What is a good framework for managing a product life cycle?

While researching product management lifecycle frameworks, I made an interesting and significant discovery. None of them are really up to date nor relevant to today’s markets.

Agile Product Management Life Cycle

I looked in depth at the frameworks from AIPMM, Pragmatic Marketing, Blackblot, Adaptive Marketing and the 280 Group. I am uniquely qualified to evaluate these frameworks since I have had personal experience with each–either by teaching or taking the classes from all of them.

While each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, they all suffer from:

  1. Digital Transformation: Changes caused by digital technology are not reflected.
  2. Customer Journey: Product managers and product marketing managers have to be concerned with the entire customer journey–not just bits and pieces.
  3. Agile: A real integration of Agile product management is needed. Most briefly cover agile as a form of product development, but it is typically just bolted onto an existing waterfall framework or ignored it completely.
  4. Innovation: Generally, it’s only cursorily mentioned in the product description or requirements documents. Odd. So does that mean the product manager has nothing to do with innovation even though most authors of the frameworks say the product manager is the “voice of the customer”?
  5. Social Media: Not mentioned even though in the past five years, it is the fastest and become the most important part of the marketing mix. Not only to get the message out but to also to monitor what the market is saying about your product. This is a huge fail.
  6. Messaging: It is derived from the value propositions by persona and positioning which incorporates your competitive and market research.
  7. End of Life: Many companies ignore maintaining customer loyalty when they bring a product to its end of life.
  8. Operations: Support/Service/Training: Many companies fail to plan for customer support, service and the training of them and the channel.

Many of the reasons why products fail is a direct result of the limitations of the frameworks being used and promoted. Failed frameworks = Failed products. It’s as simple as that. I will talk more on those issues in future blogs.

Part of the reason these frameworks are flawed is the background and experience of the folks who put them together. Many are just plain lazy. Quite often, one framework is merely a copy of another. In fact, two “current” frameworks actually date back to the 1990s–way before there was any consideration of the eight factors listed above. What several have published publicly as innovative do not reflect any current improvements in process or procedures. One framework strongly reflects the authors’ experience at a company which ultimately failed. How is that helpful? Most are neither “complete” nor “optimal” (beware of false advertising). Furthermore, the most studied framework reflects nearly 3 years of work from nearly 60 people. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, it, too, misses the mark since, for the most part, the eight factors for success are largely ignored.

Clearly, it is time to adopt a new framework–one designed for success. I drafted such a framework and have been using it for over the past two years to train several hundred product managers either in person, online or on demand. The results have been nothing short of outstanding! You can see the on-demand courses at https://spicecatalyst.com/product-management-product-marketing-courses-training/.

You can get a copy at Request Framework

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