Developing and maintaining the most successful software for business purposes is always challenging — even if you have an experienced team, a unique idea and great tools. In order to deal with challenges, companies adopt reliable IT product management strategies. Learn more.
What is IT product management?
Product management in IT is the process of overseeing a digital product (a piece of software, application, website etc.) from the very first step of creation to the moment of getting some feedback about the products’ performance after its initial launch. The important elements of product management are:
- product development — process focused on gathering requirements, designing the product, developing it and testing,
- product marketing — the main goal of product marketing is to properly drive the demand and usage of the product. It is the process of bringing the product on the market.
Each product goes through certain stages of the IT product life cycle which are: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. In the first stage, the company’s vision becomes an actual product (in the process of application/website development). Then, in a growth phase, the product grows. Sometimes, if the demand for your product is very high, you need to scale up your solution, to ensure the best possible performance. In the maturity stage, digital product can be considered profitable. You may also expect a rise of the competition and your share in the market can be reduced. Finally, the product reaches the final stage — decline. It is when your product no longer generates enough of the profit. It can happen because of lack of customers interest, but also because of the high competition.
As described lifecycle is common to the majority of IT products, the best of them can maintain the maturity phase for quite some time — for years or even decades — before they eventually decline. In order to achieve that, you have to come up with a truly unique product and carefully plan your product management strategy.
Customer feedback as a crucial component of product management process
The product management process itself is very complex and it consists of many components. One of the essential components is customer feedback. It is hard to imagine creating a digital product like a website or application, without client present through the entire product development and lifecycle. Customer should validate the product and provide the development team with feedback. Such a cooperation often allows tech team to identify some challenges and problems early in the development process, so they could be fixed right away.
Important aspects of product management in IT industry for customers
Amazing digital products are created, when developers and visionaries work side-by-side, constantly provide each other with feedback and cooperate. In general, it is a standard in all types of IT companies to include clients in the development process. In reality, a good enough level of communication is quite difficult to obtain. The best way to deliver an IT product is to have a product manager in IT company, who will communicate with customer and make sure, that detailed feedback will reach the development team.
There are some aspects of an IT product management process that are particularly important for clients.
Clear IT product lifecycle
Customers should be aware of what an IT product lifecycle actually is and how long probably will each phase of their product lifecycle last (that is the thing that companies are usually trying to forecast to assess the investment). Product manager in an IT company can simply keep customers informed about the lifecycle of the product, but we prefer to have our customers engaged in the product management process, so they can be active participators and stay in control of their vision and product.
Access to project details
All parties engaged in the process should have access to the important information regarding development. By “important information” we don’t only mean requirements for a specific digital product, but also the strategy for the product and any crucial data that a client could find useful — a great example is the product roadmap. In Soft Gorillas we make sure that our customers are fully informed about the development process and anything that is related to the product.
Smooth communication and collaboration between customer and development team
When all parties enter a project with an assumption that customer will actively participate in the work, the right communication strategy has to be established. Today, there are many channels that can be leveraged to exchange information (mail, phone, chat applications etc.). Selecting the right tools is crucial for the efficiency of the project. In our projects we use Zoho solutions to improve communication, as well as applications such as Slack etc. They allow our experts to send updates about the product development regularly, share files and consult problems or changes on the project in a matter of seconds or minutes.
Transparency through all the development stages
Delays may happen on the project as new challenges occur. In fact, delays happen in the majority of cases in all IT companies. We deliver highly customized solutions and requirements often change during the development, when customers ask us about some new functionalities they would like to add to their websites and applications. The ways of dealing with such situations should be planned in product management strategy. Transparency through the development process is crucial for customers satisfaction, so our product managers keep clients updated on anything that happens on the project.
Responsibilities of the product manager in IT company
The expert that is being in charge of product management is a product manager. He has a very responsible role, as he manages the entire product development process and the team of professionals that work for the product’s success (designers, developers, engineers etc.). Product management specialist is a sort of middleman between customer and tech team that takes care of development.
Product manager is in charge of developing product strategy (the scope, roadmap, KPIs etc.). To do so, he has to understand the customer’s vision entirely. Additionally, he has to be aware of a market situation in certain industry. Competition has to be assessed and the market’s trend identified, before a development process starts.
During the project, a product manager in an IT company acts as an intermediary between client and developers. He provides a client with information about progress on the project, and gives a tech team feedback from a customer.
Start an IT project with our team
Do you need an application or a website for your company? With experienced product manager from Soft Gorillas, you will be kept informed about both successes and challenges on the project. You will be able to actively participate in product development. We make sure, that your digital product will stay in a maturity phase for as long as it is possible. Checkout our portfolio and technologies we leverage on a daily basis.