I earn my living as a scaling coach to expansion-stage companies. One of the advantages of my position is that I get a deep, inside look into different industries and businesses. While no two situations are exactly alike, I have seen a consistent yet under-reported issue out there that keeps 9 out of 10 companies from getting out of start-up mode to the next level.
What is it? It’s a breakdown in Product Management.
Assuming that you already have a sound strategy and execution framework in place, if you can get your Product Management function right, you’ll solve a lot of problems inherent in scaling your business. You will also have a much easier time increasing revenue growth, execution speed, agility, and profits. If you don’t get Product Management right, scaling to your potential will be much harder or even impossible.
Before proceeding, I need to call out that the problems and solutions described in this article are only applicable to a company in the late Nail It to early Scale It lifecycle stage of business development:
The Organizational Physics Strategy Map. To scale successfully, you’ll need to rethink and redesign Product Management between the late Nail It and early Scale It stages of business development.
In the early start-up stages of a business, Product Management doesn’t need to be a well-defined function. It’s just something that is organically “managed” by a product-savvy entrepreneur. At this stage, there’s a drive to find product-market fit and not much else matters.
But once product-market fit is established and the company is ready to scale up by adding new product lines, customer types, or markets between the late Nail It and early Scale It stages, that’s when Product Management should be rethought and redesigned. This article will help you do just that.
Is There a Breakdown in Your Product Management Function?
It’s pretty easy to spot a breakdown in the Product Management function in your business. Assuming that your business has already aligned around a clear growth strategy and execution framework, some symptoms of a Product Management breakdown will show up when there is one or more of these conditions:
- Poor coordination between sales, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing
- Haphazard quality in new product releases
- A struggle to translate customer needs into a delightful customer experience
- Growing revenues but little or no profits
- Finger-pointing and blame between departments
- Perpetually late product development
- A strong technical product but poor product marketing or vice vera
- A lack of organizational clarity on the short- to mid-range product roadmap
- A visionary entrepreneur who is stuck managing product details
Now, you’re probably thinking that I’m attributing a lot of internal corporate issues to a breakdown in just one function. And […]