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3 Basic Steps to Effective Software Project Management

Updated on January 14, 2018

Product management is all about making sure that products are designed and built to meet a market need at the right time. It helps manage internal processes , sure, but it also accommodates external customers to collect, evaluate, and prioritize feedback. As your tech startup grows, good software product management needs to be in place to make sure that a clear product vision and direction is carefully lead and driven.

While it sure does involve heaps of exploration, here are 3 basic but important steps to help you get started.

#1 Identify Pain Points

A growing number of tech startups are building their business on products that monetize trends, grow market share, and solve specific problems. However, a product won’t really resonate with an audience if there’s no emotional attachment, or even a need for it. On top of identifying a problem, it’s also imperative to identify a pain point.

What is a pain point, anyway? It’s essentially a motivator that attracts that core group of people who have this strong need for what you're selling, and evokes an emotional response. Your audience is out there, for sure, and you’re ready to help them. You just need to target the right one. How?

  • Avoid making assumptions. Doing so will only keep you from gathering new pieces of information and other interesting insights into where your customers could actually use some help.
  • Ask the right questions—and by right, I mean focused, open-ended questions. This creates not only an opportunity for further learning (with your customers being able to think and communicate more freely) but also a sense of urgency and a keen enthusiasm to accept your expert advice.
  • Listen actively to what your customers are telling you. Ask insightful follow-up questions to establish a connection. The more you engage, the more you show you care about their problem, the more they will be willing to share, and the more you will learn.

#2 Validate Your Product Idea

While you may think that your product is solving an industry pain point, there’s always a chance that it really isn’t. This is what proper market validation methods are for. You want to make sure that your product resonates with your audience, and proper market validation will help you do just that.

So how does market validation work? Here’s a nifty infographic:

Now you’re probably wondering: when can you validate your product ideas? There are actually quite a few opportunities for it:

  • Before building the product: Along with understanding market problems, you can conduct focus groups to understand market assumptions.
  • During product testing: Have your testing team to determine whether your product’s all set for release. Do this, and you’ll be sure that your product has the level of quality you expect.
  • Before launch: You can select customers to review your product and have them provide feedback on its functionality.

#3 Get Customer Feedback

When you get feedback from your customers, you learn not only about your product’s strengths and weaknesses but also the ways through which it can be improved. You want to turn your customers into your champions, and getting their feedback and acting on it is a sure-fire way to do it.

By getting constructive feedback, you can expect to:

  • Boost customer loyalty and satisfaction. The best way to make your customers feel valued is to hear them out and integrate their feedback into the development process.
  • Develop competitive edge. Know what your customers love, hate, and think overall about your product, and you’re guaranteed to identify what issues to correct and what strong points to leverage.
  • Measure operational efficiency. Getting feedback can help in identifying operational areas that need attention or corrective action. Combine that with your employees', and you can focus on improving the efficiency of everything else.

Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

With good product management, you essentially lay the solid foundation your product needs to succeed. And with these basic steps—pain point identification, market validation, and feedback solicitation—you will never go wrong.

Now that you’re armed with a fundamental understanding of product management, you’re all set to bring your software product ideas to life!

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