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Understanding The Product Management Process

Are you driven to create value in the world?

Do you want to enjoy the fruits of creating successful products - the sense of accomplishment, the respect of your peers and customers, and the earning power of a top performer?

To be successful, you need to master the product management process, from finding market problems, to creating amazing solutions, to taking those solutions to market.

And you need the tools, strategies, and mental models that great product managers use to  create more value and get it to market fast.

Product Management Frequently Asked Questions

Products, in the most general sense, are solutions to problems. Problems that your prospective customers have, that are not solved yet, or not solved well.

So the fundamental goal of the product management organization is to find problems that aren’t solved and that make sense for us to build, to drive the creation of those solutions, and then take them to market.

The first part of product management is finding those problems and validating that they are worth solving.

The second main activity of product management – and typically the one that takes the most time and effort – is guiding the creation of a solution to one of these problems. The product manager doesn’t create the solution themselves – they work through a team, typically of developers in the case of software.

The final part of product management is “go-to-market” – ensuring that prospective customers become customers. Because a product is only truly successful to the degree that it has customers.

Product managers find and validate market problems, drive the creation of solutions to those problems, and take the solutions to market.

Every day is different! One of the most challenging aspects of product management is that your day typically consists of many different types of interactions with many different types of people and groups. You have to be very good at context switching, which is a difficult cognitive skill!

You might have a bug triage meeting one hour, and then a conversation with executives about strategy, followed by a one-on-one design discussion with an engineer, then a presentation to a sales team, and then a customer call. One after the other. Any given day can be like that – or any combination of about 15 other types of engagement – including sitting down and working on fleshing out a user story, or documenting a bug, or preparing for a demo next week.

This constant context switching is one of the big differences between product management and engineering.

Engineers typically like to spend a lot of time working on a particular thing, getting into flow, being very focused, and while that’s fun for product managers, it’s just not really part of our job description.

You know, if you can spend an hour on a particular topic as a product manager, that’s actually kind of unusual. In particular on your own solo work, right? Typically you might have meetings that are an hour where you have to even then switch a lot in terms of the topics that are going on. You have to make decisions you have to do all this conversing in different languages.

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A Powerful Product Management Framework

The Secret Product Manager Handbook site provides those tools and mental models. With the information and guidance on this site, you will:

This site includes new ideas and approaches you won't see elsewhere that I've developed over my years of experience as a product manager and as a vendor of product management tools.

Whether you are an experienced product manager, or just starting out, there’s great material on this site for you.

(And if you're one of our great  colleagues from product marketing and sales you'll find a ton of great information here as well,)

The Secret Product Management Framework

This site is structured around a simple product management framework to describe and capture the activities that we do as product managers. I call it the Secret Product Management Framework, because I was the first person to write it down in this form. But these ideas have always been the driving criteria behind successful products. 

Find and Validate Market Problems

No one buys a product that doesn’t solve an important, urgent problem or address a compelling need or desire. 

We shouldn't think of our products as "products" but as "solutions to important problems."

Our most important job is finding these problems and validating they are worth solving.

Drive the Creation of Solutions

We then have to build solutions to those problems. 

We do this by working with our development, design, and engineering teams. What do they need from us to be successful?

How can we get our solutions to market fast? Fast enough to beat competitors? Fast enough so we can learn quickly?

Take the Solutions to Market

Our solution, no matter how well it solves a market problem, won't be successful if the right prospects don't find it, and don't understand that it's their best alternative for solving their problems.

Product management knows the ideal prospect, their characteristics, their industries, how they're solving the problems now, and how their lack of a good solution is causing them pain. 

Hi, I'm Nils Davis

When I started in product management, there were no resources for learning product management.

To help new product managers avoid that struggle, for years I’ve been providing that “secret” information in this website, my podcast, and YouTube channel

(And now you can get a lot of my best material in the Kindle or paperback version of The Secret Product Manager Handbook - a real book! It’s crammed full of all the things I wish someone had told me when I started.)

You can also check out the podcast - All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority - where I share a lot more secrets about product management, product marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

Nils Davis

Author of 
The Secret Product Manager Handbook

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