The Relevance of The Software Product Manager
Tim Bosch, Head of Marketing & Product Management, Salmon Netherlands
Ask yourself this question: How many of the application features do you really use, really? It doesn’t matter whether it is a spreadsheet program, ERP or ecommerce system.
Of course it depends on what type of application you are using, but the chances are about 99% of you do not know all your applications features. Why is this? Probably you don’t require all its features, maybe Pavlov's learning methodology puts you on the side of “see what happens if I click on this button” or you just forget because the last time it felt more like a Rubik's Cube to make it work. What did the supplier say to me again? ”Ah yes, it is a temporary workaround!”?
Anyhow, it is a product manager that should be thinking through these problems. Are these features still relevant? Did we make it simple enough for the end user? Does it contribute…does it even have a purpose at all? Most suppliers have a kind of Bob Ross approach…” let's put a little tree over here near the mountain” because it looks nice and probably will sell the application better. Worst case scenario…it does most of the time but in the long run customers will start complaining.
If there is one thing people don’t have enough off…it is time! So let’s make applications simple and easy to use, hence fast and agile. Let’s hire a product manager that is going to make the difference, start killing your darling features that have no real purpose today, stop looking for workarounds and make it suitable for your target audience as it supposed to be.
Business case (true story): A customer hired a user experience designer and asked him to come up with a new design for his B2B webshop. After a while the designer presented a very nice design including a dashboard with a lot of features, such as quick ordering, account information, last placed orders, new featured products, some marketing banners, last invoices, remaining budget, etc, etc. The customer was quite excited until the product manager started asking questions. The first question was “How many customers or purchasers do you actually have?” The answer being “around 5000 purchasers each week”. The second question was “Do these purchasers buy at other companies as well, or just with you?” The customer responded with “Yes, they are quite busy ordering all day with other suppliers too”. The last question was “Do these purchasers have time to stay on your dashboard or is it to be assumed they have their own procurement application they use for ordering?”. The customer was quiet…. then the product manager broke the silence and said…” would your customers not benefit more connecting with your application, rather than offering them a nice dashboard?”
Salmon is a company that thinks from different perspectives, using a customer-centric approach to make your business performance better and the shopping experience easier and faster, as it should be!