A major focus area for product management leaders is the creation and development of strong product management teams. Recruiting the team, developing their skills and capabilities, and guiding them through their responsibilities is probably the most important responsibility for the product leader. Often, people say that if the product team is successful, the leader will be successful.

To help ensure product team (and, ultimately, product) success, the leader must also build a strong product ecosystem that is equipped and ready to create and drive successful offerings. The system must provide role clarity and clear interlocks so that product managers can get right to work and be well coordinated with product development, design, marketing, and other functions. The product team structure should be well thought out and consider the complexity of offerings to manage, the range of customer needs, and the organization’s growth strategies. Additionally, it should be guided by just the right amount of process and governance for effective investment decision-making and a consistent offering design, development, and go-to-market approach. These elements are all included in the new Forrester product management ecosystem, to be introduced at Forrester’s B2B Summit North America, May 2–4.

Three Elements Of The Product Management Ecosystem

The product management ecosystem consists of three main elements. In high-performing organizations, the product ecosystem revolves around the customer. Customer obsession provides the core of the ecosystem. What is customer obsession? It’s not a project or a checklist. It is a perpetual business orientation that requires putting the customer at the center of strategy decisions, leadership behaviors, and everyday operations. Customer obsession is the energy that feeds the product management ecosystem; by doing this, we are reminding the product team that high-performing products drive value for the company by solving problems and providing value to customers.

The inner ring of the ecosystem comprises what product management must do to support the creation and management of strong offerings. First, people are the greatest asset. It’s the people that build stuff. We start with the people and core skills and knowledge needed for the product management team to achieve its goals. Then there is the right structure for alignment with customers and other functions, as well as the orchestration — guidance and processes — that drive the workflow and help to ensure interlock with other functions.

The outer ring represents the elements that keep the ecosystem running and provide foundational support to allow organizations to manage through challenges and conflicts. These include the product culture, the tools and systems that support it, and the governance and monitoring of the ecosystem to ensure its health.

Join myself and Jeff Lash for the B2B Summit North America live or digital experience to learn more about putting the product management ecosystem into action.