Product Managers: How Do You Know Your Process Isn’t Working?

By Brian Lawley, Pamela Schure

As a product manager, finding what doesn’t work is sometimes easier that knowing what is working well. If you see the following symptoms, most likely your process isn’t very effective.

  • Decision making is extended. Every decision is hard fought and can be arbitrarily reversed at any time. And once you are allowed to start the next phase, you’re often in a rush to complete your product.
  • No one really says yes. If you’re not sure that your project is funded or can’t find someone in authority to agree to proceed with a product idea, then your company may not actually have a product life cycle process at all.
  • Different departments deliver information in different ways. In this situation, management can’t consistently make decisions on the same basis and in the same way. Or they have to keep asking for different kinds of information which one department doesn’t routinely provide.
  • Some phases are ignored or shortchanged regardless of the negative impact on overall product success. You can tell that this is your failure point if you have just completed a product and your sales people don’t know who to sell it to, and the first customers who look at it can’t tell why they’d want to buy it.
  • Product management doesn’t routinely participate in parts of the product life cycle. Product management and product marketing are restricted to just a few of the phases and participate in developing and defining only part of the whole product.