By Andrew Giordano (MBA ’19)
Today, product management is one of the most sought-after disciplines in the technology industry. BC MBA alumnus David LoVerme ’15 (pictured) recently led a workshop (organized by the Carroll School Graduate Career Development Office) on the basics of product management. LoVerme is currently the senior director of product & experience at Jebbit, a data-driven marketing and advertising startup in Boston. He has also worked in product management at Zipcar and General Assembly.
According to LoVerme, product managers seeking to build the next big app or software must first do four things:
- Find a big market: Seek out a large market where many customers are experiencing similar challenges.
- Find an acute pain point: Focus on your customer. Find something that is an issue in their day-to-day lives and look to improve it.
- Identify how this pain point can be addressed: Determine how this problem can be solved. Will a new app solve this problem? Maybe it’s not an app and rather a tweak to an existing process. Either way, take the perspective of the customer to understand what they really need to help make their life easier.
- Set up an appropriate business model for support: This step is often overlooked during the product management process. A proper business model needs to be put in place in order to support the functions of development, design, finance, and marketing.
Product management sits at the intersection between business, technology, and user experience. It enables product managers to work with cross-functional teams and balance these functions in order to solve their customers’ issues.
A good product manager has strong interpersonal skills and must be able to build solid relationships with their tangential teams to best manage the development of the product.
Additionally, product managers need to be scrappy. They are challenged with evaluating customers’ needs quickly and on a budget. Product managers are responsible for creating Minimum Viable Product (MVP) documentation to quickly present their designs without spending money on formally building a product. For example, project managers can quickly sketch-out the look of a new website page on a napkin rather than spending money developing a functioning app. This saves a significant amount of time and money while still presenting the idea of the design.
Finally, the most important task of a product manager is to understand what their customers need, rather than what they want. As Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”