Practical Guide to a Better Product Management

Chris Shayan
8 min readAug 15, 2021

In this blog:

  1. What is Product Management
  2. Who is Product Manager
  3. Full example of Product management approach
  4. Disclaimer and References

Intro — What is Product Management

Product management is an organizational function that guides every step of a product’s lifecycle: from development, positioning and pricing, by focusing on the product and its customers first and foremost. To build the best possible product, product managers advocate for customers within the organization and make sure the voice of the market is heard and heeded.

Thanks to this focus on the customer, product teams routinely ship better-designed and higher-performing products. In tech, where entrenched products are quickly uprooted by newer and better solutions, there is more need than ever for an intimate understanding of customers and the ability to create tailored solutions for them. That’s where product management comes in.

The primary responsibilities of product management fall into four main areas as Scaled Agile, Inc says:

  1. Meet business goals — Products and solutions must meet the economic business goals
  2. Get it built
  3. Get it off the shelf — Internally, Product Managers collaborate with IT to ensure solutions are deployed to internal customers and users; externally, Product Managers collaborate with an even larger set of business stakeholders to deliver products to the market
  4. Leverage support — Product Managers ensure their offerings are supported and enhanced to create a continuous flow of value

Intro — Traits of a good Product Manager

There are core competencies that every PM must have — many of which can start in the classroom — but most are developed with experience, good role models, and mentoring. Some examples of these competencies include:conducting customer interviews and user testing

  • running design sprints
  • feature prioritization and road map planning
  • the art of resource allocation (it is not a science!)
  • performing market assessments
  • translating business-to-technical requirements, and vice versa
  • pricing and revenue modeling
  • defining and tracking success metrics

Founder/CTO/CEO relationship with PM. Especially in earlier-stage companies, it’s important to know how involved the founder/CEO/CTO is in the product process. If they are deeply involved, the PM role may play more of a support role, to flesh out their ideas or validate concepts with customers, versus conceiving and driving ideas of their own. This can be great fun for some PMs who enjoy partnering with founders and C-level executives and collaborating on the product evolution. But for other PMs, it can be very frustrating if they prefer to take more ownership of the product direction. It can also be challenging if the more technical founders or C-levels prefer working directly with engineers. This can leave PMs out of the loop or undermined (sometimes unintentionally), causing not just personal frustrations but delays. When considering a PM role that may work closely with the founding leadership team, be sure to find out their expectations of the PM function and decide whether this is the right fit with your interests.


Let’s Build a Product

Simple Digital Banking

I decided to pick this as an example because of many good online available resources that I can use a listed in references. I have also bought series of designs that can help to illustrate the purpose further.

The process of Product Management that I like to recommend is following these basic steps (using productboard terminology):

  • Customer Segments
  • Objectives
  • Drivers
  • Tasks

Customer Segments

Great product managers understand how to identify the needs of specific groups within their larger user base, so they can provide specific solutions that serve their needs. Productboard’s customer segmentation enables you to group similar companies together and identify which features each segment needs the most.

For our example, I just picked from Crossing the Chasm the following segments:

  • Early Majority
  • Early Adopters
  • Late Majority
  • Laggards

Product Objectives

Objectives are clear, measurable, inspiring goals aligned with specific outcomes you’re striving to achieve — for your customers, product, or business.

For example:

  • Help users perform core job-to-be-done X
  • Grow our impact on the world by expanding to customer segment Y
  • Close core feature gaps experienced by user role Z

Objective cadence

Smaller teams at fast-moving startups may set new objectives every 4–8 weeks. More established product organizations often set new product objectives once a quarter.

Some objectives may be relevant over the long-term. But it may still help to represent these with multiple sequential objectives, each with their own scope, key results, and features. In this way, objectives act a bit like initiatives, large units of work that you can mark “done” before moving on to the next one — even if you’ll still be focusing on advancing the same high-level objective.

In our example, I have picked these objectives:

  • Increase New User Adoption
  • Increase Revenue
  • Drive ongoing user engagement


Drivers are miscellaneous criteria you can use to surface interesting ideas or prioritize what to build next. They’re particularly valuable for scoring features in the early phases of prioritization, since they can be used along with the user impact score to sort/filter features that best support multiple criteria.

Borrowed from the Kano model, one of the simplest ways to prioritize is considering to what degree each feature is simply expected, or would surprise and delight:

  • Satisfier — Table stakes, baseline functionality necessary to compete
  • Delighter — Exciting, innovative, or new functionality

To this you might add drivers representing qualities that help you stay ahead of the competition:

  • Differentiator — sets you apart from the competition
  • Spoiler — closes the gap between you and a competitor’s differentiator

Other drivers might represent other positive outcomes that could be brought about by each idea:

  • Cost reducer
  • Usability
  • Performance
  • Compliance
  • Platform reliability
  • Security
  • User delight
  • User adoption
  • User engagement

One more way to use drivers is to score features based on how well they support the needs of different groups of stakeholders/customers. (As we’ll discuss below, one advantage drivers have over the native segment fields is they can be factored into prioritization scores.)

  • Closing new business
  • Retention/expansion for existing customers
  • Supporting third-party partners
  • Supporting internal customers

For our example, I have picked these drivers:

  1. Usability
  2. Scalability
  3. Employee Operational Value (if you wanna know why read more here)
  4. Customer Value
  5. Integration Capability


Task fields are useful for tracking common tasks that apply to many (but not necessarily all) of your features — e.g. Product brief, Final designs, Release notes, Marketing collateral. Since each of these tasks are often owned by different teammates, they’re often worked on in parallel.

For our example, I have picked these tasks:

  1. Design Assets
  2. Development
  3. Product Spec
  4. Launch Ready

Let’s dive into our products

For our example, I have defined 3 main products which are:

Platform Engineering. Reusable Components.

Open API Platform

Mobile App

I have split this product into multiple key components and features as listed below with some UI screenshot as reference for better understanding.

Let’s dive into our product prioritization

That’s where the Prioritization matrix comes in. The matrix is a grouping option on the Features board that lets you visualize the value/effort tradeoff across all an objective’s features. It makes it easy to spot low-hanging fruit features (high-value, low-cost).

Prioritizing within objectives on the matrix

  1. Select an objective to see all the features that have been added to it.
  2. Drag features vertically to update their value to the objective. (Hold shift to lock horizontal position.)
  3. Drag features horizontally to update their effort estimates.
  4. Reference bubble size, representing each feature’s user impact score.
  5. Set each feature’s final priority to the objective, and add it to a release.

In our example, I have picked these objectives:

  • Increase New User Adoption
  • Increase Revenue
  • Drive ongoing user engagement

Here is the snapshot view of priorities if we wanna focus on “Drive ongoing user engagement” objective:

Here is the snapshot view of priorities if we wanna focus on “Increase Revenue” objective:

Whenever you receive user feedback about your product — whether in an email, a support ticket, a phone call, research notes, or some other form — Productboard allows you to capture the most important takeaway from that feedback and link it to a relevant feature idea. When you identify the most relevant takeaway and link it to a feature, we call that link an insight.

Linking feedback to feature ideas allows you to:

  • create a user impact score to identify your highest priority customer needs
  • consolidate feedback about an idea in a single place
  • identify which users requested a given feature idea
  1. Give your note a title.
  2. If you know it, add the associated company and/or user. (See more about adding companies into Productboard here.)
  3. Add any relevant tags. We have suggested tag ideas below.
  4. Copy-paste the user feedback. Productboard supports rich text.
  5. To add an inline image into a note, simply drag and drop the image into your note. Alternatively, you can also copy-paste the image or copy-paste the URL for an image into your note. (Make sure to include the entire image URL, beginning with https://...)


All writing or TechTalk-Chris Shayan are personal blogs/vlogs. Any views or opinions represented in articles or TechTalks are personal and belong solely to the owner or guest of the TechTalk and do not represent those of people, institutions, or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Any views are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club organization, company or individual.


In this post I have used many tools or sources as examples, here are list of those references:

  1. Apache Fineract as the main digital banking reference
  2. Apache Fineract (aka mifos) as the main digital banking microservices and openapi reference
  3. Open Banking Api project
  4. ProductBoard as a sample tool to illustrate a better way of product management
  5. All Designs, UI materials, screens designs, typography, icons, and all other related matters are purchased materials my blog owner with full license.



Chris Shayan

Scaling Up, Growth and Digital Transformation guy.