Simple Product Management Planning Process

Scaling the product management planning process is a real challenge as the startup goes from idea stage to early stage to growth stage. At first, the entrepreneur guides all product functions. Then, there are too many different pieces and a product management group convenes on a regular basis to plan and curate functionality. Finally, product management becomes it’s own team (initially a team of one) and grows from there. Naturally, more process is required as the company grows.

Here’s an example product management planning process:

  • Create a simple Google Spreadsheet with sheets for different constituencies
  • Solicit requests from sales, marketing, services, support, client advocates, product management, and engineering in individual sheets
  • Review the customer idea exchange and take the top 10 most popular items and 20 other items that have the most bang-for-the-buck and add them to a new sheet
  • Analyze trends from the 100 most recent support tickets and confirm the big ones are in the Google Spreadsheet
  • Categorize every item based on priority (low, medium, high) and difficulty (low, medium, high)
  • Get a group of stakeholders together, no more than five people, and debate everything that’s been assembled and decide on the items for the next quarter
  • Share the quarterly roadmap with the team and ensure alignment
  • Repeat each quarter

Start with a simple product management process and expand it from there always considering the balance between moving fast and making the best decisions possible.

What else? What are some more thoughts on a simple product management planning process?

2 thoughts on “Simple Product Management Planning Process

  1. David,

    Purely tactical question here.

    I’m curious as to the rationale behind separate sheets for each functional area? In the past, I’ve added the functional area/stakeholders as separate columns in a single sheet.

    The benefit is that you can avoid redundant requests from different departments.

    Is the idea to provide a focused view of the “asks” from each department without influence from the other departments?

    Thanks,
    Felix

    • We did separate sheets for each department as they were quite lengthy with ideas and we wanted the one that was the actual priority items to be clean and easy scanned

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