4 Things That Real World Product Managers Do

What do product managers really spend their time doing? We like to talk about all of the things that tthey should be spending their time doing – boldly defining new products and clearly laying out markets to go after. However, the day-to-day reality of being a product manager can be quite different. The folks over at Pragmatic Marketing have just released their annual survey and it contains some interesting points…RoadmapsIf ever there was a part of a product that a product manager should own, the roadmap is it. Just to make sure that we’re all on the same page here, a product roadmap lays out the changes and enhancements that are planned for your product in the future. You get to define the future: is it just this month, this year, or do you go out for 5 years?Although we should own the product’s roadmap, this is not always an easy thing to do. Development teams have been known to want to play a big role in saying what shows up in the product and when it shows up.The reason that this is the wrong way to handle things is that for your product to be successful, it really needs to be your customers who are defining in what order (and when) features are introduced. Who owns the roadmap can be the source of many battles within the firm.RequirementsWhen people ask me what skills a product manager needs to have, at the top of my list is the ability to communicate clearly. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to product requirements.You own the requirements for your products. Normally, the creation of product requirements is not something that people fight over. I mean, who really wants to do all of that writing?The key skill that you need to have is the ability to both clearly and succinctly express what the product needs to be able to do. This has to be done for multiple simultaneous audiences: the sales teams need to be able to read it and understand what’s coming and the development teams need to be able to read it and understand what they need to do.Market ProblemsIn a world without problems, there probably wouldn’t be much of a need for product managers. Thankfully there are a lot of problems out there! I’m not sure if “problems” is really the right word to use here, I think that “changes” might be closer to the mark…When we create and launch a product, we do so in a market that has certain characteristics: we know who our customers are and we know who we are competing against. From that moment on everything changes.As things change, it is your responsibility to change with it. We need to adapt our products, our marketing message, and perhaps even our pricing to deal with the new realities as they show up.PositioningWhat does your product do? Who does it do it for it? Why should your customers choose your product over somebody else’s? These are all great questions and if you don’t have a solid answer for each of them, things are not looking good for your product.Knowing how you want people to view your product against all of their other options is a key point that product managers have to take care of. This higher level ability to “see” your product as the market does is very important.Since we are dealing with an ever changing market, your product positioning will always be changing also. This means that as a product manager you need to always be “looking” at your product and making marketing adjustments to it.What All Of This Means For YouIt’s not easy being a product manager. There is no such thing as a product that just “runs on auto pilot”. Instead, every day we need to be making adjustments to both our products and how we market them in order to ensure that they will be successful.A recent survey shows that product managers spend a lot of their time working on four main tasks. These tasks are: creating roadmaps, defining requirements, dealing with market “problems”, and ensuring that their products are properly positioned.If we can master these activities, then we’ll have the core of what it means to be a great product manager taken care of. That being said, it’s not easy being a product manager; however, at least now you know what’s required!

Creating Information Products – How They Generate Online Income

Creating information products is pretty popular in the internet nowadays considering the number of people that seem to be interested with getting their purchases instantly. Basically, information products are any type of item that contains valuable information for the user and can be delivered electronically. More often than not, this equates to an eBook, an audio book or even video.

These products make for easy distribution and are therefore more attractive for people who want to use them. It could cover a wide range of topics starting from weight loss to coping with teenager problems.

For those who want to try out their hand in creating information products, following are the most important factors to consider.

Choosing a Niche

Look for a potential market and fill that need. Some of the most popular information products today consist of how to lose weight or how to grow muscles. The important thing is that there is a demand for this niche and that once is sure that he or she can supply it accordingly.

Research and More Research

Information products are called that because they provide valuable information to the readers or users. One has to convince the market that the product contains information that is not available anywhere else. It can be a set of techniques, new methods or anything else that would facilitate the achievement of a goal. In order to do this, one must perform as much research as possible in order to actually deliver something that they promised.

Testing Phase

Once the product is created, then it’s time to see how people would react to it. Make use of family and friends and see if they would appreciate the information given in the product and ask them if it is something they would be willing to pay for. Don’t forget to take constructive criticism well and improve on it as much as possible.

Marketing and Selling Phase

After creating the information product that has passed through the scrutiny of several people, then it might be time to actually release it to the market. This is one of the most important stages because the product would need to catch the attention of the target consumers. At this stage, one can start using various marketing strategies for promotion in order to sell the information.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that creating marketing products and launching them is easy. It takes a lot of time and effort on the author’s part. However, the rewards are definitely worth it.

Microsoft Great Plains Beverage Production & Distribution – Implementation & Customization Highlight

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains has many years of successful implementation in multiple horizontal markets. In today’s small article we’ll share our experience of implementing and customizing Microsoft Great Plains, formerly Great Plains eEnterprise/Dynamics in beverage production and distribution industries. These examples will cover two scenarios: US regional distribution and International fruit punch production and sales in US, Latin America and Europe. We’ll try to be industry specific and at the same time technical – using Microsoft Great Plains technical & customization terminology to address both – decision makers and technical consultant / programmer.o Concentrate and Output. Usually company sells concentrate to small and mid-size production facilities, where fruit punch or soda is produced and company control the produced volume in Gallons or Liters. In Great Plains you should have light production customization, the natural way is to build it upon Bill of Materials (BM) module. This production is very simple – you put some labor units and portion of concentrate or powder to produce one Gallon / Liter of punch/soda.o Marketing Reports. Beverage produces are fiercely competing with each other for the market share. In the case of fruit punch or soda – competition moves to emerging markets, such as East Europe or Latin / South America. Company has to control sales dynamics via monthly marketing reports, where marketing people can compare sales comparing to the same period of the last year. You have two options – first is to create data warehouse on SOP30200 and SOP30300 tables (Great Plains Sales Order Processing module) using MS SQL Server Datawarehousing, Cognos or other datamining tool and second – use set of Crystal Reports. Datawarehousing approach requires user training and might be a bit less precise, Crystal Reports are very precise – but might be less flexible.o EDI. Electronic Document Interchange – in the case of US regional beverage distributor/wholesaler (beer, wine, soda, strong lemonade), we usually see UNIX ordering system, working with EDI orders. In this case Great Plains has to be integrated with this IBM AS/400/RS6000 box and as company manager you should be looking for Microsoft Business Solutions VAR/Partner, who has experience dealing with multiple platforms: UNIX/Linux/Windows/Oracle/Sun Solariso Advertisement Expense Allocation. Beverage producer usually launches TV ads on local markets, especially difficult is to track ads efficiency on the emerging markets: Central America, Caribbean, Africa, South East Asia, Russia. You need to establish variable or fixed allocation accounts mechanisms for ads expense trackingGood luck with implementation, customization and integration and if you have issues or concerns – we are here to help! If you want us to do the job – give us a call 866-528-0577 or 630-961-5918! [email protected]