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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

July - 2008 - issue > Technology

Product Management: The Key to Success of Your Product

Sabapathy Narayanan
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Sabapathy Narayanan
Industry leaders claim 80-90 percent of the product releases are failures as they don’t meet their anticipated goals. This may or may not be true, but the reality cannot be far off. Countless release cycles are wasted on products that are either not useful or not usable and these releases are mainly ill conceived. There are many reasons for these and one of them definitely is the lack of product management. This is precisely what is addressed here.

Most of the product companies do not realize the need or value for a full time resource in a product management role. Reasons commonly attributed to this are the ones of convenience, like product manager’s responsibilities are fulfilled by the existing staff that are so close to the customers that they don’t need a product manager inserted into the relationship. It is not realized that this closeness will result in developing a product that is important to a few customers, instead of what might be most important to the organization’s vision of the product.

There are several symptoms that indicate the need for having a product manager. These symptoms reach deeper than the defects and bugs that one encounters, like the product takes a lot of work to fit into existing IT ecosystem, it requires hours of explanation before the customer is comfortable about it, parts of the product are common-people aversive, active user base for the product shrinks faster than the revenue, consistently missing the target of release dates, chasing opportunities that look like a fit and do not focus on a defined target, and sales requests being directed to engineering team leading to unplanned features added to the product.

These things simply mean that the product needs to be rebuilt and restructured before it can be successful and be profitably sold in a broader market. This stripped-out situation can be avoided with a clearly defined Product Management role.

While the need for a product manager cannot be over-stressed further, but still the role of a product manager is an ill-defined one in software development today.

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