Do you have a favorite chocolate or ice cream? A lot of effort goes into making that product, researching what the customers are looking for, and bringing it to the market. The same process applies to digital products, i.e., products you use electronically. Think of mobile applications or software programs. This process is called digital product management.
And who is responsible for this? Digital product managers. They are the key resources that decide which features an app should have, its UI/UX, and how it should be launched, maintained, and serviced.
In this article, we will explore the following aspects of digital product management:
- What is digital product management?
- The difference between digital and non-digital product management
- What are the eight stages of digital product management?
What is Digital Product Management?
Digital product management involves the strategic planning, development, and execution of digital products and services. It encompasses market research, product roadmap creation, feature prioritization, and cross-functional collaboration to ensure the successful delivery and ongoing enhancement of digital offerings. The end goal is to get results from the market, including sales, customer acquisition and retention, and brand reputation.
- It is the job of a digital product manager to oversee this entire process, from product conception to launch to after-sales service. As a result, the digital product manager looks after the following tasks:
- Customer, competitor, and market research
- Product roadmap and vision maintenance and development
- Product and customer analysis
- Working with cross-functional teams to deliver products
- Measuring and optimizing product performance
Digital product managers are responsible for collaborating with product teams to identify growth opportunities, prioritize product features, and analyze business results. This cross-functional collaboration enables product managers to get the best results from their respective products.
Digital vs. Non-digital Product Management
In general, digital product services are more data-driven and iterative processes than non-digital product management. Digital product managers also need to have some technical skills, while non-digital product managers do not require the same level of tech expertise. However, the core principles of product management are the same for both digital and non-digital products.
Here are the key differences between digital and non-digital product management.
- Data availability: Digital products generate a lot of data, which you can use to track user behavior and measure product performance. Moreover, you can utilize the same to make informed decisions about product development and improvement. Non-digital products generate less data, so product managers have to rely on other sources of information, such as customer surveys and feedback.
- Speed of iteration: A great thing about digital products is that you can update and change them more easily than non-digital products. This allows product managers to experiment with different features and designs and quickly learn what works and what doesn’t. Non-digital products are typically more difficult to change, so product managers have to be more careful about making changes.
- Customer engagement: Digital products allow for more direct customer engagement. As a digital product manager, you can use social media, email, and other channels to interact with customers and get feedback on their products. This feedback can improve the product and make it more relevant to customers. Non-digital products typically allow for less direct customer engagement.
- Technical skills: Digital product managers need to have some technical skills, such as understanding how to code and how to use analytics tools. This is because they need to be able to communicate with engineers and understand the technical aspects of their products. Non-digital product managers do not typically need to have as many technical skills.
Tasks Common to Both Types of Product Managers
- Comprehending customer pain points, needs, and requirements
- Defining the product, its value proposition, and what it aims to do for the customer
- Determining product strategy
- Developing the go-to-market strategy
- Collaborating with product engineers to ensure the product has the features the target audience is looking for
- Directing sales and marketing efforts and synergizing the two to achieve business objectives
- Own the product roadmap and any subsequent changes to it
Let’s discuss the eight stages of digital product management.
The 8 Stages of Digital Product Management
Digital product management is a structural process comprising eight stages, each laying the foundation for the next stage. This is why it is also executed and measured in steps.
The reason why digital product managers follow a structured approach is that it helps save time and money. But most importantly, it ensures that your product meets customer expectations and, in some cases, even surpasses them. This means that your product satisfies the customer.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss the eight stages of digital product management.
Customer Analysis and Market Research
This is the first and most critical stage of product management. It is what lays the basis for all that follows. It involves learning as much as possible about your ideal customer profile (ICP) and competitive landscape. All products, whether digital or non-digital, require an in-depth customer analysis.
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself during this stage:
- Who are your customers?
- What are their pain points?
- How will your product resolve its problem statement(s)?
- What are your competitors doing?
This is the stage where you sketch and create a wireframe to convey the product’s overall idea. Detailed schemas help organize the team and put things into context, supporting the entire digital product management team to perform their tasks more effectively.
Planning and Prioritizing
During the planning and prioritizing stage, a digital product manager is supposed to make sure that the project has all the necessary resources. This includes setting up the team and making the relevant tools and technologies available.
For example, if you want to build a cross-platform application using Flutter, make sure that your team has a good Flutter developer on it. Also, ensure that all the other tools (including hardware and software) are available to team members in a timely manner.
Moreover, you should also factor in the timelines at this stage. Determine how much time each team requires to do their job, and their skill sets, and then plan and prioritize accordingly. Try to ensure that the entire product management process remains integrated. Avoid silos at all costs.
A good and visually appealing UI (user interface) is critical to any digital product. User interface (UI) design is the process of designing the interface between a user and a digital product. This includes the look and feel of the product, as well as the way that users interact with it.
The significance of UI design cannot be overstated. It is a vital part of digital product management because it can significantly impact the user experience. A well-designed UI can make a product more user-friendly, enjoyable, and engaging.
Prototyping is the process of creating a working model of a product or service before it is fully developed. This is done to test the product’s functionality, get feedback from users, or simply visualize the product before it is built.
Prototyping is an important stage of the digital product management process because it helps reduce the risk of failure. By prototyping a product, you can test the product’s functionality and get feedback from users before you invest a lot of time and money into developing the product. This can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure that the product meets the needs of your users.
Create a Product Roadmap
A product roadmap is a document that outlines the vision, direction, priorities, and progress of a digital product over time. It is a communication tool that helps align stakeholders and keep everyone on the same page.
Here are a few things you should consider when developing the product roadmap:
- Keep the end user paramount
- Follow an iterative approach
- Communicate with stakeholders on a regular basis
- Keep in mind the entire digital product lifecycle, from conception to launch to retirement
- Make data-driven decisions and be flexible enough to incorporate the necessary changes
Build an MVP
Building an MVP (minimum viable product) is another essential part of the digital product management process. An MVP refers to a product with just enough features to be released to the market and start collecting feedback from users. The goal of an MVP is to learn as quickly as possible whether there is a market for your product and whether it solves a real problem for users.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when building an MVP:
- Focus on the core features: Your MVP should only include the core features essential to solving the problem for your target users.
- Get feedback from users: Once you have released your MVP, it is important to get feedback from users as quickly as possible. This feedback will help you identify what features are working well and what features need to be improved.
- Iterate on the product: Based on the feedback you receive from users, you should iterate on the product development and add new features or improve existing features.
Launch, Maintain, and Support
The last and final stage relates to launching the digital product. Once you launch it, you have to ensure that your team maintains it and offers customer support consistently. Companies that overlook the support and customer service parts have a serious problem retaining customers, which also causes a bad business reputation.
Companies worldwide heavily invest in digital products, be it mobile applications, web applications, or enterprise software. This means that the competition is tough. But the trick is, if you get your digital product management process right, you can beat your competitors.
Are you looking to build a digital product that prioritizes the needs of your target audience? Drop us a line at [email protected] for a free consultation session.