Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What is a/the Product?

I've struggled for a long time, and continue to struggle, with a meaningful definition of "The Product" that is both actionable, precise and tells the dual-nature of the Product Management work (representing both internal production/development/operations and external sales/marketing).

On a brief walk today I came up with this definition that might work:

"A Product is a representation of the resources a company controls using a terminology the customer understands"

This means that:

1. It must be possible to breakdown the Product into a well defined and unambiguous set of resources in a company, otherwise the Product cannot be delivered!

2. The Product must be representable in a way that provides unambiguous value to one or more customers, otherwise the Product cannot be sold!


This is actionable in the sense that it enables the Product Manager to understand, or to have to understand, exactly what resources will be required to deliver the Product to the defined customers (see the End2End model for support in that work) ... And it makes it clear that unless the PM is able to clearly demonstrate to the defined customers exactly how the Product provides value to them then it will fail.

.. not an easy task, but represents well the challenge coming from the original definition of Product Management: bridging the gap between company resources and customer needs.

Let me know what you think - comments are more than welcome.