Below are some key product management terms and definitions we believe product managers of all experience levels should get familiar with.
An A/B test aims to compare the performance of two items or variations against one another. In product management, A/B tests are often used to identify the best-performing option.
An alpha test is typically conducted by a product manager at the point when development is near completion. It generally occurs before any beta testing but has a similar purpose. These tests are most commonly run in the software industry.
Behavioral Product Management
What is Behavioral Product Management? Behavioral product management applies behavioral science and human psychology to product design. When planning their...
A beta test is a widespread pre-launch distribution of a product (typically software), in which users are asked to try the product and provide feedback to help the product team improve it before general availability. If both forms of testing are deployed, beta testing occurs once alpha testing is complete.
Bill of Materials (BOM)
A bill of materials (BOM) is a complete list of the materials needed to build a product. A BOM typically lists all the parts needed in their necessary quantities.
A buyer persona is often created by product teams to describe the broad cohort of individuals who have a say in the purchasing process. This can include a number of influencers and decision makers who might not even be using the product upon purchasing. Aside from being a larger demographic, this persona will likely differ from the user persona in regards to their goals and needs.
In product management, cannibalization is when two different products from the same company compete with one other. Product managers are often responsible for an entire line or suite of products so that cannibalization can be kept to a minimum, or avoided altogether.
Change management is a systematic approach to supporting employees and teams as an organization transitions to new processes, tools, or initiatives.
Change Management Principles
What Are Change Management Principles? Change management principles are the guiding practices business leaders should follow to effectively manage change,...
What is the CIRCLES Method? The CIRCLES method is a problem-solving framework that helps product managers (PMs) make a thorough...
A cross-functional team refers to a group which contains expertise or representation from various "functional" departments. For example, an agile cross-functional team may consist of a product manager, product owner, scrum master, engineers, QA, and design.
Customer Advisory Board
A customer advisory board is a group of customers who come together on a regular basis to share insights and advice with an organization. Usually, the members of a customer advisory board are high-level executives at their organizations and therefore can provide in-depth market insight.
Customer development is the portion of the Lean Startup methodology aimed at understanding the problem. This requires first fully vetting...
Customer empathy is understanding the underlying needs and feelings of customers. It goes beyond recognizing and addressing their tactical requirements...
What Is Customer Experience? Customer experience refers to the totality of a customer’s encounters with a business and how those...
DACI Decision-Making Framework
The DACI decision-making framework is a model designed to improve a team's effectiveness and velocity on projects, by assigning team members specific roles and responsibilities when it comes to group decisions.
What is design ops, and why should you make it a part of your product team’s culture? This page will...
Digital transformation is the act of revolutionizing business processes to take advantage of digital technologies, with the goal of making them more efficient, accessible, and scalable.
What is Feature Bloat? Feature bloat is a term to describe the result of packing too many features and functionalities...
What is a Feature Factory? In product management lingo, feature factory is typically a derogatory term. It describes a business...
What is a Feature Flag? A feature flag refers to a team’s ability to turn a feature or functionality “on”...
What is a Product Feature Kickoff? A product feature kickoff is a meeting in which a product manager and relevant...
What is Idea Management? Idea management is a structured approach to generating and evaluating ideas that could help improve an...
Information Flows in Product Management
What is the Definition of Information Flows in Product Management? The success of any product depends on coordination among several...
Market Requirements Document (MRD)
A market requirements document, or an MRD, is a strategic document written by a product manager to help define the market’s requirements or demand for a specific product. An MRD typically contains information on the product’s vision, the competitive landscape, a business analysis and revenue opportunity, as well as a list of features or at least high-level feature categories.
Method of Procedure
What is a Method of Procedure? A method of procedure (MOP) is a step-by-step guideline for completing a project. Think...
Minimum Viable Feature (MVF)
What Is a Minimum Viable Feature? A Minimum Viable Feature (or MVF) is a small-scale feature that can quickly be...
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
An MVP, or minimum viable product, represents the earliest stage in the product’s development cycle at which the company believes it has enough features to attract early-adopter customers and validate an idea. In industries such as software, or for companies with limited funding, the MVP can help the product team receive user feedback as quickly as possible, which they can use to iterate and improve the product.
What Is Pendo? Pendo is a product-analytics app built to help software companies develop products that resonate with customers. The...
In product management, a persona is a profile of a product’s typical user. Personas are used to help a product manager (and others in the organization involved with the product’s development) understand key traits, behaviors, goals, responsibilities, and needs of a specific type of user. Product managers often document various personas, such as buyer personas, customer personas, and decision-maker personas, to better understand how to meet the needs of these constituencies.
What Is a PERT Chart? A PERT chart is a visual project management tool used to map out and track...
What is Product Architecture? Product architecture is the organization (or chunking) of a product’s functional elements. It’s the ways these...
What is a Product Brief? A product brief, or product spec, defines a product’s goals, attributes, and overall direction. It...
Product design describes the process of imagining, creating, and iterating products that solve users’ problems or address specific needs in a given market.
What is Product Differentiation? Product differentiation is a process used by businesses to distinguish a product or service from other...
What is Product Enablement? Product enablement helps employees at large companies gain relevant product knowledge. The term takes its name...
What Is Product Leadership? Product leadership can describe several management-level roles with responsibility for the success of the company’s products....
The product lifecycle model breaks down the various stages of a product’s evolution, from its debut to its retirement. Each phase comes with its own characteristics, demands, and challenges.
Product Management Audit
A product management audit is a complete, objective review of a company's product strategy and product management processes. Each aspect of the product strategy and process is numerically rated to identify areas of weakness that would benefit from improvement, as well as any areas that are completely lacking.
Product ops, or product operations, is a relatively new discipline somewhat similar to marketing ops. Product ops builds a foundation for excellence by reinforcing product strategy with metrics, infrastructure, business processes, best practices, budgeting, and reporting. In short, product ops teams serve to support the product team and help build better products.
Product Portfolio Manager
What Is a Product Portfolio Manager? A product portfolio manager (PPM) strategically oversees all of the products in a business’s...
Product Requirements Document
A product requirements document (PRD) is an artifact used in the product development process to communicate what capabilities must be included in a product release to the development and testing teams. This document is typically used more in “waterfall” environments where product definition, design and delivery happen sequentially, but may be used in an “agile” setting as well.
Product Requirements Management
What is Product Requirements Management? Product requirements management is the ongoing process of overseeing the implementation of all requirements needed...
What is a Product Stack? A product stack refers to the apps, technologies, and other resources product managers use to...
Rational Product Management
What is Rational Product Management? Rational product management is a unifying process for product development. Based on the rational development...
Refactoring is the process by which development teams clean up a codebase or change the internal structure of a piece of software to improve it. Refactoring is intended to not make any noticeable impact on the user's end, but can make it easier for development teams to continue working on the code and adding new functionalities in the future.
What Is Release Management? Release management is one of those modern business terms that has several meanings. For IT departments,...
What Is a Release Note? A release note refers to the technical documentation produced and distributed alongside the launch of...
What is Scope Creep? Scope creep is the phenomenon in which a team’s initial plan—the scope of work it agreed...
SMART Goal Setting
What is SMART goal setting? SMART framework provides the framework for setting clear, attainable goals in project management. The acronym...
What are Stakeholders? Stakeholders are individuals (or groups) that can either impact the success and execution of a product or...
A stakeholder analysis is the process of identifying stakeholders before a project begins; grouping them according to their levels of participation, interest, and influence in the project; and determining how best to involve and communicate each of these stakeholder groups throughout.
A SWOT analysis is a planning framework that a business can use to identify a strategic endeavor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The term SWOT is an acronym for these four factors.In a SWOT analysis, a project’s (or product’s) strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. Strengths might include the company’s domain expertise or intellectual property. Weaknesses might include missing skillsets or a lack of budget. Opportunities and threats, by contrast, are external and refer to competition, the market, or changing trends that could affect the company.
Technical debt describes what results when development teams take actions to expedite the delivery of a piece of functionality or a project which later need to be refactored. In other words, it's the result of prioritizing speedy delivery over perfect code.
The User Is Drunk
What Is “The User Is Drunk”? “The User is Drunk” is a product management and UX design concept that emphasizes...
What is Usability Testing? Usability testing is a technique to evaluate how easy or difficult users find a company’s product....
What is a Use Case? Definition: A use case is a hypothetical (but plausible) scenario showing how a product’s user...
User Experience refers to the feeling users experience when using a product, application, system, or service. It is a broad term which can cover anything from how well the user can navigate the product, how easy it is to use, how relevant the content displayed is etc.
A user interface, or UI, is any part of a product or system which the end user interacts with. Users...
A user persona is a composite biography (or series of biographies) drafted based on market research and experience to describe...
What Is the Waterfall Method? Waterfall is a long-term product development method characterized by linear sequential phases for planning, building,...
What Is a Wireframe? A wireframe is a basic, two-dimensional visual representation of a web page, app interface, or product...