Product Management Stack Needs A Convergence Renaissance
Product management function has become extremely critical in the context of more and more companies looking to grow via their product itself. But Product management as a function is highly under served when it comes to the dedicated tools they have at hand.
Landscape for product tooling is extremely fragmented which requires product managers to do lot of context switching, tool juggling and data acrobatics to get their jobs done.
Every function have their own dedicated set of tools and platforms which provide them single control pane of glass to monitor as well as perform their day to day activities. Sales people have CRMs, Marketing people have Marketing automation tools, Finance people have financial tools and platforms, HR people have their own software tooling which allows them to do all their activities from one single glass pane.
Part of the reason why Product managers don’t yet have a single consolidated platform for them is because the shear surface area of activities and tasks they have to do. One day they would be conducting FGDs to generate insights for a new product, other day they would be making wireframes for upcoming feature change. Sub functional variance is too high.
Their work encompasses so many different activities like conducting market research to understand white spaces in the industry, talking to customers via focussed group discussions in order to validate an idea, doing quantitative surveys to validate some of the insights which have came up in qualitative market research, creating wireframes or mockups in Figma or Balasmiq to flesh out the user experience, carving out user personas for which to design the product, making user flow diagrams on visual charting software like Miros or Lucidchart or MS Visio, then devising a product strategy and keeping it aligned with Business objectives, Writing PRDs for individual stories, understanding and analysing customer behaviours using product analytics, conducting multi variate testing within the product to optimize the experience and conversions, building onboarding and product nudges to guide the user for feature adoption, creating in-app announcements and campaigns etc. The variance in terms of activities and breadth of functional capabilities required to do these tasks is too high for one single platform to solve this. A roadmap planning tool is a different tool requiring different workflows from a product guidance product which touches KPIs of Auxiliary functions like Customer Success etc. Or is it ?
But this is changing. As product becomes nexus of all the organizational activities , product management is increasing getting responsible for most important business functions and KPIs. This calls for rethinking the entire product stack — These activities are too intertwined to be done via different tools. Context is too important for product centric data to be transferred across different software. In Product Led Era, the new dynamics playing out have created a functional and operational convexity where the focal point is product. What the entire product management needs is nothing short of a ‘Convergence Renaissance Of Software Stack’.
There has to be one product platform to rule them all — whether it’s product discovery, product planning, observability, product operations and product delivery, product adoption and feedback. A place where not only these capabilities are available in a single convenient place but also where related functions like — product growth, product marketing, product designers, customer success, inbound SDRs, product support can come together and be part of common shared context. What is needed is not only a system of record, system of operations but a system of cross functional collaboration focussed on Product and customers.