BCBusiness + BrainStation
Credit: Courtesy of BrainStation

BrainStation Vancouver Office

Delivering customer value is the lifeblood of every company. Regardless of your role within a business, be it as sales leader, marketing manager, or customer service representative, you can benefit immensely from an entrepreneurial skillset. Successful entrepreneurs identify opportunities, drive innovation and create value. Adapting an entrepreneur skillset when creating new products or services comes in the form of Product Management.

Product Management involves defining the product to be built and managing its development, launch and ongoing improvement. This means that an effective Product Manager is an entrepreneur, strategist, visionary, team leader and customer advocate all rolled into one.

The majority of business offerings are now consumed digitally in some capacity. This has led to a change in consumer expectations and consequently organizations have to respond to customer and market signals at lightning speed.

The Lean methodology, a core tenet of the Product Management discipline, espouses the continuous testing of the product, adapting it and adjusting it to changes in the marketplace. ‘Lean’ refers to eliminating anything that doesn’t add value to the product or service development process. With origins in Manufacturing, this methodology was popularized in Eric Ries bestselling book, The Lean Startup. Since then, it has spread to nearly every industry imaginable.

Jeff Rambharack, senior technical product manager at Amazon and BrainStation product management educator, says, “Ten years ago, product management was mostly a software discipline. I see it everywhere now – technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, apparel and service companies.”

In business, it’s imperative to understand what your customer is searching for and how to effectively position your brand as the solution. Sales, customer service and marketing roles all focus on delivering value to the consumer. A Product Management skillset and the corresponding schools of thought encourage taking this one step further by developing empathy for the customer and identifying latent needs or unaddressed pain points. Beyond this, Product Management focuses on creating feasible and economically viable products.

“Founders and sales leaders are deeply aware of what the customer wants to buy to close deals whereas a product manager is focused on what problem the customer needs solved – these sound similar but are not the same,” explains Rambharack. “To get deep insight into customer needs and solidify the value proposition, it's important that sales leaders have a basic product management framework and can think like a PM unless one is hired."

Product Management skills can be learned and augmented through educational training. Introductory Product Management workshops, such as BrainStation’s Product Management 101 or their Product Management Vancouver event are great starting points. BCBusiness readers can register for either of these events for free by creating an account.

For those looking to dive deeper, BrainStation offers a 10-week, part-time Product Management course out of their Vancouver Campus kicking off January 15th.

Created by BCBusiness in partnership with BrainStation