I wrote this blogpost in 52 minutes (stopped the time) - please help me improve it by pointing out grammar, wording.
Nearly all organisations have somebody called “product manager”. The question is - what makes a product manager. A new product is launched for one of two reasons:
Generate Profits / increase absolute contribution = (price - unit cost) x (units sold) - (fixed costs)
Gain Market Share / increase revenue = (price) x (units sold)
Look innovative for M&A / this is a special scenario in which you are betting to sell the company, applies to venture capital and growth companies in particular. Not the focus of this article.
Product management: given a problem - how to solve it
As a product manager you want to achieve either profits or revenue. The product and the features of the product is designed to match these goals. Everything that goes beyond is excess. Which problem is being solved by the features defines the market and is a company strategy decision, not a product management decision. Example: do you want to solve the problem of small and midsize companies, of individuals or of large companies.
Product management maps the features to the customer group chosen by the company strategy, works on the sales forecasts and matching marketing plans. So far, so good.
The problem with product management is that you can essentially iterate until infinite without solving. There is always room for improvement. You can always improve something in the App, change the packaging. This, of course, it is much more comfortable than do the hard work of generating leads and selling the problem because that could lead to failure - a customer saying no.
We are missing the crucial variable that makes the product manager: time.
Ultimately, the product manager is the person that owns the time
From a company perspective, there is certainly a plan (revenue or contribution margin) behind the product launch.
This plan has three components: the price, the units sold and when we start selling the new product. We assume the price and the number of units sold as fixed. What remains is the timeline.
Let's take a company with two product groups: shampoo and face cleaning. The goal is to increase revenue because the company is interested in market share.
That simply means: (units sold) x (price) = revenue. As outlined in the example plan.
Now, obviously, if the product is not launched, then there will be no revenue from that product. Simply because what is not ready cannot be sold. The cost of a delayed launch is 90,000$.
Time is a crucial insight because the amount of features and the technology used are often only limited by time. Time simply translates to money and all trade-offs must be made against the money that is lost when a product is launched late.
In addition, the time spend pondering some features also costs money because the company is paying somebody to do that. This money is no longer there to build the features or to market the features to potential customers. So we loose money by not being able to sell and we loose money by paying the people doing the development.
If you are accountable for the lost revenue because of the late launch, than you are the product manager. If you are not accountable towards that revenue, than you are not a product manager.
I am the product manager for my blog (without revenue) that’s why I noted the time at the top, so I know how long it takes to launch a new features - this blog post.