The Ultimate Guide to Product Management Frameworks: Which One Should You Use?

In the world of product management, there are many different frameworks and processes. 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 product management frameworks are, 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 phase in-depth but will also provide the best practices for executing each phase effectively.

Product Management Frameworks: Their 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 assist companies to keep their products relevant and delighting 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.

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.

How to Choose a Product Development Framework for You

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 with an emphasis on iterative development and consumer base.

There isn’t a single product development framework that is best for all organizations, but 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.

Prioritization Frameworks to Help You Be a Better Product Manager

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 prioritization 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.

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4 Examples of Effective Product Management Frameworks

Understand your users and fix their problems ASAP

A product manager works with clients to discover their needs. They utilize this knowledge to generate better solutions.

The customer’s perspective is taken into account once more before the development process begins. The manager looks at the solutions to see if they may be improved upon further. Even after concluding that a simple answer has been identified, they do not begin building anything. There is still one more crucial step to take.

Before starting product development, project managers must define success metrics tied to the team’s goal. 

At this point, the solution moves into the development phase. After the product delivers, the teams begin analyzing the success metrics. If the product feature doesn’t meet their expectations, they’ll improve it.

Amazon’s “working backward” method gains increasing popularity

Amazon “works backward” by focusing on the final product, as it begins each new procedure by discussing how consumers will respond. They focus on client reaction, and not on the building.

Product managers promote new products using an internal press release. If they cannot create a simple enough press release announcing its new product, Amazon will rethink its final product.

Amazon requires simple, easy-to-use items, and with those criteria, writing a press release that makes sense without the product should be easy.

Once upper management authorizes a press release, the product team uses it as a roadmap for development.

Typeform’s product delivery balance

Typeform uses two product management frameworks.

The first part is product discovery. The Discovery process identifies difficulties, collaborates solutions, and evaluates solutions experimentally.

The second part focuses on delivery. Once a feature concept clears Discovery, it advances to Delivery.

Typeform’s approach to minimum viable products is unique, as they use many versions. MVP (also known as lean software development) is divided into three phases.

  1. Experimental product – The experimental product provides information quickly. For better time management, the first experimental product planning may be a precaution test.
  2. Existing product – An original product that early users use without incentives. In this phase, the product has basic functionality but may not be fully implemented, the emphasis being put on a human-centered approach. The goal is to collect data and feedback, i.e., user behavior. Typeform performs this to see if the product is worth producing.
  3. Lovable product – The closest to the final product. The customers are intending to sign up for a premium plan and will recommend it to their friends, bringing new customers in. It’s not finished, so there’s room for improvement.

Shopify’s growth architecture helps products thrive

There are several product management frameworks and alignments that Shopify employs across several of its divisions. The product growth framework is the most critical. It aims to promote product acceptance, not merely build it.

There are eight well-known phases in the product growth framework:

  1. Determine your firm’s current stage and the product you’re presently working on before you can begin aligning your company.
  2. Decide what you want to accomplish and set clear goals
  3. Make sure you’re looking at the whole picture if you’re going to build a sales funnel.
  4. Define your metrics so that you can track your progress and see if you’re heading in the right direction.
  5. Set up a system for prioritizing tasks, and get insight from your employees who are working on the software products.
  6. Set your targets, the most important milestones that you have determined to accomplish in the short future.
  7. Execute product growth. Building an effective method for the whole product development process, from concept to delivery, requires tight collaboration between you and the rest of your team.
  8. Set up, cross-functional teams. Everyone on the team should be familiar with all of the necessary qualifications.

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Wrapping Up

Choosing between product management frameworks 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. 

product management frameworks

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