My experience with Product Management has been one of trying to take the best ideas, and best practices, and applying them to each aspect of my job. It has involved lots of hard work. Yet with those top ideas and hard work, it seems as if it remains just as difficult to achieve results each time. With each time, for each release, with each marketing campaign, the results seem to have been just as vulnerable to failure.
Some of this ongoing difficulty is no doubt due to the downside of the flexibility I so prize. I have found that successful Product Management requires a generous portion of flexibility as a Product Manager moves from one product to another, and from company to company. Without the flexibility to adapt methods and processes to each new situation, Product Management becomes an exercise in forcing one’s will on a very unwilling organization. The negative momentum that results from such forcing can derail the results of a Product Manager’s most rigorous efforts.
Over the years I have gained experience with different products and organizations, and seen successes and failures through several attempts to help build flourishing businesses around software products. I have come to realize that there is a whole aspect to successful Product Management that is separate from, and in addition to, the many piece-meal strategies and tactics that I employ as a Product Manager. That aspect is the concept of a program approach to Product Management.
I have the Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity industry, the industry for the product I currently manage, to thank for introducing me to the program approach. The leading thinkers in Business Continuity Management advocate taking a program approach. Such an approach involves an ongoing effort that builds continuously on the previous years’ efforts.
By following a program approach, a Product Manager can tie together all the necessary and disparate efforts — product design and development, marketing, sales, delivery and service –- into a unified whole. By driving a program, a Product Manager can overcome some of the barriers to reaching common and very important Product Management goals.
Read on for an introduction to the program approach to Product Management.
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