Product Planning is where the actual work of product management should occur. During Product planning you are identifying customer pain points, designing solutions for what you could offer to solve the problems and validating with customers the solution is working or if not, iterating customer feedback loops to continue to deliver updates and work on the product to make it better. Product planning is all about working smart, not fast to build products that actually solve customer needs. Too often, product founders or product managers want to dive into execution and build out of their vision without first validating their vision makes sense as a business and will solve actual user needs. Product HQ helps manage the product planning responsibilities of a product manager and integrates it into their overall product lifecycle management solution. Spend time where you can make the most impact for success, in product planning using the Product HQ research module.
Define Your Product Objectives
As a product manager, you should always be able to communicate what it is you are trying to accomplish with your product. When you have a new feature, you need to be able to hold it up to a standard to see if it falls in scope of what you are building. As part of product planning define your product objectives to keep a clear vision of why you are doing what you are doing.
Define Your Competition
All products have competitors because if a pain point exists, customers find a way to solve it already. The solution they have may be manual. It may be a combination of steps and tools or only partially solve the problem that exists but not fully. Whatever you are working on, keep in mind, if the pain point exists, customers work through it today already. You need to understand how they do it today to ensure you do it better for them tomorrow.
Complete User Interviews
No one knows better than your potential customers what the true pain points are that your product needs to solve. As part of your product planning you should be completing user interviews to ask your customers about the pain point, about your potential solution, if they feel your solution would solve their need, if they would be willing to pay for it. You need to reach out early and often with customers to hear their thoughts to ensure what you are building as an audience.
Create Your Product Roadmap
The whole product cannot be built at once. You need to layout what you want to build over the period of time you have to build it so that you are creating achievable breakdowns of work to communicate the work to your team and users. Drive your product from inception, to development, launch and beyond using a product roadmap to lay out the big features that will take you into growth mode. Your product roadmap brings your vision to life so that it can be shared and communicated across your team in order to make it a reality.
Product Planning Saves Time, Money & Sanity
Everyone knows the most expensive time to make changes is after development of a product begins. Product planning ensures that you have done your homework before you get started on development to keep your costs low and make sure you do not lose time reworking your concept because you missed the mark. Product planning includes defining what it is your building with a series of objectives that state your goals as a business, product and any other objectives that you are going to use to drive your product. Your product roadmap then should be a series of features that you can connect each to an objective you created to use as a rudder to decide if a feature is worthy of your product roadmap.
Work With The Big Picture
Many times we see product managers solely focused on release management and working on requirements of a specific feature, within a specific release that is currently being worked on. This is very low level work and while it is important to be available to field questions, product managers need to be keeping their eyes on the bigger picture. Does the product on a whole solve business needs. How have you validated this? Why are you not getting more users to adopt your product? Why are users leaving your product? Product managers need to focus on the customer pain points and product pain points during product planning to provide solutions and use tools to get it done. Product HQ provides an entire research module which allows product managers a platform to track their product planning activities and connect it to their product roadmap.