Your product portfolio has more strategic value than the sum of its parts, especially from the customers’ point of view. Here’s the simplest definition of product portfolio management and it involves three simple concepts:

  1. First, the entire product management team has to align behind a common view of the customer organization (from the top down) without any product bias. In other words, just see the customer organization the same way they see themselves.
  2. Second, with your products temporarily out of sight and out of mind, create one set of business/market requirements that reflect the target customers’ top business priorities and why those priorities are critical to their success.
  3. Third, create a collective set of product priorities as a single unified product management team instead of planning in silos. Prioritize new products and features collectively across the portfolio that have the biggest impact on the customers’ business goals and priorities.

Strategic value is all but guaranteed, not just in the new solutions you build, but also in the way that you position, market and sell existing solutions.  The Playbook:

  • Identify the biggest business obstacles that prevent your target customers from meeting their business goals. Start in the executive suite and follow the trail all the way down into the trenches where your uses live.
  • Call a product management team huddle, put your heads together and determine which business obstacles your organization is most capable of eliminating.
  • Determine which users and job tasks are impacted. With the entire portfolio at your disposal, identify the products, features and services that form the solutions to remove those obstacles.
  • Then plan your product releases to deliver a series of coordinated feature sets across those products to form the solutions.

When these four practices becomes consistent and repeatable, you’re practicing product portfolio management — delivering strategic value to executive buyers with tactical solutions that are highly desirable for users.

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