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Product Management :: Product Marketing


12 June, 2020

Product Managers: Now, Next, Future

Steve Johnson, one of the respected voices in Product Management, cleans up some of the confusion about product roles and titles in Product Management. He admits that he (like me) is fan of  the “product management triad” - a product or portfolio team responsible for strategic planning, release planning, and launch planning. Here's the link to the particular post and full description of these roles

Title Scope Comment
Product Strategy Manager Future Evaluates and prioritizes future products and the portfolio
Product Owner1 Next Focuses on what’s next in terms of features and product options
Product Marketing Manager2 Now Focuses on products that are currently available

1 Steve prefers Product Planning Manager - yuk!

2 Steve prefers Product Growth Manager - yuk!

I do like the time box approach to the focus of each of these roles. Of course, this is simplified. It's not as if the Product Strategy Manager slurps espressos all day and pays no attention to the last quarter's sales figures or the Product Marketing Manager isn't constantly assessing the competition's capabilities and figuring out how to 'out-product' their offerings.


I would also recommend studying this Product Taxonomy from Product Focus (providers of product management training and resources - and one of the sponsors of the Cambridge Product Management Network).


Here's my take on 'Who owns what' which dovetails with Product Strategy vs Product Owner vs Product Marketing

Portfolio - owned by Product Strategy Manager   

Responsible for managing the portfolio. He / She isn't the only decision maker. This is best managed by Product Investment Committee - this is a beast in its own right - but this has representation from Sales, Marketing, Product, Engineering, Research plus some financial modelling expertise.

The Strategy Manager often takes on the long-term management of the core platform, as moving the platform forward requires care and evaluation, because key decisions may negatively impact capability of the products that are built on top of the core platform. ie mods to the core platform are expensive and time-consuming to get right. 


Propositions - owned by Product Marketing

This is the realm of product marketing. Product Strategy may be involved if there is cross-subsidisation of prices between products (or product lines) and platforms.

This area gets super complicated when propositions vary between countries / region of the world. Different countries may provide functionality for free (or charge for free functionality!) for a whole variety of valid reasons (local commercial agreements, tax or legal reasons, history & politics, how core product development costs are charged to territories). This is matter is worthy of another blog post or even a book!


Products - owned by Product Owners

When considered in a portfolio, this is the domain of product owners or, if the product is significant enough, a manager in their own right.