What Is Product Management? Process, Tools + Requirements

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Walk through the product management process and learn about the product lifecycle management (PLM) and product management tools and requirements in this guide.

[Featured image] A product manager in a black blazer discusses strategy with their team while pointing to a whiteboard with colored Post-it notes on it.

The goal of product management is to coordinate and oversee each phase of the product lifecycle. It encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from marketing to investigative analysis. You can learn more about the product management process and requirements in the following article. 

What is product management?

Product management is the process of developing, doing market releases for, and managing a product or service. A product manager is responsible for the success or failure of the product. As the leader of a product management team, you'll facilitate collaboration with cross-functional teams to ensure that a product meets both business goals and the customer’s needs. 

What's the difference between product management and product lifecycle management (PLM)?

PLM is a type of product management that focuses on supporting products in unique ways that directly correspond to each phase of the product lifecycle. To learn more, check out the following article: What is PLM? Product Lifecycle Management Career Guide



Learn more: Product Manager vs. Project Manager: What’s the Difference?

Agile product management

Agile product management is a method of product management often used for software products. It aims to increase the speed and efficiency of product development and release. Agile product management is based on the Agile Manifesto, which emphasizes collaboration, customer focus, and iterative development.

Key concepts include prioritizing features based on customer feedback, encouraging effective communication and collaboration between product teams, and streamlining the development cycle for faster production of high-quality products. Many product managers use an Agile approach to the product lifecycle.

Learn about the digital product management process and how to manage it with Agile in the University of Virginia's Digital Product Management Specialization.

Product management process

The product management process is the set of activities and protocols that helps guide you as you conceptualize, build, and launch your product to the market. It includes the following steps:

1. Identify a high-value customer pain point.

The first step in the product management process is identifying a high-value customer pain point. This involves understanding the needs of your target market and determining which problems are most important to them. Once you have identified a problem that is causing significant pain for your target customers, you can begin quantifying the opportunity.

2. Quantify the opportunity.

The next step is quantifying the opportunity. This involves estimating the market size for your solution and assessing the potential revenue that could be generated. This step is important for setting realistic expectations for your product and ensuring that it is viable from a financial perspective.

3. Research potential solutions.

Once you have quantified the opportunity, the next step is researching potential solutions. This involves exploring different ways to solve your identified problem and assessing its feasibility. You’ll need to consider technical and non-technical solutions during this research stage.

4. Define a minimum viable product.

After researching potential solutions, the next step is to define a minimum viable product (MVP). This involves specifying the essential features that your product must have to be successful. The MVP will address the pain point of your target market and be achievable within the resources available to you.

5. Create a feedback loop.

A feedback loop is an important part of the product management process as it allows you to gather user feedback and make necessary changes to improve your product. Feedback loops should be created early on in the development process so that you can gather input from users throughout different stages of development

6. Set the strategy.

Once you have defined your MVP, the next step is setting the product’s market release strategy. This involves deciding on pricing, distribution, marketing, and other factors that will impact how successful your product will be. Setting a clear strategy from the outset will help ensure that your product meets its targets when it launches.

7. Drive execution.

The final step in the product launch process is driving execution. This involves ensuring that all aspects of development are on track and that your team is working towards delivering a high-quality product. Monitoring progress against milestones and making necessary adjustments through iterations in the product lifecycle is also important.

The product process then moves through sales and marketing, with a constant feedback loop helping you to evolve the products and strategies. 

AI product management

The AI product development life cycle can differ from the standard. Building AI skills can be an excellent way to set yourself apart from other candidates and stay current with the evolving tech landscape. With IBM's AI Product Manager Professional Certificate, you can learn to apply your leadership skills to the AI product management lifecycle. You'll examine real-world case studies of successful AI integration and develop or strengthen your knowledge of Agile concepts and methodologies. By the end, you'll have earned a Professional Certificate from an industry leader in technology.

Product management tools

Product and project management tools are essential for any organization that wants to ensure that its products are well-designed, well-made, and meet the needs of its customers. Consider your organization’s specific needs, and use them to determine which tools you'll need to use. A few tools to consider include:

  • Jira Align. Jira Align is product management software that enhances cross-team collaboration through the use of dashboards and a shared product roadmap document. Notable features include simulations to weigh risks and potential outcomes and backlog management. Want to practice working with Jira hands-on? You can enroll in a 2-hour, online Guided Project: Get Started with Jira for free.  

  • Asana. According to G2, Asana is the #1 project management software tool. Key elements include enhanced data reporting and visualization features, cross-collaboration tools, and resource-matching for strategic planning. 

  • Monday. Monday is a product management tool specializing in KPI tracking, integrative product roadmaps, hands-on task management, and single-source data visualization. 

Certifications for product management

Product management can be a challenging and rewarding career, and certifications and Professional Certificates can help you take your job to the next level. Here are two Professional Certificates offered by industry leaders on Coursera that can help strengthen a product management career.

Google Project Management Professional Certificate

In this beginner-friendly, self-paced online course, you'll learn essential project management skills like change management, risk management, stakeholder management, and project planning and procurement. Upon completion, you will earn a career certificate from Google for your resume and connect to over 150 US employers. 

Real-World Product Management Specialization Sponsored by Amazon Web Services

This foundational online course is offered by Advancing Women in Tech (AWIT). In addition to key project management skills, this course focuses on technology leadership, go-to-market strategy, B2B sales, and monetization strategy. 

Build product management expertise with Coursera

Gain more than just product management essentials with the University of Maryland's online specialization, Product Ideation, Design, and Management. This flexible, beginner-friendly online course can be completed in 5 months or less. You can also learn about the digital product management process and how to manage it with Agile in the University of Virginia's Digital Product Management Specialization.


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