Using Product Management Canvas for Your Product

Using Product Management Canvas Product

Your organisation

Your org is one among these:

1) A startup or an SME company. Hopefully there is not much of hierarchy and ‘Individual Contributors’ in how most of you describe yourself.

2) A startup or a stable mid-sized org that is scaling up. You have great ‘Individual Contributors’ and a set of senior folks who make sure the ICs are focused on their efforts and are cared for well.

3) You are a large org or an enterprise that is managing BAU and seeking innovations via multiple smaller initiatives. There are processes in place to ensure that the right folks have the right authority to decide regarding what they an accountable for.

Now, things are never ideal. But let us assume that you are in an excellent organisation.

Your Role

Based on the organisation you are in, you may be playing the role of a Founder, Product Owner, Product Manager, Solution Manager, Program Manager or a GM of a Product Line. Whatever the scale of your role, you are responsible for delivering a product that brings profitability and repute to your organisation.

Your Mission

Many tools are available for you to accomplish your job. However, communicating the Why, the key capabilities and the adoption path of the product will always remain the key pieces of information you will need to communicate far, wide and deep within year organisation.

There is enough talk of evangelisation of the product in the market. However, there is equal and important need to evangelise within your org. This communication has to be simple, crisp and easily digestible.

No product is developed in isolation. It is a journey from conceptualisation to development, to release to usage to monetisation and finally for re-invention or sunset. Many groups and departments come into the picture.

This is where the Product Management Canvas comes in.

Your Product Management Canvas

Product Management Canvas is a tool to articulate your product, describing the key elements that should be known far, wide and deep among your team.

Product Management Canvas (PMC)

You will notice, this Canvas makes you articulate the Idea behind it, the market it addresses, customer segment within that market, business value it delivers, features and capabilities, metrics and makes you aware of all the collaterals that you should have handy and linked to. Finally, it will hold you honest and reduce excessive optimism by making you state various risks.

All this in one page / slide / canvas. This single page becomes the communication about your product to all of the org far, wide and deep. Share it via email, hang on the wall where your team sits and or even print it on a team T-Shirt. Once you have this articulation, you can share the why, the key capabilities and the adoption path of your product in a crisp and readable format.

Wishing your product success!

More About Product Management Canvas

Product Management Canvas – Product in a Snapshot

Hackathon: From Idea to a Product in a Day

Download Product Management Canvas (pdf)

 


 

Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy in 4 Steps

Go-To-Market (GTM)

To develop a Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy, I suggest following four steps:

1 Know Your Product Well

Quick Guide GTM Strategy Dilbert New Product Knowledge

It is OK for Sales superstars in Dilbert world to know little about the product. But you have to know it very well to devise a successful Go-to-market strategy. Not only that, you should be able to describe it in sufficient detail to other departments in your company.

Product Management Canvas is one such tool. It captures the product in one canvas and gives a good 360-degree view.

2 Ask Yourself Three Fundamental Questions

2.1 What to sell?

What exactly are you selling? This has to be articulated for each customer segment and each value prop.

Many times a solution could be combinations of your products. In that case, above needs to be done for all product combinations.

2.2 Whom to sell?

Depending on if you are a new product or a mature product, your userbase and customers would differ.

If you are a new product, identify key influencers, usual suspects among early adopters and focus on reaching an early majority.

If you are a matured product, identify key late majority and laggards. Decision makers in large enterprises (like the CTO’s office, the Procurement division) can help you situate yourself stronger while the product team keeps innovating to keep your product relevant to your client.

The key is to identify right recommenders and decision influencers for long-term success.

2.3 How to sell?

Pricing is complex. Sometimes, it is easy to start with tiered prices that allow you to serve small-scale, small-budget customers to allow for revenue while you hunt for large ones. You must have seen ones like this:

Go To Market GTM Strategy Pricing Sample

Your Pricing strategy should have such Pricing models and option to use channels to accelerate sales.

3 The Sales Funnel

We know the typical sales funnel. It is the journey of your customer from when they become aware of your product to when they actually buy it to when they choose to rebuy it.

The journey in short:

Awareness -> Consideration -> Research -> Selection -> Purchase -> Delivery -> Support -> Repeat Purchase -> Recommendation to Buy

Understand it is very important and a plan to how to egg them on to the next stage.

4 Work on These Nineteen Tasks

  1. Time of Launch
  2. Launch Strategy and Collaterals
  3. Sales and Delivery Channels
  4. Positioning and Promotion Strategy
  5. Decision Makers and Influencers
  6. Recommenders
  7. Sales Collateral
  8. Content Strategy
  9. Marketing Collateral
  10. User Support Docs
  11. Training Collaterals
  12. Change Management
  13. Social Media Assets
  14. Digital Marketing Assets
  15. Brand Playbook
  16. Pricing Model Experiments
  17. Market Positioning
  18. Competitive Positioning
  19. Ecosystem Map

 

Product Management Canvas – Product in a Snapshot

Product Management Canvas (PMC)

The Product Management Canvas (PMC), is a strategic management and entrepreneurial articulation tool. It allows one to describe a product having the highest return on investment versus risk.

This is different from Product Model Canvas or Roman Pichler’s Product Canvas.

Where Does Product Management Canvas Fit?

Let us understand the Product Flow. I have talked about it earlier in the Hackathon: From Idea to a Product in a Day post.

 

Using Product Management Canvas

To summarise the flow diagram:

Using Elevator Pitch & Product in a Box, we describe the product we want to build. However, no product exists in a vacuum and is part of an ecosystem. We then layout the Product Ecosystem that enables the key product. The product is then described using the Product Management Canvas.

A Product Management Canvas then informs the process of Epics. Adding a business case to these we arrive at a Product Backlog. Each item in the Product Backlog can lead to one or more stories. When these stories Go Live and the hit the market, in the spirit of build-measure-learn, we learn and periodically do the Product Backlog Grooming.

The Elevator Pitch & Product In A Box, (Lean) Business Model Canvas, High-Level Products Layout and Product Management Canvas are explained in the blog post above.

Epics, Product Backlog, Stories and Build-Measure-Learn are standard terms that are described as part of the Agile process.

I think this sits one step before Roman Pichler’s Product Canvas and used to plan and describe a product, rather than track the agile product creation/development.

Understanding The Product Management Canvas

The canvas started as a checklist for Product Managers to ensure they have not missed any aspect of Product planning. However, it was always aimed to capture the current state of an evolving product. Thus, Product Management Canvas should be used to communicate across various groups and departments to ensure all have the same picture of the product.

Using The Product Management Canvas

Using Product Management Canvas Steps

The suggested flow is:

  1. Idea
  2. Market
  3. Customer Segment
  4. Business Value
  5. Features
  6. Metrics
  7. Evangelism
  8. Visual Identity
  9. Go To Market
  10. Key Resources
  11. Risks

Now let is look at each section in detail:

Product Management Canvas (PMC)

Idea

We start with describing the original problem or opportunity that the product addresses. It can be a unique need, a dormant need (we are creating the market) or aspiration (of the user/customer) that needs to be addressed.

Once the above is stated, it is important to connect it what the idea of the product and state how it addresses the above.

Market

Start by stating the market size (defined as the market volume or the market potential). VCs will want this to be a very big number. Big enough to accommodate you and all your competition.

The state the market opportunity your product addresses from the whole market size. This should be a more realistic number that should allow you sufficient growth so as to allow you to give investors a good rate of return.

A product never exists in a vacuum. There is an ecosystem of partners that enable it. We should note all key partners (data suppliers, data consumers, channels, SDKs and so on).

What’s fun without any competition? It is important to note competition and track them. If you have analysed competition in detail, you can add the link to that document. My thoughts on how to do Competition Analysis.

Customer Segment

Identifying if the product is B2B or B2C is sometimes obvious. But going one level deeper is important. (does my B2B target Startup, SME, Business Houses, MNC, etc. or does my B2C target BPL, LMC, MC, UMC, HNI, etc.) is important.

Does my B2B target Startup, SME, Business Houses, MNC, etc. or does my B2C target BPL (Below Poverty Line), LMC (Lower Middle Class), MC (Middle Class), UMC (Upper Middle Class), HNI (High Networth Individuals), etc.)?

Also important is to identify Early Adopters, Influencers, Recommenders and Innovators who try something new.

Business Value

Large organisations that create a lot of products need to ensure that there is a product – organization fit. This would involve making sure that it fits in tot established ecosystems, reuses tools used, etc and does not create whole parallel infrastructure requirements.

The product – market fit is very important and needs to be articulated crisply.

There are many revenue models available and many times the same product will have multiples of them. State the considered revenue models in this section.

Cost Analysis is a complex task but having a broad idea of the cost of producing the product that reflects the pricing model is recorded. Even when the aim is to invest in seeding the product, it is important to state and communicate the revenue – cost ratio.

It is important to state the key Regulatory & Compliance items. These should not slip through cracks of day-to-day tasks.

Features

It is important to state the value propositions / USP and communicate it uniformly. Not every differentiation is a USP, nor should it be. Along with USP, the other key features that set us apart, make usage simple or make us better than competition should also be noted.

Metrics

We all talk about success metrics. But before a product is successful there are some metrics that are minimal a product should achieve. These should not be ‘not meeting success metrics’, but independent ones.

Eg: while achieving an MAU of 1M is the success for your chat app, the number of messages exchanged is not growing at the same rate as user adoption is a failure metric.

Failure metrics are important as they tell us how key hypotheses could be wrong and it is time to reassess them and re-learn and re-build.

Viability metrics are good to have to make sure we are on track to success.

Evangelism

Product evangelism is, as Guy Kawasaki put it years ago, “selling the dream.”  It’s helping people to imagine the future, and inspiring them to help create that future.

Many things need to fall into place for an Evangelist to be effective. This section offers a checklist of essential items need to enable an evangelist.

This includes an elevator pitch, relevant content generation is a content strategy to keep it updated, uniform terminology across all departments and collaterals, SEO strategy so content is geared to show up in right searches, right brand assets, and social media presence.

Using all possible social networks is not the right approach. Choose and state ones that are relevant to the product, the audience and manageable by the team.

Visual Identity

This section offers a checklist of essential items need to establish a visual identity.

Product name, logo, icons, brand playbook, presentation/docs/stationery templates, product docs templates, Social Network assets (cover picture, etc.) and display ads assets.

Go To Market

This section offers a checklist of essential items to formulate an effective go to market strategy.

In the case of a new product, time of launch is an important date/period. Product Manager should initiate and collaborate in the launch strategy & related collaterals, describing sales and product delivery channels, positioning & promotion strategy, identify and help reach out to decision makers, influencers & recommenderssales collateral, marketing collateral, user support docs and training collaterals.

Often a product leads to changes in processes and people. The product manager has to think about a change management template.

Key Resources

Stating key resources is important as it allows a product manager to track them. This includes licenses (eg: SSL licenses as anybody can forget to renew on time like this, this and this), 3rd party platforms like SDK, analytics tools, etc.

Risks

State the known shortcomings and assumptions made. This helps plan the build-measure-learn better.

Product managers need to be paranoid about the product getting disrupted. Disruption Readiness is important to consider by identifying processes and methods that can be all be replaced in one go.

More

 


 

Building Products – It Takes A Village

Building Products - It takes a Village

XConf

ThoughtWorks’ XConf is a one-day conference that showcases the latest thinking from ThoughtWorks and friends on a broad range of topics. It provides a platform for passionate software professionals from different walks of the industry to converse and collaborate. I gave a talk at XConf, Delhi on 22nd April 2017. Details below.

Building Products

Products are not formed by following ceremonies and by superstars. It takes the wisdom of a village and a team. From Charvaka, Francis Bacon, Descartes to Scientific Process. How it all influenced Product Thinking, Agile and forming right teams while drawing some parallels and some not-so-obvious connections.

Sharing

SlideShare: https://www.slideshare.net/ddiinnxx/building-products-it-takes-a-village

SpeakerDeck: https://speakerdeck.com/ddiinnxx/building-products-it-takes-a-village

The Edge of Product Management: Talk at Institute of Product Leadership

Product Management Talk Institute of Product Leadership

I gave a talk to the students of Executive MBA at Institute of Product Leadership, Bangalore on 19th Nov 2016. It was a conversation around Product Management, industry practitioners approach to it and what’s new in this domain.

I also shared some new ideas I am toying around with and sought the feedback. It was a lively discussion.

SlideShare.net: http://www.ddiinnxx.com/slideshare-edge-product-management/

SpeakerDeck: http://www.ddiinnxx.com/speakerdeck-edge-product-management/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvp-I-vymp0


Design Dissonance in Music and Podcast Apps on iPhone

Design Dissonance Podcast Music App Play Button Location iPhone

I am among the millions of Apple’s iOS Music App and Podcast App users. I am certainly not only one who struggles with the design dissonance in their app. Here are my top 2 rants:

Design Dissonance in Location of Play Button

Design Dissonance Podcast Music App Play Button Location iPhone

The Play buttons are in opposite positions. I always have to look and think where to click. This does not allow for muscle memory for someone using both apps very frequently. What happened to “Don’t Make Me Think“?

Feature Disparity

Design Dissonance Podcast App iPhone Sleep

Podcast app provides two extremely useful features:

  • Sleep
  • 15 second skip forward or skip back

None of these are there in the Music app. Folks often go to sleep listening to music (a la Podcast) and need this function. Everybody like to revisit that beat or the clever wordplay. So skip back is a cool and useful feature to have.

Product Management Failure

Both cases are symptoms of failure of Product Managers.

It is as if the Product Managers of Podcast App and Music App don’t talk to each other or don’t like each other enough not to learn from each other.

It is also the failure of the Product Manager of Apple’s App not to drive Design Cohesion across the app that Apple builds.

Smart Cities – Every Adventure Requires A First Step

Smart Cities Every Adventure Requires First Step

A Product Manager opens up a bar but decided not to sell alcohol. “I noticed people come to bars and talk talk talk. Alcohol is just something they like to hold in their hand.”

All were shocked.

“Anyway, getting a liquor license is hard. And, I had to start somewhere.”

Introduction

Remember when everything was ‘e-‘? Then everything was ‘i’? And, now we have ‘smart’.

However, they are all same. They use the technology of the day to bring in efficiency and effectiveness. How successful they were is a matter of debate. But with each iteration, the scope has increased. The scope of ‘smart’ is now being labeled as transformative.

In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. (smartcities.gov.in)

That is interesting. However, today conversations around Smart Cities are all about IoT, ICT, etc. We had to start somewhere. But this is not where we want the conversation to end.

“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret all the best people are.” – Alice in Wonderland

Smart Cities in its current hyped-up form may be bonkers of an idea, but it has a great opportunity to be best of an idea. All we have to do is step out of the IoT/ICT box.

I have found the concepts of Canvas, Frameworks, Modifying Frameworks, etc a very useful way to force self to think in a certain structured way and not lose track of big pictures. So naturally, I proceeded to create a framework for a Smart City.

But first I wanted to have a definition to start with.

Smart City – Definition

A smart city is not necessarily a digital city. Nor is it applicable to mega-cities or metropolitan cities only. Any city can become a smart city. This can be accomplished via retrofitting, re-development or greenfield development.

An aspirational definitional is not what a smart city is. Rather, what a smart city does. It should aim for and work towards this 9-point balance:

Economy

Infrastructure

Governance

Human Framework

Tech Framework

Institutional Framework

Smart City Grid – Examples

“Alice: This is impossible.
The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is.”

– Alice in Wonderland

I tried filling this up based on Smart City conversations I encountered. Especially ones that were critical about something being ignored. This is what I have today:

Smart Cities 3x3 Grid

If this framework is followed to guide a Smart City, we will surely have a city that uses technology to serve the people.