The Ultimate Guide to the Best Product Management Frameworks for Agile Product Discovery

In the world of agile development, there are many different product management frameworks for agile product discovery. Some are more widely recognized than others, but each has its own merits and can be useful in different situations.

After reading this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of what are the best product management frameworks for product discovery, why they exist, and which ones you should use.

What is a product management framework?

Product management frameworks are a set of best practices and guidelines that can be used to manage the entire end-to-end product management process of creating, marketing and distributing a product.

These product management frameworks are typically divided into four phases of the product management process: idea, concept, development, and launch. The ideal product management framework will not only help you identify each stage in-depth but will also provide the best practices for executing each phase effectively.

Relevance and key characteristics

Product management frameworks serve as a collection of procedures for producing new goods or enhancing current product performance, cost, and quality. Frameworks help designers, project managers, and product managers realize business objectives including expanding into new markets.

When so many product management frameworks exist, you need to prioritize features that will align with the market research, sales objectives, and marketing strategy. A suitable structure could boost earnings and profitability.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to adopting product management frameworks.

Advantages of product management frameworks

  1. Keeping up. Product management frameworks help companies to keep their products relevant and delight customers.
  2. Taking advantage of the situation. Product management frameworks assist product design teams in maximizing market possibilities and making satisfied customers.
  3. Making the product more reliable. Using product development frameworks, you may compile a list of considerations and research the industry, cutting down on the likelihood of product failure.

Cons of a product management approach

  1. Riskiness. It is easy to have unreasonable expectations for your product if the quality standards in your framework are incorrect.
  2. Extreme reliance on external forces. You never know what can happen in the course of action. Personal preferences can change, and the quantitative metrics are immediately off, making task success a vague idea.

Methodology and Framework – What’s the Difference?

Framework and methodology are two of the most commonly confused terms.

A methodology is a group of activities and tools for solving a specific type of problem. But, a framework is a set of guidelines that helps you organize your work and helps you think through a problem.

A methodology is usually focused on a particular phase of your work process. A framework can be applied across different phases and projects.

4 Main types of product management frameworks

Strategic frameworks

Strategic product management frameworks use a methodology that helps organizations determine which products to create, what features they should have, and how much time and money each requires.

Prioritization frameworks

A prioritization framework is a set of steps or rules that has to be followed to properly rank and sequence tasks. There are many different types, but two very common ones are the MoSCoW method and the Kano Model, which we will talk about in-depth later on.

Design frameworks

Design frameworks are a way to visualize how all the components of your product will fit together. It can help you plan out your process so that you can execute it efficiently and effectively, identify any gaps in your process and make adjustments as necessary.

Discovery frameworks

The product discovery phase is all about defining the problem that your product or service will solve. This can include things like brainstorming and researching. Discovery frameworks are the processes used to identify solutions for the business needs you have identified.

The most effective product management frameworks for product discovery

So many frameworks exist for the most complex first stages of the product management process. The best product management frameworks guide how to conduct product discovery, product planning and strategy, prioritization, and consistent execution.

Of course, other frameworks in the field of marketing, design, research, and analytics may be needed throughout the product lifecycle. Here are the ones that are most closely related to product management.

Agile product management frameworks for product discovery

Jobs-To-Be-Done

The analysis focuses on the core functional “job” the user is trying to get done. A “job” could be a task that people are trying to do, or a goal or objective they are trying to achieve. It can also be a problem they are trying to resolve.

User Story Mapping

These are brainstorming solutions that are built on user stories. They help you discover project goals. They also summarize what potential users want to achieve by using the product.

HEART

It is primarily used in the field of UX research to define success metrics. Product managers later use this human-centered approach to make informed decisions during the product development process.

Assumption Mapping

The assumption mapping process involves the cross-functional teams exploring their assumptions about the feasibility, viability, and desirability of the new product or service. Once outlined, each assumption is ranked according to its importance and potential risk.

The best product design frameworks

Design thinking

Product design is concerned with how a product looks, feels, and functions. It is a good approach for agile project management.

With a design-thinking approach, you pay attention to how one action affects the rest of the project. It is based on what customers say. It also looks for ways to improve the user experience by solving problems, getting new ideas, and making something new.

Design sprint

The sprint makes it easier for product teams to learn without having to build and launch. The sprint is a five-day process. It uses design, prototyping, and testing a product idea with customers. It is done to set quantitative metrics such as product pricing approach, competitive rivalry, and consumer base. It also helps see if the buyer’s power exceeds the supplier’s power.

agile product management frameworks for product discovery

The best product management frameworks for strategic product planning

A strategic product management framework is a way to assess what is necessary for task success quickly.

A strategic framework is especially helpful for larger companies that want to execute a product strategy across multiple departments. There are many strategic frameworks you can use to create a product strategy. The most common ones are:

Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas helps you visualize how your product makes money. It allows you to think about the business models of your product ideas.

The business model canvas is organized into nine squares. Each represents a different aspect of a business. It is a great tool for making sure your current business can increase revenue.

Minimum Viable Product

The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the product with the least amount of features needed to satisfy early adopters. You may want to consider building an MVP before you build the final version to test user behavior. With it, you do market research by combining personal preferences and sales objectives.

The idea behind an MVP is to test product ideas and measure success metrics. You can do it by releasing a product with just enough features to satisfy early adopters. This will help you avoid building a product with too many overwhelming features. That can buy you, satisfied customers.

Working Backwards

This marketing strategy was invented at Amazon. The development of a product starts with the end goal and works backward to describe the product’s basic features.

Working backward is a way of making sure that the product you are building is useful. You start with the end goal in mind and work backward. You find out what needs to happen to achieve that goal. It is useful when you have a vague idea of what you want to achieve. And it is a great way to make sure your product will solve the problem you’re trying to solve.

The best product management frameworks for prioritization

Prioritization frameworks that work best are the Kano model and the MoSCow framework. They are two ways to prioritize the product backlog. That is the list of features you plan to build with the product.

The Kano model helps you decide what features to include in your MVP.

The MoSCow framework helps you prioritize features and organize them into different categories. This enables you to focus your development efforts on the most important features. The model comes from software engineering and the development of computer systems.

1. Value vs. Complexity

To decide which efforts (such as new features or bug patches) should go first on the roadmap, product teams use the value vs. complexity approach. The product team then assesses each action according to how much value it will add to the product and its level of difficulty to accomplish.

2. Benefit vs. Cost (Weighted Scoring)

Product managers utilize the weighted scoring methodology to prioritize initiatives according to common cost vs benefit criteria. In terms of advantages, the team assigns points for things like “raise revenue,” while in terms of expenses, they assign points for things like “implementation work,” etc. The group can achieve greater total ratings if they prioritize some criteria over others.

3. Kano

The Kano model helps product teams prioritize their work according to which features are most likely to please consumers. The team will assess each venture according to its chance to impress customers as well as its implementation cost. Then, the top priority is given to features with great user satisfaction and affordable price.

4. Buy-a-Feature

The buy-a-feature prioritization approach allows businesses a fun way to prioritize work on products or other activities. The product strategy works by setting pricing for each competing action on your list, giving a group of participants a hypothetical sum of money to spend, and asking them to buy those features they’d most want to see created.

5. Using a Story Map

If you’ve ever wondered what user story mapping is, and how it can be of help to you, here’s how.

The story mapping approach offers product managers a visual idea of how each user narrative adds to the overall product experience. The team utilizes a huge board (or an innovative program) to construct a visual tour of the user’s engagement with the product by brainstorming solutions. They then identify the main actions required and add individual stories beneath them.

When the map is complete, the team has a logical representation of the user experience and can then choose which stories are a high priority and which are low.

6. Eisenhower Matrix

When used correctly, the Eisenhower Matrix may help teams better prioritize their work and make better decisions. In this framework, four squares are drawn, two on top of the other. You’ll use Urgent and Not Urgent for the x-axis and Important and Not Important for the y-axis to indicate urgency. 

This framework provides you with four possibilities: from Important and Urgent, to Unimportant and Not Urgent. You’ll know which of the projects on your list to tackle first once you’ve assigned them to one of these four categories.

7. ICE Scoring

Using the ICE scoring approach, product managers may swiftly assess competing projects by assigning each a score based on three criteria: impact, confidence, and ease. 

ICE scoring helps product teams decide which initiatives to tackle and when. However, it’s less rigorous than weighted scoring.

8. Impact Mapping

Using the impact mapping prioritization methodology, product managers focus first on their high-level strategic goals. The PM then works outward from there, establishing the relevant players who will be engaged, how each character may contribute to the objective, and what the end product will be after you’ve completed.

9. MoSCoW Analysis

The MoSCoW prioritizing structure helps teams manage needs and is widely used to assist stakeholders to understand the relevance of efforts in a certain release.

Group initiatives into four categories, which make up the acronym: M stands for the “must-have” items; S is the “should-haves”; C is the “could-haves” (or nice-to-have projects), and W stands for the “will not have” things judged low importance.

10. RICE Scoring

To assist product teams in prioritizing their product roadmap, the RICE scoring methodology assigns a score to each item based on four different criteria: reach, impact, confidence, and effort.

When the team adds its total scores for all projects across all four criteria, each initiative will receive a single score to weigh its relative worth to the product and the company.

How to choose a product development framework for product discovery?

There are many product development frameworks and processes that people use.

The waterfall or linear process is a systematic, repeatable procedure. The biggest downside of this structure is that you can’t have customer feedback or correct issues until the process is complete.

The dual-track agile methodology is another popular approach that provides constant customer feedback via incremental releases, emphasizing iterative development and a consumer base.

There isn’t a single product development framework that is best for all organizations. Still, if you know what you’re looking for and what will best suit your product process matrix, you should be able to find the right framework for your situation.

StoriesOnBoard

Build better products faster.
Get started with StoriesOnBoard today!

14-day Free Trial. No Credit Card Required.

Wrapping up

Choosing between product management frameworks for product discovery depends on what you need. Where you are in the process, what your objectives are, how your organization is structured and how you work together as a team will all affect which one of the product management frameworks is the best fit for your needs.

The only way to know for sure is to try a few out. Whichever of the product management frameworks you choose, it should be flexible enough to meet your needs and evolve with your changing goals.

You can try a complete product management suite and see if you prefer it to the other product management frameworks.