If we’re managing products versus managing products to deliver solutions, three staples of product management take on completely new meaning.
Start with this concept. Products are what we build. Solutions are what customers do. If we just make them better at doing things that improve their business success, our success is all but guaranteed.
To get there though, we need to recalibrate our V, our O and our C. Here’s the plan.
V is for strategic customer value. The bottom line is this. Our goal is to deliver solutions with customer value that’s exponentially greater than any single product or service can provide on its own. It changes everything about how we uncover market needs and design products or services because the scope of needs we’re addressing is much broader than just user needs!
O is for quantifiable customer outcomes. If we’re managing products to deliver solutions, it’s imperative to know what customer workflows need to be improved and why. 99.9% of the time, multiple products are required to form cross-functional solutions that deliver the desired customer outcomes. Don’t limit yourself to only making customers better at things they can do with a single product.
C is for collaboration. Calling all product managers! No more silos. No more competing priorities. One unified team. One view of the market. One set of “coordinated product priorities” across the portfolio to create the solutions, all aimed at common customer outcomes.
Consider this example. If hospitals are going to differentiate themselves with a superior patient experience and deliver significantly better patient outcomes (strategic goals), they need to make improvements to a number of cross-functional workflows.
- Admitting patients
- Delivering care
- Administering medications
- Processing claims
Every one of these workflows crosses multiple parts of the organization and involves multiple job roles. If hospitals get better at all of these things, they make a quantifiable impact on their strategic goals.
Managing products to deliver solutions means that we have to start our requirements gathering much higher in the customer organization, then figure out the impact on the jobs of people doing the work, our users. We can’t just start with user needs or problems and “automate manual processes.”
Collaboration also means we have to take a different approach to building coordinated features across multiple products (and users) to help customers get quantifiably better in key areas. It starts with understanding the end-to-end customer workflow.
One last thing. The VOC (voice of customer) we know and love today also requires a slight recalibration when you’re managing products to deliver solutions. It starts higher in the customer organization!
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