6 Key Concepts to Master Digital Product Management
Written by Nevin DeCroo on February 14, 2023
Great technological ideas exist all around us. Each has the capability to turn into a wonderful product that could disrupt an industry and create lasting change. Unfortunately, ideal digital product management is pretty rare.
The difference between successful products and those that remain ideas without any momentum lies in execution. The people and companies who are able to develop supportive processes that churn out value are those who will last long enough to make a positive impact.
Let’s dive into six key ways you can optimize your digital product management and take your business to the next level!
1. Understand Your Users
After all, the most important thing is that you build something your users or customers actually find value in.
Conduct user research before building a product. Understand your users’ needs and challenges and look for lines along which you could solve their problems with your capabilities and expertise.
Another fun way to do this is to create user personas that give direction to your development. Make up a fictitious person who has the qualities (personality and behavior) of your larger target audience. Think through your persona’s point of view and make decisions accordingly. This way, your product and all of its functions will be geared towards delighting the user
2. Define a Clear Product Vision
If you are not already familiar with the writings of Simon Sinek, his groundbreaking idea is that the businesses that find the most success are those that are organized around a purpose. A company that embodies a cause in all they do and produce will attract positive attention and gather a loyal crowd of supporters.
Before anything else, gain clarity on what it is that you want your company to do. Not in terms of products but rather in terms of the change or mission you wish to advance. People love to support a good cause.
To ensure consistency, all the employees have to be on board as well. The work of every person on a team can be enhanced if it is fueled by a passion for the mission. The frame of mind they’re in as they do their work will drastically affect the quality of their work as well as their enjoyment in doing so.
3. Prioritize Features
Of course, the actual product cannot be overlooked! Informed with user feedback and motivated by a purpose, now is the time to think about how you can tailor your product.
Start small. A product becomes great by effectively solving a pressing problem and expanding only as necessary. Apps with amazing functionality to start are impressive, but they might overshoot their core value proposition.
Begin with what’s most important to your users. Over time, you can add features and adjust as markets change or new functions become important.
4. Collaborate with Cross-Functional Teams
Work closely with teams such as design, engineering, and marketing to ensure that your product is being built and marketed effectively.
There is always value in utilizing different points of view! Consult with your team, even those who may not be directly involved in the project at hand. You never know when the finance guy might have a brilliant idea for a product delivery!
5. Monitor and Measure Performance
You can only improve what you measure. Is that how the saying goes?
Use analytics and metrics to track the performance of your product. Then, use this data to make informed decisions about what to improve and what to build next.
The metrics you decide to keep tabs on will likely be highly specific to what your product is. Nevertheless, focusing on the number of users and monthly recurring revenue are typically good starting points. (YCombinator offers good insights about relevant metrics in this video!)
6. Be Agile
Things change. Trends happen. Excellent digital product management involves a high degree of flexibility. The faster and more seamlessly you can shift to meet demands and interests of the market, the better off you’ll be.
Be adaptable to change, as the digital landscape is constantly evolving and customer needs can shift quickly.
Honestly, this is more of a mindset than anything else. Fall in love with solving the problem, not your particular solution!
Mastering Digital Product Management
Excellence in digital product management doesn’t have to be complex. Use the above steps to keep it simple and focus on what’s important.
Remember, your people and their mindset are your biggest assets. They are on the frontlines of product development and control the direction of your products. Invest in your people. It will lead you to great things.