I’ve recently worked with a company in the early stages of its development which is focused on providing software as services. This is a fantastic business that I think has many future possibilities. They didn’t have any expertise in product management before they requested me to help out. What I learned and what I did to help speak volumes about the startup world!
Where to Begin?
When I begin my first day of work for a start-up, one of the main issues I am faced with is how do I know where to begin? As a start-up, this means there’s no defined product development process. There’s often a lot happening, and as it’s a start-up, there aren’t any procedures that are in place. It’s not an issue of what needs to be completed and what must be completed at first…
Each start-up I’ve worked with is in a limited time frame, and they’re not able to come up with much money to keep their doors open. The result is the entire process is, in essence, all about selling. As a product manager, my primary goal is to figure out how I can improve the positioning of the product to help the business achieve more deals more quickly. That is how they’ll remain in the money which they’ll require to continue running the lights.
My first step is to have a conversation with the person who is in charge of selling this product (often there’s no official sales department but). I try to learn who they’ve previously presented their product, how their comments were, what their significant rivals are, and the current situation. The majority of the time, the issues currently are no features but more a compelling story about the product.
What I find is that while everyone in the company believes their product is superior, however, they’re not doing a great job of expressing this belief to potential customers. I am able to look over the propositions that the company has sent out. Do the proposals contain images, do they convey the company’s story? Do they clearly explain why their product is the best, and are the prices simple and easy to understand? Simply by repairing this particular document, as the product manager, I can assist the company in increasing sales quickly. This is something any product manager could include on their resume for a product manager.
Modifications that don’t screw everything Changes That Don’t Mess Everything
Once I’ve had that initial effort to increase sales accomplished, and I’m now looking for the next steps. Most of the companies I am working with produce software applications. However, these steps can be applied to almost any product on the market.
When they were a new company, it was common for them to create an idea and then begin to find potential customers. Suppose they spoke to potential customers who claimed that they were actually seeking a product that contained an additional feature the business would usually have to scramble to implement that feature. It’s the same with every product. As a product manager, the first action is to develop a release plan.
Since I’m working for an entrepreneur, in the beginning, I know that things will be chaotic for some time, and I’m not looking to mess up the whole process. The way I approach it is to make a plan for the release of our product which stipulates that we’ll be releasing each month a new release and we’ll release a “minor” release every quarter, and then we’ll be having a “big” release twice per year. There’s an order to the chaos, and everyone seems capable of quickly adapting their schedules according to this new method.
The last step in my initial attempt to bring a new product in an order is to look over the list of features that are planned. These are typically just brief notes written down in an online document. I use them to create official specifications documents (Excel spreadsheet) that outlines what the feature will do and who requested it, and the amount of work it’s likely to require. Once I’ve got this document in writing, I can then discuss the issue with the founder of the company and decide on the priorities of what development teams should be working on.
What does this mean for What Does This Mean For
The environment of a start-up is distinct from that of a well-established business. There are many guidelines and procedures implemented at a reputable firm that isn’t applicable to an entrepreneur’s start-up. Don’t forget about the job description for a product manager. It doesn’t reveal any details about what you’ll actually be doing!
The biggest challenge when working with a new company could be deciding the best place to begin. Like everything else that has to do with the management of products, it is always to be related to the product. The best way to begin is to take a close look at the product and figure out the features it has and which features are scheduled to be added. As a product manager, you must make sure you integrate your work into the flow of business to ensure that you don’t mess things up.
I was able to turn the product of the company from a fantastic lab project into a tangible product. I did this without creating too much interruption to how the team responsible for product development had been working.