Question: “Why is it important to have a product management methodology? How can you identify a sound methodology?”
Answer: These questions require elaboration on several issues.
What is a methodology?
A methodology is a set of well-documented (and time-tested) principles and methods which govern a particular discipline or body of knowledge. The methodology, with its principles and methods, is an unambiguous guide to applying the discipline to some benefit.
With all endeavors and particularly when dealing with complex projects of any kind, a methodology is critical to help achieve the desired results and eliminate any trial and error experimentation.
A methodology with its tenets and orderly steps creates a repeatable doctrine with reproducible results, and lends itself to be evaluated and analyzed in order to implement corrective action that will improve the end result, such as time reduction, cost reduction, or improved quality.
How can you identify a sound methodology?
A sound methodology which embodies a solid conceptual foundation must possess the characteristics of being consistent, holistic, and practical.
Consistency in a methodology is achieved when the relation between the various propositions in the methodology are all true at the same time. A methodology is consistent when all of its internal components (particularly models) do not contradict each other. An inconsistent methodology is unusable.
Holism in a methodology is achieved when the methodology wholly views and presents the entire discipline as a unified entity and also conjointly details all the internal components within the discipline. A methodology is holistic (complete) when all its tenets exist and when it fully describes all the internal components within the discipline. When a methodology is not holistic (incomplete) it cannot be used effectively.
Practicality in a methodology is achieved when the methodology explicitly depicts all the pragmatic aspects of all the components within the discipline. A methodology is practical when it definitively explains and describes the actual activities that are necessary to obtain the desired results. An impractical methodology lacks or partially describes the functional actions required to obtain results, and is therefore realistically unemployable.
Why is it important to have a product management methodology?
Applying a solid product management methodology that translates into standardized processes can greatly increase the probability of product success and profitability. While there is no way to prove a direct correlation between a methodology and financial rewards, it is understood that a solid methodology helps reduce the risk of failure at all levels and increase the chances of success. Ultimately, a methodology is about following the definitive steps that foster efficiency, focus, and success.
Empirically, not all successful products have had great product management behind them but it is clear that many product failures have had poor or no guidance from product management. Therefore, combining a definitive product management methodology with disciplined technology development practices is the key to commercial success, especially in the world of technology.
Product management is comprised of many activities that profoundly impact a product’s chance for success. In order to succeed, a company must execute all fundamental tasks and follow all key processes in its product management methodology. That demands a well-defined, well-documented product management methodology that is realistically capable of effectively embracing the complete product management body of knowledge (tasks, processes, deliverables, and roles). Having a product management methodology and following it will help companies to better compete in today’s competitive markets.
Blackblot’s Product Manager’s Toolkit® (PMTK) product management methodology provides a consistent and holistic approach to product management at both the macro and micro level. This means that the Blackblot PMTK methodology explains the underlying fundamental concepts of product management and also presents the details of how to practically apply the methodology in business.