The Product Management Bible
Product management is a discipline that requires a balanced approach between strategy, creativity, and data analysis. Every product manager needs a set of tools, methodologies, and techniques to successfully guide the product lifecycle, from idea to implementation, to growth, and finally to market withdrawal. Here is a collection of essential methods, a veritable “Product Management Bible,” that every product manager should have in his or her arsenal.
In the complex and increasingly dynamic world of product management, it is critically important to have a reliable compass. Whether you are launching a new product to market or trying to improve an existing product, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the different methodologies that can help you navigate the process.
In this article you will find a summary of 75 different product management methodologies. Each of these techniques provides a different set of tools, techniques, and perspectives that can help you achieve your goals.
Product planning and strategy
- Product roadmapping: strategic planning that outlines product goals and milestones over time.
- SWOT analysis: a tool for assessing a product’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Product life cycle management (PLM): method for managing the entire life cycle of a product.
- Blue Ocean Strategy: strategy to create new market space by making competitors irrelevant.
- Product-Market Matrix (Ansoff): tool to identify and evaluate growth options through existing or new products in existing or new markets.
- Product Differentiation: strategy to distinguish product from competitors through unique characteristics.
- Time to Market (TTM): time period required to go from product concept to market launch.
- Go-to-Market Strategy: plan that describes how a company intends to sell the product to customers.
Management and development methodologies
- Feature Prioritization: technique for determining which features to develop and launch first.
- Scrum: agile method for working iteratively and incrementally, with short cycles called “sprints.”
- Kanban method: system for reducing waste and improving efficiency through a visual card system.
- Lean method: approach to reduce waste and increase efficiency, emphasizing customer value creation.
- Agile: approach that emphasizes rapid response to change, collaboration, and incremental delivery of value.
- Feature Driven Development (FDD): agile development approach that focuses on building features.
- OKR (Objectives and Key Results): method of establishing and tracking objectives and their key outcomes.
- Theory of Restrictions (TOC): methodology that identifies restrictions that prevent the goal from being achieved and focuses on improving that restriction.
- Kaizen: Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement in all areas of the company and product.
Design and user experience
- Rapid prototyping: technique for quickly creating a model of the product to test and refine ideas.
- Design thinking: process for understanding the user, challenging assumptions and redefining problems for the purpose of identifying non-obvious solutions.
- User Experience(UX) Design: product design practice focused on user interaction and experience.
- User Interface (UI) Design: process of designing user interfaces to make them easy to use and attractive.
- Design Sprint: rapid design methodology to answer critical business questions through design, prototyping and testing of ideas.
- Heuristic Evaluation: usability evaluation method in which experts evaluate a product’s user interface.
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT): testing phase in which end users test whether the system meets their needs and expectations.
- Story Mapping: a visualization technique that helps understand product functionality from the user’s point of view.
Market research and analysis
- Stakeholder Analysis: technique to identify and understand the needs and expectations of stakeholders.
- Voice of the Customer (VoC): method of collecting and analyzing customer feedback to guide product development.
- Competitive Analysis: process of identifying and evaluating competing products or services.
- Product Market Fit: process of iterating a product until it effectively meets the needs of a well-defined market.
- Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD): theory that proposes focusing on “jobs” that customers are looking to do, rather than on the customers themselves.
- Persona Development: technique for creating detailed user profiles to guide product design and development.
- Behavioral Segmentation: practice of grouping customers based on their buying behavior, product use, etc.
- Ethnographic Research: qualitative research method in which product use is studied in a natural context.
Marketing and growth
- A/B testing: comparative testing method in which two versions of a page or other product element are compared.
- Product portfolio management: process of managing multiple products simultaneously to optimize profits and efficiency.
- Agile Marketing: application of agile principles to marketing to respond quickly to changes and focus on delivering value to the customer.
- Growth Hacking: practice that focuses on using creative, low-cost marketing strategies to grow the business.
- Product Storytelling: use of narratives to communicate product value to customers.
- Customer Journey Mapping: visualizing the processes a customer goes through to achieve a goal with the product.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): customer satisfaction index based on a single question, “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”
- MVP (Minimum Viable Product): version of the product with the minimum functionality needed to capture user feedback.
- Kano Model: model for understanding customer preferences and satisfaction with various product features.
- Disruptive Innovation: innovation that creates a new market and value network, possibly disrupting existing markets and value networks.
- Incremental Innovation: innovation that makes improvements to existing products, services or processes.
- Frugal Innovation: approach that aims to reduce the complexity and cost of a product.
- Crowdsourcing: process of gathering ideas, feedback or input from a large community.
- Co-creation: practice of involving customers or other stakeholders in the product development process.
Business Model and Pricing
- Pricing Methods: various strategies used to determine the selling price of a product.
- Business Model Canvas: strategic tool used to visualize, define and design business models.
- Value Proposition Canvas: tool for understanding customers and creating products that meet their needs.
- Psychological Princing: pricing approach that considers the psychology of pricing and not just economics.
- Servitization: transformation of a company from a product manufacturer to a service provider.
- Life Cycle Costing: consideration of the total cost of owning a product throughout its life cycle.
- Total Quality Management (TQM): approach to quality management with the goal of continuously improving the quality of all processes, products and services.
- Six Sigma: quality management method that aims to reduce variability in production processes.
- Triz: problem-solving methodology that seeks to identify and resolve contradictions.
- Smoke Test: high-level testing to determine whether the basic functions of a product or software are working properly.
- Backlog Grooming (or Refinement): practice of reviewing and updating the product backlog.
Performance and Benchmarking
- Benchmarking: practice of comparing a company’s product, services or processes with those of top competitors or industry leaders.
- Gap Analysis: technique of evaluating the differences between current and desired performance.
Methodologies from Strategy Consulting
- BCG Matrix (Boston Consulting Group): this strategic analysis tool ranks a company’s business units by their market share and market growth rate. It helps identify areas in which to invest, divest, or maintain the status quo.
- GE-McKinsey Matrix (McKinsey & Company): a more sophisticated version of the BCG Matrix, takes into account more factors such as the competitive strength of the business unit and the attractiveness of the industry.
- 7S Framework (McKinsey & Company): this model analyzes organizational effectiveness by considering seven key elements: strategy, structure, systems, style, staff, competencies and shared values.
- Five Forces Analysis (Michael Porter – Harvard Business School): although not developed by a consulting firm, it is frequently used by them. This model analyzes five competitive forces that determine the attractiveness of an industry: the threat of new entrants, the threat of substitute products, the bargaining power of suppliers, the bargaining power of customers, and rivalry among existing competitors.
- Value Chain Analysis (Michael Porter – Harvard Business School): another popular tool among consulting firms, value chain analysis divides a company into ‘primary activities’ and ‘supporting activities’ to identify where value is created and how it can be optimized.
- Growth Share Matrix (Boston Consulting Group): similar to the BCG Matrix, this tool ranks a company’s products or business units according to their ability to generate cash and their growth potential.
- Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan and Norton – Harvard Business School): a performance management framework that balances financial and non-financial measures to provide a comprehensive view of a company’s performance.
- Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim and Mauborgne – INSEAD): this strategy proposes to create new market space (or “ocean blue”) instead of competing in existing saturated markets (or “ocean red”).
- ADKAR Model (Prosci): a change management framework that focuses on five change objectives: awareness, desire, knowledge, skill and reinforcement.
- Business Model Canvas (Strategyzer): although not strictly related to a consulting firm, this tool is widely used in the industry to map and innovate existing business models or create new ones.
- Scenario Planning (Shell): originally developed by Shell in the 1970s, this tool is used to plan various future scenarios and develop strategies to deal with them.
- Ansoff Matrix (Igor Ansoff): although not developed by a consulting firm, the Ansoff Matrix is commonly used to determine growth opportunities through existing or new products in existing or new markets.
- AI Transformation Playbook (Andrew Ng): guides organizations through creating an artificial intelligence strategy, including selecting AI projects, training AI teams, providing AI training to non-technical employees, and more.
- Operating Model Design (Deloitte): this framework helps organizations define how they should function to execute their strategy, including process design, organizational structure, required skills, and supported technologies.
- Risk Management Framework (Ernst & Young): this methodology helps companies identify, assess and manage risks to mitigate the negative impact on their business objectives.
We explored 75 different product management methodologies. While some methodologies focus on the product development phase, others address the implementation of the product in the marketplace. Some are better suited for start-ups, while others are better suited for large companies. Choosing the right methodology will depend on your specific needs, available resources, and the nature of your product. Remember, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to product management.
The key to success is to choose the methodology that best aligns with your product vision, your organization and your target market.
- Cannibalization: methodology to describe the scenario where a new product or product line takes sales away from an existing product or product line.
- MECE principle: useful in situations where it is necessary to divide a set of elements into distinct and exhaustive categories.
- Minimum Lovable Product (MLP): a product that has been stripped down to its minimum essential components to deliver a positive user experience, while being sufficiently appealing to generate revenue.
- The Eisenhower Matrix: a methodology to rank topics by urgency and importance.
- SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound Goals.