The 7 Main Stages of Product Management Life Cycle

Product management life cycle involves the management of all aspects related to the product, including its development, design, marketing, and sales. Product managers are responsible throughout the product's lifecycle.

Product management life cycle in seven main stages: Idea generation and management, research and analytics, planning, prototyping, validation, delivery, and finally, launch. An effective product management process will help your business goals get achieved much sooner.

In an increasingly competitive market, businesses need to optimize their product management life cycle to maintain a competitive edge.

A high-performing product team is crucial for the success of any business. By streamlining the interactions between different development teams, processes, and systems, you can increase efficiency and make sure that every new product meets your company’s standards.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the seven key steps of the effective product management process of the product management life cycle and how you can implement them to help your company succeed.

What is the product management life cycle?

The product management life cycle involves managing a product from its conception to launch and beyond. It involves the management of all aspects related to the product, including its development, design, marketing, and sales.

It includes adding new features and fixing bugs in an existing product as well as supporting it with a customer service team.

Are product management and product development the same?

There is a major difference between product development and product management, even though they sound the same.

Product teams oversee, among other things, the development teams that build the product itself. 

What are the benefits of using a product management life cycle approach?

It’s easier to focus and make better use of your resources when you break down the product management life cycle into iterative stages. It helps you prioritize the tasks that are most important for that stage of the project.

What’s more, you can be certain that none of the critical steps of the product management life cycle process are missed.

Product manager vs. project manager

Product managers’ and project managers’ jobs are sometimes misconstrued because they overlap. In smaller businesses, the product manager may be the project manager, but in bigger ones, the project manager may have more duties.

There are some differences, though. Product managers are responsible throughout the product’s life cycle. During the concept stage, they undertake market research, develop the original product idea, and promote it internally.

They require decision-maker support and development funds. They manage product marketing, launch, and product discovery and development for the best user experience.

In contrast, project managers oversee the development. They determine the scope, split down tasks, design a roadmap, and supervise implementation.

Product managers oversee the product management life cycle and only intervene when the project manager escalates difficulties. A project manager’s role was traditionally done when the product was ready. Then, marketing and sales would reap the rewards.

The 7 main stages of the product management lifecycle

The creation and maintenance of a successful new product is not only a step-by-step process. Following the agile approach, it can also be iteratively repeated in a series of steps. Over time, new feature ideas, requests, new user groups, etc. may emerge during the product life cycle, which the product evolution has to follow and serve.

1. Idea generation and management

Idea generation and management is the first step in the product management life cycle. The goal of this stage is to generate new ideas for products or services that your company could offer. You also have to define a plan for each idea and decide whether it’s worth pursuing.

A product manager should be able to come up with innovative ideas all the time, and they should know how to sort out which ideas are worth pursuing further. Ideas can come from anything—your own experience, customer feedback, market research, focus groups, and customer needs.

After creating an idea and planning a course of action, you should set the key personas and key user stories for the product. This will help you understand what you’re building and will help you create a better product overall. Key personas are fictional but realistic representations of your target customer groups—think about their needs, goals, desires, and frustrations.

Key user stories are short summaries about how a certain type of user would interact with your product—think about how they might use it in their daily lives or what problems they might encounter during their usage cycle.

Next, idea management is how you generate ideas for a new product or service, and how you manage that same product while it’s being developed. Create key personas and key user stories with the help of StoriesOnBoard to determine what your new product or service should include.

You can use a product management application such as StoriesOnBoard feedback collection mechanism to automate the feedback collection from your clients and users. Story mapping assists in product planning’s discovery stage.

To get the development team moving on feature ideas, you may start a collaborative effort around them. Publish a product roadmap to help prioritize and validate feature ideas.

You need to be clear on who your target audience is at this stage. That will change the type of features and functionality that are necessary for your product.

Finally, you need to define what success looks like for this particular project. The answers will help determine what resources are needed for this project.

2. Research and analytics

One of the most important steps in the product management life cycle is market research and business analytics. In this step, you will identify your target market and understand what their needs are. You’ll validate user personas and user stories from different channels to make sure you’re building a product that people want.

At this stage, you need to do user research, and also do both primary research and secondary research to present the best product features in a future product. Customer experience will help you determine product specifications so you can work on constant product improvement.

Product managers need to share their ideas with different teams in the company, such as marketing or engineering. Your team should be able to understand who the end-user is.

You also need to analyze how your target market will react to your new product before you invest too much time and money into it. You can use tools like Google Analytics and Kissmetrics to help your team understand what is happening on your website when people visit it.

This information can help you optimize your product management life cycle process and make sure any new features are aligned with the needs of your existing customers.

3. Planning

Planning means turning ideas into feature development and identifying the priorities and key features of the product. It also means prioritizing different feature requests and setting up weekly or monthly meetings with different departments (i.e., other teams) to discuss how these features will impact other areas of the company.

Planning also includes defining your company’s goals for specific products, defining what those goals are, identifying key features for the products, and outlining a plan for when those milestones will be met.

To do this effectively, statistical analysis is not enough—it’s important to have regular meetings with all stakeholders who will have an impact on the success of your project, from upper management to marketing teams and mechanical engineers.

Next is creating both the external roadmap and the internal roadmap. A product marketing manager needs to think about the long-term goals of a business and how to help the business reach those goals. This means they need to plan so they can create a product roadmap with clear priorities.

All features in a product need to have a purpose and be aligned with the business goals. When prioritizing features, you need to balance your customers’ needs and your product strategy.

You may want to create a prototype before you finalize the design of your product so you can get customer feedback and make sure what you are creating will work for them.

4. Prototyping

Prototyping is a crucial step in the product management life cycle. During this step, you’ll create a mockup of your product, and your team should create a prototype to test it and get feedback before finalizing the product.

The goal of prototyping is to have a prototype that reflects the final product and can be used to test out with users. Prototyping requires cutting away all non-essential parts and focusing on creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

An MVP is the simplest version of your idea that has just enough features to satisfy early customers. This version should be something that can be tested with your target audience.

The goal with an MVP is not to launch with the perfect solution, but rather to launch with something that works well enough for early adopters, so you can start getting feedback on whether or not your idea has the potential for more. Prototyping is about creating a mockup for this MVP so people can visualize what it will look like when it’s finished and give you feedback on it before you invest too much in this product vision.

Feedback collection from real users as early as possible is vital in this stage. It will help you iterate and improve your prototype before spending too much time and resources on it. Prototyping saves time and money by identifying problems before investing in an ineffective design or solution.

5. Validation

In this step, you’ll want to validate your product idea and understand if it’s worth pursuing. You can also test your assumptions by gathering feedback from potential users and reviewing your product plan.

It’s important to identify a problem that exists in your target market so you can create an innovative solution and enable higher customer engagement. Gather feedback through interviews, surveys, or online communities dedicated to your industry or niche.

In this phase of the product management life cycle, it’s also vital for the product team to review its product plan for any potential risks or issues before moving forward with the product development life cycle process.

6. Delivery

Product delivery is the second to last step in the product management life cycle, but it’s an important one. It’s at this point where all the groundwork is laid for a successful product feature release.

The products that we create usually start with an idea, which is then developed into a plan for production.

Product managers are responsible for overseeing this entire product management life cycle from start to finish. They’re also in charge of making sure that everything is going smoothly from ideation to delivery. A good example of this would be in the case of complicated software. If a company decided to produce software for performing advanced calculations, developing it would involve hiring programmers, graphic designers, and other creatives who can build the program from scratch.

Then there’s testing and refining the product until it meets its desired quality standards before finally delivering it to customers who have already purchased it or will purchase it in the future.

7. Launch

Product launches are an important part of the product management life cycle, but it’s not the end of it. It’s critical to know how to market your product once it’s out there.

Consider whether you want to launch the product in beta or wait until you’re sure about its success. Launching in the beta can be risky, but it might help you find issues others don’t know how to discover—and it will allow you to test different marketing strategies before your final launch.

Next, be clear on who your target audience is and how you can reach them. Have a plan for getting your message out there and making sure people see it.

Be prepared for customer feedback. User feedback can be valuable (especially ex-customer feedback) as long as you don’t get too caught up in negative responses. Try finding ways to address any concerns voiced by customers, and incorporate those solutions into your final release of the product.

+1. Feedback, analytics, and experiments 

Using an iterative approach this stage can also be the start of a new cycle.

The product team conducts research and experiments and analyses the results to test and improve the product and understand its real value. Typically, they look at target markets, product-market fit, competitors, pricing strategies, additional needs and experiences of specific groups of users, or user experience.

Customer feedback is important at all stages of the product management life cycle, as it continuously helps the team to validate and improve the MVP and then the product features. In addition, feedback helps to understand the real needs and usage patterns of the target customer base. Customer feedback helps to discover issues and opportunities with the product that were previously unknown or not considered important.

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Conclusion

A successful product management lifecycle starts with defining your customers’ needs. The most important thing to do is to build a successful product that provides value to customers. Once you have a product that people will use, it’s time to test it and measure relevant feedback. These findings about the product management lifecycle can help you improve the product in future releases.