Product Planner Time Allocation Guidelines

Question: "We have just completed the training. How much time and effort should product planners devote to the different tasks in their role?"

Answer: Product Planner is a strategic role that is owned by a market expert who articulates the market problem and needs. Accordingly, the product planner role dictates two main tasks which are to become a (1) market expert and (2) write market requirements.

The amount of time that the product planner would allocate between the two main tasks hinges primarily on how well the product planner knows the market. If the product planner is not intimate with the market then he/she is at a severe disadvantage. This is because it is very difficult to write any kind of valuable market requirements if one is not a market expert first.

The product planner must also know how quickly and frequently the target market changes because it rarely remains stagnant. There are always market trends and the product planner is responsible for reacting to these trends and possible fluctuations with new products or new product features.

After becoming a market expert and being able to understand the upcoming market changes, the product planner can truly focus on authoring the proper set of market requirements that will yield products and features that customers need and are willing to buy.

In nominal terms, product planners usually devote about sixty percent of their time to become market experts. Assuming a standard five day work week with eight hours of work per day (forty weekly hours), then this means that product planners spend an aggregate of about twenty-four hours per week conducting research, meeting with customers, reading relevant research, reports and anything in order to be highly versed on the three Cs of the market: Customers (segments, demographics, trends), Competitors (products, companies, strategies), and Complementary (suppliers, government, regulations). The remaining forty percent of the time, a total of about sixteen weekly work hours, is spent on writing market requirements and other related tasks (pricing, use cases, roadmaps, etc').

For more information, please see the Blackblot Career Support web page, the Blackblot Product Definition Team Model, the "PMTK Role Descriptions" template in Blackblot's Product Manager's Toolkit®, and the "Product Definition Team" chapter in the Product Manager's Toolkit book.

Blackblot Product Definition Team Model