectively track market disruptions and innovations without a technology stack to support them.
Turning Challenges into Opportunities
Ask any product manager and they’ll tell you how important it is to proactively track innovations, and also how hard it is to do with everything else on their plate. The key to building better products, is to stay on top of what your customers are asking for and what the market needs. Without the right tools in place to support market research, product teams are forced to do more guesswork than they would like.
If you provide the market intelligence tools and resources your product manager wants and needs, they can track twice as many competitors, key intelligence topics and stay ahead of the curve on the latest disruptions and innovations in your market. And at the end of the day, the long-term pay off for better product development far outweighs the short-term cost, especially when you implement the right technology stack.