Skip to content
Home » The 10 Operational Components of Product Management For Tech Businesses

The 10 Operational Components of Product Management For Tech Businesses

Product manager

The 10 Operational Components of Product Management in Brief

Product Management is a cross-disciplinary activity that makes it overwhelming. Hence it’s difficult to capture a clear and complete big picture of what a Product Manager should to do. This is where a clear and compact explanation of The 10 Operational Components of Product Management can make the picture way clearer.

The 10 Operational Components of Product Management are:

  •  Strategy and Market Intelligence
  • Tech and Data
  • Product Development and Project Management
  • Customer Development
  • Testing and MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
  • Wireframing
  • Metrics
  • Leadership and Communication
  • Marketing & GtM (Go to Market)
  • Planning: Business Plan, Product Plan and Roadmapping

Introduction to The 10 Operational Components of Product Management

Product Management is the intersection of four main domains that are: Business, Tech, User Experience (UX) and Data. Now the question is: From an operational perspective, what does a Product Manager concretely do.

To answer this question, the major operational tasks of a Product Manager correspond to 10 main components. Each of these components contains one or several of the four domains stated previously.

The 10 Operational Components of Product Management are the following:

[Component 1] Strategy & Market Intelligence


The first component of the 10 Operational Components of Product Management is Strategy and Market Intelligence. Strategy and Market Intelligence are the flashlight of any Product Manager. Indeed, this component corresponds to the know-how that a PM uses to gather actional data.

Examples of the questions that a PM should answer to using Market Intelligence are: What are the pain points that the product should heal, how effective is the product by comparison to the solutions in the market, what would be the best business model for monetizing the value proposed by the product, what is the typical profile of a user of the product, what are the potential objections that the user may raise, to list just a few.

A major component of Market Intelligence for a PM is the Competitive Analysis. This corresponds to the Competitive Landscape as well. It’s vital for a PM to perfectly know the competition ecosystem where his product is evolving. 

This is simply a matter of survival since this analysis will determine where the product is the most unique by comparison to the market offer. This information will tailor the communication around the product, setting the priorities for developing the next features and defining accurately the users’ profiles.

The Market Intelligence exercise is a continuous endeavor for the PM. Indeed, given the high velocity of change that we are living today, a continuous monitoring of the internal and external ecosystems is key.

Once the Market Intelligence ready, the strategy can be established or fine-tuned depending on where the product stands among its lifecycles. Then, business analysis models illistrate the strategy. Business analysis models are simple illustrative sketches like SWOT, Porter’s 5 forces, BCG Matrix frameworks to name a few. 

The strategy can be also communicated through more exhaustive documents like the Business Plan, the Product Plan, or the Product Roadmap.

[Component 2] Tech & Data

Tech and Data for a PM are like the electricity for a Tesla. Indeed, Tech and Data are the means that will make the product run. 

For instance, Tech is about the selection of the most suited technologies for building the product. Even if the PM is coming from a Tech path before his PM life, it’s highly recommended that the PM do not impose a technology for the Product Development team.

This is because the PM should emphasize and focus on the value proposition instead of being focused on the etch aspect. However, it’s vital for a PM to understand the impact of each Tech choice from the perspectives of performance, price and complexity. 

Hence, the PM can participate in the choice of the Tech to be used after discussions and clarifications with the Product Development team regarding the above-mentioned aspects, but he should not impose a given choice without arguing or convincing.

PM should master data. This encompasses the fact to know about the different types of databases, the different query languages, and the latest trends among the data technologies. 

The PM is accountable for gathering the needed amount of data for the Product Development team to be able to move forward. This is MVD or Minimum Viable Data that makes it possible to build the product. The MVD is particularly important for tech products that are Artificial Intelligence (AI) or data driven.

[Component 3] Product Development & Project Management

Product Development and Project Management are tied for a PM. Indeed, the biggest part of Project Management activities will be done during the interaction with the Product Development team. 

Therefore when it comes to speaking about Project Management for a PM, terms like Agile, Lean, Scrum and Kanban appear. These are frameworks for Project Management that involve specifically software development. 

In a nutshell, the difference between Lean and Agile is so tiny. Lean or Agile methods appeared firstly in the automotive Japanese manufacturer after the Second World War. This methodology aims at eliminating waste and iteratively optimizing a manufacturing process.

The same principles were transposed to the Software industry a few decades later, but obviously with several adjustments. In this framework comes the Scrum framework. 

Scrum is a Lean software development framework that aims at subdividing the bigger tasks into smaller ones. It’s also based on the principle of performing iterative small chunks of developments and gathering continuous feedback from the users for improvement and optimization.

The Kanban methodology is another Lean framework for software development. It uses the principle of defining a backlog of tasks, typically new developments, or bug fixes. 

This aims at organizing and focusing the development efforts for accomplishing a given task before moving to the next one. There can be hybrid frameworks that mix Kanban and Scrum principles at the same time.

A newer role called Product Owner is born in this framework. A Product Owner is the stakeholder that oversees managing the Agile aspects of the PM and a big part of his interaction with the Product Development Team. 

In other words, a Product Owner is typically the Agile version of the PM that interacts mainly with the Product Development team. This way the PM can have more room to focus on more strategic aspects of his role.

[Component 4] Customer Development

Customer Development stands for Customer Research. This component of the PM role aims at defining accurately the typical current and future user of the product.

It encompasses customer segmentation that is how to define the major groups that define the different types of the customers that use the product. This is very important since this segmentation will monitor how to speak to the customers or how to address their pains and fears.

This Customer Research can also lead to the development of tailored features for a specific group of the customers. It’s also crucial for defining the marketing and Go to Market strategies.

[Component 5] Testing and MVP

Test and MVP

Before spending time, effort, and funds in creating and marketing a new product, it’s worth testing first whether the idea is viable or not. This is exactly the goal of Testing and MVP or Minimum Viable Product.

Testing aims at checking, at a low effort and time, some hypotheses surrounding the product. For instance, regarding its users, its pain points and the need of the market for such a solution.

For example, the PM may make the hypothesis that the real estate market needs an automated solution for finding the best deals among the dozens of online websites. This hypothesis can be tested through direct interviews, surveys, online landing pages explaining the solution in a short video to name a few.

Then, the PM can gather concrete evidence about the relevance of the hypothesis. Then he can take actions accordingly.

The MVP on the other hand goes deeper in the testing process. This is usually a second step after performing the less expensive tests. The MVP is a sort of a minimum version of the final product that contains a major feature of it. An MVP typically takes one to six months of development efforts.

The idea behind an MVP is to gather quickly and accurate concrete evidence about the relevance of the product. It’s also used for more impactful marketing campaigns that show concrete products behind the promotions. An MVP aims as well at gathering the first User Experience (UX) feedbacks from the users regarding the look and feel of the product.

[Component 6] Wireframing

Wireframing, that stands for mocking or prototyping, aims at preparing concrete designs and sketches of the product. In small structures, a PM can be asked to do that exercise by himself. But often, wireframing is the job of the design team.

There are different tools that can be used for wireframing ranging from a pen and a paper to the latest online SaaS solutions for creating the first designs of the product.

Wireframing is a great and often quick and cheap way for putting in place a first draft of the future product. This exercise is very pleasant and leads to a higher excitement and engagement around the product.

[Component 7] Metrics

Metrics can also be called KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, or OKRs of Objectives and Key Results. Even if these three are slightly different, they all aim at quantifying and monitoring the way a PM and his product are performing internally and externally.

Metrics for a PM are like a compass for a sailor. 

Examples of metrics are how many downloads the app is making per month, how many visits to the website are done daily, how many times the app was opened and used weekly or how many users are opting for the premium plan of the software to name a few.

The PM should have metrics in many locations on both the internal and external sides. He should also monitor the evolution of those metrics and communicate transparently about them.

[Component 8] Leadership & Communication

Leadership and communication

A PM is the manager of the product but he’s the manager of nobody. He does not have direct reports, but he is interacting continuously and intensely with numerous internal and external stakeholders. 

Consequently, a PM should be convincing, charismatic, and gregarious. Very often, he’s not the one that will take the last decision, but he should be able to influence the final decisions and the way the product is evolving. He should also be able to say many NOs, and a few YESses.

A PM is also expected to motivate and inspire the internal teams, as well as to engage the external stakeholders and customers around the product.

In short, leadership and communication are key for being a top PM.

[Component 9] Marketing, sales & GO to Market (GtM)

Even if they are often put in the same bucket, Marketing, sales and GO to Market (GtM) have slight differences even if they have a lot in common.

The major common point between these three is the goal. That is how to bring the product to the market and make it desired and purchased by its targeted customers.

Consequently, depending on where the PM stands in this commercial chain, he will have to contribute to each of these steps.

Marketing for instance is about creating attention, awareness, and desire around the product.

GtM is about the operational action plan about how to bring the product to the market. For instance, defining the team, the roles, the promotional channels and the messages.

Finally, sales is the act of finalizing the operation and bringing the potential future customers to the action of acquiring the product.

A PM, as a primer ambassador of the product and as a master of its value proposition and as an expert of its potential users, has obviously a key role to play in each of these three key steps for the market success of the product.

[Component 10] Planning: Business Plan, Product Plan & Roadmap

The last but not least component of the 10 Operational Components of Product Management is Planning. Planning and strategizing are put in this list among both the first and last items because of their high importance for a PM. The first expected outcome from a PM is the success of the product. This success can only be achieved through accurate and continuously updated strategic planning.

This final planning step encompasses Business Planning, Product Planning and Roadmapping.

This is put on purpose as the last component because it’s fed by the previous ones.

For instance, to generate the Business Plan or the Product Plan or the Roadmap, the PM should be aware of the market, the competitive landscape, the potential tech and data to be used, the skills and capacities of his Product Development team, the potential options for marketing, sales and GtM strategies, the pain point of the market and the different profiles of his potential customers.

Obviously, this means that the PM should have a good grasp of the previous nine components before tackling this last one. Even if this is put as the last component, very often, the PM will start by this planning stage before going deeper into the other components.

Finally, let’s remember that this planning, whether it’s the Business Plan or the Product Plan or the Roadmap, is not set in stone and should be flexible and adaptable with respect to the evolution of the product and the market during the journey of the PM with his product.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 thought on “The 10 Operational Components of Product Management For Tech Businesses”

  1. Pingback: The Complete Guide to Tech Product Management

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *