Question: How does a product manager for a specific vertical (industry) translate their requirements to portfolio requirements and influence their organization to fulfill those requirements?
Answer from Mara Krieps of Pivotal Product Management: This is a great question, and solving this problem will give you an excellent opportunity to demonstrate strategic planning and cross-team leadership.
Here’s how to start:
Before you can convince executives to invest in delivering on your product requirements, you have to have the bigger picture clearly in mind, find the common opportunities, and present a business case that shows how the company will benefit.
- First, get the bigger picture clearly in mind. Do your homework to understand the current strategy at the company level, as well as at the product portfolio level. You will need to tie your own product strategy to these higher-level strategies in order to convince executives to follow your recommendations. It may take some digging, so work with your manager and fellow product managers to identify and map out the strategy at each level.
- Find the common opportunities across the product portfolio. Know what your product line has in common with the company’s other products, in terms of target customer segments, highest-priority customer requirements, greatest competitive threats and most compelling product development opportunities. Where are the common needs and opportunities between your product line and others in the portfolio? Your challenge is to convince executives and other managers “what’s in it for them” by showing the common opportunities and why they are important.
- Develop a business case that shows why the company should invest in your ideas. If you’ve identified opportunities that benefit not only your product line but others as well, most likely your business case will show greater opportunity than investment in any one product. Collaborating on a business case with other product managers also can create a “win-win” situation for multiple products, and shows your ability to lead a cross-functional effort, which is good for your longer-term career growth.
Good luck in your product planning!