Let's start with 'Why'.
As a startup, you're likely wearing many hats and trying to do everything yourself. But as your Startup grows, it's important to start putting some processes and structures in place. From developing your product to finding customers and everything in between. This is where good product management comes in to help keep development consistent and hustle free.
Product management is a critical role to do, especially for startups who are in the process of building products. This position is responsible for every element of a product and is commonly a jack of all trades.
The more time I spent working with startups, the more I realized how important this role is and how much startups are losing out when they don't pay attention to it.
If you are in the early stages of idea validation and want to begin product development, setting up proper product management practices is critical.
Let's first start by defining product management.
In a nutshell, product management is crucial for defining and delivering products that meet customers' needs. This necessarily involves teamwork to identify those needs, design and build the product, and then launch it.
If you start considering product management at an early stage of your startup, you can broaden your perspective. After all, it's not only about awesome 'UX', but understanding 'User' needs.
Trust me! It's worth investing time & energy. As it solves many future problems / queries for you. Just keep your goal straight. You must look forward to reaching more people, focusing on product-market fit, and building a customer mapping journey.
Your first & utmost goal should be to satisfy your customer & solve problems through product. If you understand all this at an early stage it gets easier to stand-out.
Now let’s see, What types of tasks does a Product Manager focus on at an early stage startup?
Mapping out execution steps:
Although it's a startup, you should build a huge team for this. It's not overnight work. You are not building a product for a limited audience, are you? So, the bigger the number, the more massive your execution should be.
As an entrepreneur you have to map out all the execution processes. If you won't then there will never be a full stop to development.
Start from deep market research. There are certain methods startups can execute to understand the actual market need. From surveys to paid PPC campaigns. You will get actual data where you can analyze and take firm decisions for further development.
The most reasonable thing we can do as entrepreneurs is to listen to people - our ideal customers.
The Compound Effect - Do it now!
We know that the process of developing a product is never-ending and there will always be room for improvement, which means you have to focus on what's already planned. And you will soon get closer to the final launch.
That's how compound effects work. You do execute things now, with consistent efforts without thinking about results and at some point you will get amazing output that was not expected or desired by the person who executed them originally!
Effective Product Management :
The first step of effective product management is understanding and prioritizing the problems or needs that a target market may have.
As an entrepreneur you first have to understand :
- Problem - Statement of the product
- Final goal of the product
- Ease of using the product
- Its reliability or is it sustainable?
- Right market-fit
- Product pricing strategy
- Product's maintenance & support
The goal should be to find that sweet spot where product solutions meet the public's desires. To do this, you have to work closely with other departments like marketing or engineering in order to develop innovative solutions so consumers will buy what you're offering--and keep coming back when something new comes out!
Keep Maintenance Low!
The more you focus on continuous development, adding features, and improving UX, the more you increase the cost of maintenance.
So there is a thing called "todos." You know, those things that seem to grow faster than any other list on your desk? Yeah...they're not going away anytime soon either.
We must talk about the 'risk'? The risk of feature creep is a common problem for new products. It can happen at any stage, but it's most dangerous when the release date draws near because you might see yourself adding more and unnecessary features to your product without realizing how much work this will actually take on top of everything else that needs doing before launch day arrives!
So try as hard as possible not to let this happen- if something seems like too much or isn't necessary just stay firm at your decision. And says no straight away instead putting off decisions until later which means they'll probably never get made (also in future).
Don't build too much and make sure to account for moderate maintenance in your planning.
So, a disciplined approach to product management helps eliminate much of the uncertainty and risk that founders face.
By implementing best practices, you can accelerate product–market fit & scale your product gradually. If you're interested to learn more about how this works or need help putting together a plan for your own business, don't hesitate to reach out. We would be happy to chat with you about it!