PM's responsibility #6: Shape Business Processes

Once a feature or a product is released into the wild, it's time for a product manager (PM) to start selling the product he or she was so keenly building. Unfortunately, it happens way to often that PMs think their job is over once the product is shipped. I consider this to be sign of vanity on the side of the PM as such thinking includes a hidden assumption that the product is so brilliant that it sells all by itself (and therefore, as a corollary in his or her mind, the PM must be brilliant, too). So the next big responsibility of a PM after the product is finished is to shape the business processes required to make the product successful, that is, useful to the customers.

If the product is meant for internal use, shaping business processes means helping heads of departments involved define and implement changes in business processes in their teams (or across departments) required for successful implementation of a new product or feature. Since introduction of a product is often used as a trigger for organizational changes, the PM must be smart enough to understand company/department politics and have enough support for introduction of change by senior people, or he or she risks becoming involved in internal quagmire.

On the other hand, if the product is meant to be sold to external customers, it is the responsibility of the PM to provide instructions and to work with sales and business development people what customers to target and basic ingredients of a sales pitch. In the long run, the product is defined by its customers and the one who's shaping the customer base is the one who's really managing the product. So you better spend a lot of time directing the sales, since you certainly don't want sales people to manage your beloved product, do you?

This is part of series of posts on product manager's responsibilities as we see them at Zemanta.