Product Innovation Trends

Top Frustrations of Product Managers: Part 3 of 3

Jessica Davis | January 22, 2014

The following is an excerpt from our whitepaper, available for download, Top Three Frustrations of Product Managers & Tips to Avoid Them

Maintaining Consistent Organization-wide Alignment Despite Rapidly Shifting Requirements

It doesn’t matter who wants to make a change. It could be anyone on the product delivery team who sees an opportunity to improve a product or iteration during the delivery process. And as you know, change is can derail delivery deadlines.

However, the most common reasons for missing product-delivery deadlines, according to a survey conducted by Forrester Research, Inc., unclear or changing requirements, quality issues and delayed decisions. All of these circle back to communication issues.

How can you ensure all stakeholders are able to perform their tasks on schedule when aiming at
a frequently shifting target, and when proactive communication is lacking? As product manager, one of your key areas of responsibility is to understand and articulate to your team the issues you’re trying to solve. If you can ensure the team knows exactly how the issues are problematic and comprehends the contextual rationale for why you want to solve them you will help chart the course to accomplish the agreed-upon solutions. But while that sounds great on paper, game-changing collaboration doesn’t materialize organically.

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When managed properly, product delivery is a cyclical process that repeatedly brings timely and innovative solutions to market. Each of your team’s contributors must rely on one another’s complementary skills to ensure collective alignment with the company’s long-term business goals.

Just as Sales depends on the development team to introduce the innovative, value-packed solutions that win new business, the development team must in turn rely on Sales and other end-user– facing teams to solicit customer feedback and seek marketplace findings and analyze and convert them into actionable improvements for future product releases.

When all is said and done, the talented people who comprise your product delivery team are your most critical assets, and discovering a more effective means of ensuring their suggestions, opinions, intelligence and expertise are shared and leveraged in a timely, collective fashion will create more effective teamwork and better products as a result.

Truth is, even the most capable product manager needs help getting this alignment. One of the most effective ways to attain it is to recommend and push for a collaborative product delivery platform that everyone can easily use to engage throughout the product lifecycle, from concept to launch.

With the right system in place, you can rapidly access and discuss suggestions for improvement, efficiently monitor—in one centralized location— activities, issues and decisions related to product requirements and tasks and track change requests and related impacts in real time. In short, you will have complete visibility into your team’s activities and your organization will have visibility into yours.

You will be able to keep everyone aligned without having to take valuable time to report, update and rationalize all that you do to keep your team focused on delivering the highest-value products to your customer.

Download the full whitepaper, Top Three Frustrations of Product Managers & Tips to Avoid Them, and more resources for product delivery.