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Most Product Managers have relatively narrow roles and decision rights on product portfolios are fragmented on various functions. This creates pic 1 Strong-form Product Management Modelincoherence between a company’s product and its overall Corporate Strategy.

What is needed is more accountable decision rights that align responsibility for results to one person who also has cross-functional decision-making authority. This realignment is at the core of Strong-form Product Management.

What is Product Management

Product Management is an organizational lifecycle function within a company. Product Management deals with the planning, forecasting, production, and marketing of the product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.

The Product Life Cycle (PLM) Management integrates people, data, processes, and business systems. It provides product information for companies and their extended supply chain enterprise. One of the ultimate goals of Product Management is to optimize the business at the product, product line or product portfolio level over the lifecycle of the products.

Taking a Cautionary Case in Point: Understanding What Happened to Research in Motion (RIM)

In April 2007, Research in Motion (RIM) was flying high. The Blackberry creator was coming off its best year ever. RIM was experiencing record revenues, record earnings per share, and record shipments. And there was a new reason to be optimistic: Apple had just introduced the iPhone and RIM executives took it for granted that their product—a runaway hit in the business world—would grab a huge share of the burgeoning consumer market as well.

However, the confidence proved to be ill-founded. The iPhone reversed the historical pattern of computer technologies flowing from the enterprise to the consumer market.

RIM is compelling as a cautionary tale but it is not unique. Many companies falter in the face of discontinuous change. Their failure usually stems from their inability to keep up with technological shifts or the complexity of their product lines. Though often seen as a breakdown at the enterprise level, this starts at a much more granular level, with ineffective Product Management.

A Strong-form Model could have kept RIM stay ahead of change and remain competitive.

The Strong-form Product Management Model

slide 1 Strong Form Product Management MOdel

The 5 steps to Strong-form Product Management will keep competition at bay.

  1. Hire Product Managers with Proper Skills
    We need to understand that intrinsic abilities are required by Product Managers. These are the abilities to make a judgment to understand trade-offs, anticipate market changes, and make savvy business decisions.
  2. Create Financial Transparency to the Product Level
    Companies must realize that a given product may be siphoning revenue from more profitable products. Increase in costs from suppliers that are managed by another function may cause hidden opportunity costs or out-and-out profit surprises. The creation of Financial Transparency down to the product level can address these concerns.
  3. Implement Product-first Decision-making Processes
    There is a need to broaden decision rights and increasing accountability of Product Managers for performance and results. Product Managers have a “first among equals” status.
  4. Develop Strong Customer Relations
    Product Manager must translate customer insights into product improvement and new products.
  5. Encourage Cross-functional Collaboration
    Strong-form Product Management is inherently cross-functional. Communication is essential in developing the relationships between marketing and product management.

In all these steps, the Strong-form Product Manager must be the center of knowledge. However, Product Managers must also realize that the adoption of a Strong-form Product Management Approach requires taking Change Management initiatives.

Undertaking a Change Management initiative can take years to implement. Success can be achieved when anchored on basic principles of Change Management. However, once this is put in place, significant opportunities arise as companies move from strategy to execution.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the Strong-form Product Management Model? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Strong-form Product Management Model here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

In a recent update to Flevy, the documents marketplace has allowed select contributors to offer complimentary documents.  However, it takes some digging to find these free offers.  Here, we present 5:

Introduction to Strategy
https://flevy.com/download/introduction-to-strategy-74
What is Strategy? This 20-slide presentation provides an introduction to strategy, separating out the concepts of Corporate Strategy vs. Business (Unit) Strategy.

Introduction to Operational Excellence
https://flevy.com/download/introduction-to-operational-excellence-38
This 48-slide presentation provides a high-level introduction to Operational Excellence. It explains the four building blocks: Strategy Deployment, Performance Management, Process Excellence, and High Performance Work Teams.

A Practical Framework Approach to Change
https://flevy.com/download/a-practical-framework-approach-to-change-65
This presentation presents a flavour of some of the more necessary change components and associated tools & techniques that will require consideration during any change initiative.

Lean Thinking 101
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This 32-page presentation that explains the Lean management philosophy, based on the Toyota Production System (TPS).

Delta Model Primer
https://flevy.com/download/delta-model-primer-77
The Delta Model is a growth strategy framework developed by MIT/Sloan professors to help managers in the articulation and implementation of effective corporate and business strategies.

stratdevdeck_preview

Flevy is offering a free product download of a Strategy Development Discussion Deck.   This document is a discussion deck template for a corporate strategy development session. In this discussion, we go through a 2-prong approach to growth and evaluate the merits of various growth drivers. This presentation follows the standard management consulting Headline-Body-Bumper format.

By the way, this exact document is available for purchase on Flevy for $30.  It is definitely worth the free download!

 

Growth strategy is typically the crux of any organization’s business strategy. Achieving sustainable growth is a challenge faced by all companies, whether you’re just a startup or a gorilla.

There are several main barriers that inhibit continued growth. These include coming up with break-through innovations, execution challenges, and balancing growth at the expense of profitability.

In framing the growth challenge, there are typically 3 “horizons” a company must cross and overcome. The first is to extend and defend it core business. This is critical for near-term performance and, oftentimes, too much of a focus. Successfully growing through this horizon requires very strong operational managers and leadership. The second horizon is to build emerging businesses. The objective is to drive or invest in ventures that leverage or replicate the existing business model and capabilities. Successful navigation through this horizon requires entrepreneurial members and business builders. The final horizon focuses on creating viable options for future growth. This requires input from “visionaries” and unconventional thinkers.

LearnPPT has a comprehensive Growth Strategy toolkit, which discusses these growth challenge and presents several frameworks in addressing, creating, and managing sustainable business growth. You can find the document here:

This toolkit is 31 slides. It presents and compares the traditional approach to growth strategy, such as Porter’s Five Forces, to the newer age Blue Ocean Strategy methodology of creating an uncontested market. In addition, it lays out a framework for undertaking a growth strategy project initiative. (You can find a detailed description of the document at the bottom of this post.)

LearnPPT is a leading online resource for presentation materials. Its range of products range from PowerPoint templates to business strategy frameworks (like the one on pricing strategy). All documents were created for an by top management consulting firms. Since its founding in 2010, the LearnPPT documents have been used by customers in Fortune 500 companies, top MBA programs, and leading management consultancies across over 45 countries.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE GROWTH STRATEGY TOOLKIT

The Growth Strategy Strategy Toolkit is a 31-slide PowerPoint. It contains both instructional slides about growth strategy frameworks and editable templates. This document is divided into 4 sections:

  • Growth Challenge (6 slides)
  • Traditional Strategy Thinking (5 slides)
  • Modern Strategy Thinking (11 slides)
  • Growth Strategy Project (5 slides)

Growth Challenge
In this first section, we explain how all companies are faced with the challenge of achieving sustainable growth. Specific growth challenges and situations are identified and explained. We show how a successful company must navigate across 3 growth “horizons,” which involve both optimizing the existing core business and creating new ones. Specific barriers and paths to growth are enumerated.

Traditional Strategy Thinking
This section discusses the focus and thinking of traditional growth strategy frameworks, such as Porter’s Five Forces and the GE-McKinsey Matrix. There is a deep dive into Porter’s Five Forces, including template slide for presenting a Porter’s Five Forces analysis summary.

Modern Strategy Thinking
This third section is the largest section of the document. It includes a detailed comparison between Traditional Growth Strategy Thinking versus Modern Growth Strategy Thinking across the areas of industry, strategy, market, resources, among other components. The focus is on teaching the Blue Ocean Strategy framework, include the related topics of portfolio positioning, value identification, and value curves. Specific examples are provided, along with template slide for presenting a Value Curve analysis summary.

Growth Strategy Project
This final project teaches how to conduct an actual growth strategy project. A three-phase approach to strategy development is introduced. Specific work streams, activities, and deliverables are identified for each phase of the project. This is the same approach to conducting a growth strategy engagement used by many strategy consulting firms.