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Your Product is…
What defines product? Is it a list of features? Is it the functionality? How about the brand, packaging, message? The real definition of product is…
- Every prospect/customer interaction and touch point
- Every interface, application, bit, byte, atom, and circuit
- The collective learning of your organization
- Your ads, brand communication, press, and social media presence
- Your content, the words you use, the emotions you evoke
- Your sales methodology, emails, calls, and visits
- Your help documentation, customer support, and webinars
- Your post-sales/onboarding experience, your billing department
- How you treat the customers you lose, and the prospects that say no
- Your code quality, data-centers, infrastructure, and test coverage
- The worst behavior you tolerate on the part of your leadership and team
Product is not something you “ship”. Increasingly, it is a service that the whole organization delivers continuously. Tossing things over the wall isn’t going to cut it. Dividing up your organization will restrict the flow of valuable information. Aligning yourself around anything other than the end-to-end customer experience is a form of sub-optimization. Any poor user experience — using the software, on the phone with support, learning, buying, or renewing — can sink you.
So when folks go on and on about defining product management … ask why? The product is everything. Don’t let the anchor of old ways of delivering physical software products weigh you down. You’re in the service delivery and design business now. Embrace it!
John Cutler, senior product manager at Pendo, posts his thoughts (about product, startups and life) on Medium and here on our blog. Subscribe today and John’s posts, as well as other tidbits from our staff and guest writers, will be delivered to your inbox every week.