Choosing the proper product management methodology isn’t easy, with many jargons like Lean, Agile, Scrum, and Kanban floating around. Chances are, you may end up getting confused and making the wrong choice.
That’s why we are here with this beginner’s guide in which we’ll discuss these product methodologies and help you choose the proper framework for your product. We will also discuss which type of product fits best into which methodology and which doesn’t. Let’s begin:
What are Different Product Management Methodologies?
There are numerous product management methodologies. But in this blog, we’ll discuss three of them.
1. Waterfall Methodology
The waterfall methodology follows a sequential approach to software development. While it was widely popular years ago, these days, we only see its applications in decade-old legacy software.
We divide the software development process into several phases in the waterfall approach. In each stage, we have specific tasks and objectives. We define the requirements at the beginning of the project, and it is advised not to change them throughout the object. Also, waterfall follows rigid work, and user validation is ignored till the end.
2. Agile Methodology
Contrary to the traditional waterfall model, agile follows an adaptable approach to product development. We divide the software development process into small development cycles called Sprints. Each sprint focuses on a specific product feature and lasts for two weeks.
The agile methodology is insanely popular these days, and it has become a de facto approach for software development as every company, big or small, is following agile these days.
Seeing this popularity, you may also want to favor agile over the waterfall approach.
However, there are some scenarios where waterfall may benefit you more than the agile approach. Hence, it is essential to understand when to use agile and when to use waterfall. You can refer to this blog on agile vs. waterfall project management for better understanding.
If you don’t want to use both, a third product management methodology called lean also exists.
3. Lean Methodology
The lean method focuses on reducing waste, improving the process, and encouraging innovation. The approach operates on the following two strong pillars:
- Continuous Improvement
- Respect for People
These two pillars help ensure there is less clutter and you can offer value to users while aligning with your business goals. The lean approach is best suited for projects with uncertainties.
What are Different Product Management Frameworks?
Kanban and Scrum are two popular product management frameworks we use as an agile methodology. While Kanban favors fluidity and flexibility, Scrum operates on clearly defined roles and deadlines. But this is not the only difference between Kanban & Scrum, and you can refer to this Kanban vs. Scrum blog for a better understanding.
When Should You Use Scrum?
- When you’re working with a cross-functional team.
- When the project is in its beginning stage.
- When you need a quick feedback loop.
- When the requirements are likely to change frequently.
- When you want to incorporate stakeholder feedback right from the beginning.
When Should You Use Kanban?
- When your team has achieved a certain level of maturity, and it can operate on its own.
- When you want maximum flexibility in your project.
- When you have multiple releases per week or even per day.
- When there are unscheduled releases in your product.
Can We Combine Them Both?
Yes, it is possible to use both Scrum and Kanban in the same project. Most companies are doing it these days, leading to the Scrum-Ban framework. By combining the flexibility of Scrum with the visualization of Kanban, you can ensure you are continuously adapting to the needs of stakeholders while not being overburdened by your project methodology.
Which Product Management Frameworks Do Billion Dollar Companies Use?
Spotify follows a product management model called Think It, Build It, Ship It, Tweak It.
- Think It: Their teams research ideas, validate problems and experiment with concepts.
- Build It: Teams develop the MVP and test it on a small subset of users for feedback. Meanwhile, they assess the quality of their code and design.
- Ship It: Spotify releases the feature to a small set of Spotify users and sees how they use the feature. If it is a success, they release it to a broader user base. Otherwise, they tweak it.
- Tweak It: Teams evaluate the data and then modify the product or features. They also optimize the operation for cost and performance.
Amazon follows an uncanny approach to product management. Instead of outlining a new product’s intended features and capabilities, they focus on what they hope customers and media will say when they use the product.
- Whenever a product manager gets an idea for a new product or product feature, they write an internal press release.
- The press release focuses on customer problems, how the current situation fails to solve them, and how the new product offers the best solution.
- If the leadership team is convinced, the product team moves ahead. Otherwise, it scrapes the idea.
- The approved press release serves as a roadmap for product development.
The approach is simple. A product or product feature won’t succeed if it is hard to write or explain. A product should be easy to understand and simple to use.
Typeform approaches product management in two parts. The first part focuses on product discovery in which they identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and validate solutions with a testable product. The second part, i.e., delivery, deals with the project execution, measurement, and iteration.
Even their approach to MVPs is unique. Instead of building one MVP version, they divide it into three parts:
- Earliest testable product, the simplest version of your product.
- The earliest usable product that your early adopters will use.
- The earliest lovable product that your customers will love.
Doing so helps get feedback at each step of product development and ensures you deliver something users want.
In a Nutshell: Consistency is the Key to Get it Right.
Choosing between different product management methodologies and frameworks can be overwhelming because there is not just one but multiple ways to develop and manage products. Yet there is no specific way to get it right. What worked for other brands may not work for you, and consistency is the only way you can get it to write.
So, keep an open mindset and experiment with different approaches. See what works for your team and what doesn’t. You will soon find your sweet spot. Good luck!