Check out our glossary of common product management terms and definitions.
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.
In agile methodologies, acceptance criteria refers to a set of predefined requirements that must be met in order to mark a user story complete. Acceptance criteria are also sometimes called the “definition of done."
In software development, an acceptance test refers to the process of testing a new system, feature, or functionality against predefined acceptance criteria.
Adaptive Software Development (ASD)
Adaptive Software Development (ASD) is a direct outgrowth of an earlier agile framework, Rapid Application Development (RAD). It aims to enable teams to quickly and effectively adapt to changing requirements or market needs.
Affinity grouping can be used as a collaborative prioritization activity. It works by having a group of participants brainstorm ideas and opportunities on Post-It Notes.
Agile is an iterative product-development methodology in which teams work in brief, incremental “sprints,” and then regroup frequently to review the work and make changes.
An agile framework is one of many documented software-development approaches based on the agile philosophy articulated in the Agile Manifesto.
The Agile Manifesto is a brief document built on 4 values and 12 principles for agile software development. The Agile Manifesto was published in February 2001.
There are 12 agile principles outlined in The Agile Manifesto in addition to the 4 agile values. These 12 principles for agile software development help establish the tenets of the agile mindset.
Agile transformation is the process of transitioning an entire organization to a nimble, reactive approach based on agile principles. Understanding agile transformation begins with understanding what it is not: adopting agile software development methodologies.
Agile Values refers to the set of 4 values outlined by the Agile Alliance in The Agile Manifesto. This set of values encourages putting people before processes, getting software out the door fast, collaborating with customers, and adjusting plans as needed.
A backlog is a list of task-level details required to execute on a larger strategic plan. A quick glance at a prioritized backlog conveys the next items on a project's to-do list.
Backlog grooming, also referred to as backlog refinement or story time, is a recurring event for agile product development teams. The primary purpose of a backlog grooming session is to ensure the next few sprints worth of user stories in the backlog are prepared for sprint planning. Regular backlog grooming sessions also help ensure the right stories are prioritized and that the product backlog does not become a black hole.
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 burndown chart is a visual display of work completed and remaining in a project, sprint, or iteration. In most cases the x-axis of the chart represents time, while the y-axis represents work either completed or remaining.
Business agility applies the principles of agile development to the entire organization. This allows companies to be more responsive to...
Business Intelligence (BI), is a method of compiling, analyzing and interpreting business data to make better-informed decisions. BI data is typically compiled through extensive research across a wide range of sources — including industry reports, customer feedback, actual usage data of the company’s products, and competitive research.
Business Model Canvas
A business model canvas is a one-page summary describing the high-level strategic details needed to get a business (or product) successfully to market. The typical use case for this tool is to outline the fundamental building blocks of a business, but it can be used effectively for individual products as well.
Business transformation is an umbrella term for making fundamental changes in how a business or organization runs. This includes personnel,...
Buy-a-Feature is one of many prioritization frameworks product managers can use. It's commonly used to help organizations identify the features that customers and key stakeholders value the most. Product managers can leverage Buy-a-Feature to directly engage stakeholders and even customers to help shape their products, and to prioritize features based on their expected value return.
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.
Chief Product Officer
A chief product officer (CPO) is a corporate title referring to an executive who leads the entire product organization. Alternatively,...
Churn is a measurement of the percentage of accounts that cancel or choose not to renew their subscriptions. A high churn rate can negatively impact Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) and can also indicate dissatisfaction with a product or service.
In software product development, continuous delivery (CD) is the successful execution of continuous deployment. Whereas continuous deployment aims to reduce...
In software product development, continuous deployment refers to a strategy that aims to reduce the amount of time between writing code and pushing it live. Common practices under this agile-inspired strategy may include automated testing and automated releases.
Continuous integration or CI, refers to an engineering practice that is said to help automate certain pieces of work and identify bugs early in the process. Engineers practicing continuous integration merge their code to a shared repository several times each day. That code is then passed through several automated tests to help identify any errors.
Cost of Delay
Cost of delay (CoD) is a prioritization framework that helps a business quantify the economic value of completing a project sooner as opposed to later.
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.
Crystal Agile Framework
Crystal is an agile framework focusing on individuals and their interactions, as opposed to processes and tools. In other words,...
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Customer Acquisition Cost, or CAC, measures how much you’re spending to acquire new customers. Analyzing CAC in conjunction with LTV or MRR is a common way to discover whether or not a company is operating efficiently.
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...
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.
A DEEP Backlog is one of the suggested objectives of a product backlog grooming session. DEEP is an acronym used to indicate a few key traits of an effective product backlog.
Definition of Done
In the Scrum agile framework, Definition of Done describes the requirements that must be met in order for a story to be considered complete. This concept differs from acceptance criteria in that it is a wide-ranging set of requirements that can apply to all items in the backlog (i.e. quality).
Definition of Ready
In the Scrum agile framework, Definition of Ready describes the requirements that must be met in order for a story to move from the backlog to development. In keeping with agile tradition, Ready is often defined as a story that can be acted on immediately.
In project management, a dependency describes a relationship between two initiatives that must be executed in a particular order. If...
What is design ops, and why should you make it a part of your product team’s culture? This page will...
Design thinking is a framework for innovation based on viewing problems or needs from the user’s perspective. Because this human-centered...
DevOps combines traditional software development and IT operations into a unified framework, merging coding, testing, packaging, integration, deployment, and monitoring into a single overarching process to decrease time to market without sacrificing quality.
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.
Disciplined Agile (DA)
Disciplined Agile (DA), is a process decision framework that puts individuals first and offers only lightweight guidance to help teams...
Disruptive innovation is a term coined by Clayton M. Christensen to describe any type of innovation that creates a new...
Documentation, in a software context, refers to information either embedded into code or published separately that describes what the code...
Dual-track agile is a type of agile development in which the cross-functional product team breaks its daily development work into two tracks: discovery and delivery.The discovery track focuses on quickly generating validated product ideas for the backlog, and the delivery track focuses on turning those ideas into software ready for the market.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a productivity, prioritization, and time-management framework designed to help you prioritize a list of tasks or...
The engineering backlog lists and prioritizes the stories, epics, and/or initiatives that are to be worked on by the engineering team for a given sprint. Typical items in an engineering backlog include stories, bug fixes, and other engineering-related tasks.
Enterprise Architecture Planning
This page will walk you through the basics of enterprise architecture planning, by answering the following questions: What is enterprise...
Enterprise Architecture Roadmap
What Is an Enterprise Architecture Roadmap? An enterprise architecture roadmap is a strategic blueprint that communicates how a company’s IT...
An epic, like a theme, is typically a group of features or stories with a common strategic goal. Note that an epic is one level of detail below a theme, considering a theme might be comprised of several related epics.
Feature bloat is a term to describe the result of packing too many features and functionalities into a product. Usually...
Feature Driven Development (FDD)
Feature Driven Development (FDD) is an agile framework that, as its name suggests, organizes software development around making progress on...
A feature flag refers to a team’s ability to turn a feature or functionality “on” or “off” at their discretion....
What is a Feature Kickoff? A feature kickoff is a strategic meeting where all relevant stakeholders discuss the goals for...
What is a Gantt Chart? A Gantt chart, or harmonogram, is a type of bar chart that graphically illustrates a...
General Availability (GA)
General Availability (GA) is the release of a product to the general public. When a product reaches GA, it becomes...
GIST stands for Goals, Ideas, Step-Projects, and Tasks. GIST planning is a lightweight approach to product planning, with the goal...
ICE Scoring Model
The ICE Scoring Model is a relatively quick way to assign a numerical value to different potential projects or ideas...
What is Idea Management? Idea management is a structured approach to generating and evaluating ideas that could help improve an...
Impact Mapping is a graphic strategy planning method to decide which features to build into a product. As it begins...
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...
In agile software development, an iteration is a set amount of time reserved for development. Typical iterations last 1-2 weeks,...
Jira is a project management tool developed by Atlassian, an Australian software company. Jira is widely used by agile development...
A kanban board is a type of workflow that is commonly used to manage initiatives in project management. Kanban boards can be found in a number of popular tools such as Trello, and some product teams prefer to display their roadmaps in a kanban style view.
A Kanban roadmap can help product managers leverage the Kanban methodology in their strategic planning. The Kanban technique involves grouping...
The Kano Model is one of many prioritization frameworks designed to help product teams prioritize initiatives. Kano can help teams determine which features will satisfy and even delight customers. Product managers often use the Kano Model to prioritize potential new features by grouping them into categories. These feature categories can range from those that could disappoint customers, to those likely to satisfy or even delight customers.
Lean Software Development
Lean Software Development (LSD) is an agile framework based on optimizing development time and resources, eliminating waste, and ultimately delivering...
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.
What is market validation? Market validation is the process of presenting a concept for a product to its target market...
Minimum Viable Feature (MVF)
What is a Minimum Viable Feature? A Minimum Viable Feature (or MVF) is similar to a minimum viable product but at...
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.
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is a measurement of revenue generation by month. This metric is often considered “the holy grail...
Objectives and Key Results
Objectives and key results, or OKRs, are a model for setting business objectives and measurable outcomes. The objectives, or the "O" are high-level goals, while the "KR" represent measurable key results. Objectives and Key Results help teams come up with ambitious but measure-able objectives.
Pair programming is an agile software development practice in which two programmers team up at one workstation to maximize efficiency. With pair programming, one of the two programmers (the driver) writes the code while the other watches and reviews (the observer). The two programmers switch roles frequently.
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.
Pivot in a product management context may refer to a shift in the strategic direction of the business. Usually the decision to pivot a product is the result of competitive changes, new findings about the market, or shortcomings in the original strategy.
Planning poker (also called Scrum poker) helps agile teams estimate the time and effort needed to complete each initiative on their product backlog.
Prioritization is the process by which a set of items are ranked in order of importance. In product management, initiatives that live in the backlog must be prioritized as a means of deciding what should be developed next. There are a number of prioritization methods commonly used by product managers, such as the Kano Model, Weighted Scoring, and Opportunity Scoring.
What Is Product Analytics? The term product analytics refers to capturing and analyzing quantitative data through embedded tools that record...
What is Product Architecture? Product architecture is the organization (or chunking) of a product’s functional elements. It’s the ways these...
Definition: A product backlog lists and prioritizes the task-level details required to execute on the strategic plan set forth in...
Product design describes the process of imagining, creating, and iterating products that solve users’ problems or address specific needs in a given market.
A product designer is responsible for the user experience of a product, usually taking direction on the business goals and objectives from product management. Although typically associated with the visual/tactile aspects of a product, product designers can sometimes also play a role in the information architecture and system design of a product as well.
Product Development Process
What Is the Product Development Process? The product development process encompasses all steps needed to take a product from concept...
What is product differentiation? Definition: Product differentiation is a process used by businesses to distinguish a product or service from...
What is a Product Disruptor? A product disruptor is an innovation that represents a change in a product’s direction, business...
What is Product Enablement? Product enablement helps employees at large companies gain relevant product knowledge. The term takes its name...
What is Product Excellence? Product excellence is a customer-focused framework for developing a significant or impactful product or feature and...
What is a Product Launch? A product launch refers to a business’s planned and coordinated effort to debut a new...
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 Management Talent
Product leaders are responsible for discovering and recruiting the right people for the product team. To do so, they need to seek out product management talent, to fill key product roles.
A product manager drives the development of products, and is ultimately responsible for the success of those products. Product managers are information gatherers, defining the strategic direction of the product by focusing on their business’s strategic goals, the market’s demands and opportunities, and the technological and financial resources available to them to make the product a reality.
Product-market fit describes a scenario in which a company's target customers are buying, using, and telling others about the company's product in numbers large enough to sustain that product's growth and profitability.
Product Marketing Manager
A product marketing manager’s (PMM) primary responsibility is to communicate the product’s value to the market. A PMM’s responsibilities could include training the sales force on how to sell the product, creating marketing materials that communicate product features, and developing the marketing tools and campaigns to attract new prospects and customers.
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.
The product owner bridges the gap between product strategy and development. They are usually responsible for the product backlog, organizing sprints, and are expected to be available to answer questions from developers as needed. In comparison to the strategy-focused role of the product manager, the product owner generally takes on more tactical duties.
Product Portfolio Management
Product portfolio management refers to the practice of managing an organization’s entire product portfolio, which consists of all the products the organization has. A product portfolio manager may be responsible for allocating resources for optimal ROI, identifying areas of improvement, and keeping the products aligned with the organization’s broader strategy.
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...
What is a Product Strategy? A product strategy is a high-level plan describing what a business hopes to accomplish with...
What is the Product Tree? The Product Tree is a fun, visual, and useful tool that gamifies product management. It...
A product vision, or product vision statement, describes the overarching long-term mission of your product. Vision statements are aspirational and communicate concisely where the product hopes to go and what it hopes to achieve in the long term.
Program Management is an organizational function that oversees a group of individual projects linked together through a shared organizational goal...
A program manager coordinates the interdependencies among projects, products, and other important strategic initiatives across an organization. This role requires one to focus closely on a lateral view across the organization.
A project manager oversees many of the logistical aspects of the product development process. They differ from product managers in that they oversee the execution of plans that have already been developed and approved. Unlike product managers, they are generally less focused on high-level goals and strategy. Instead, a project manager focuses on tangible things like budget, resources, and personnel.
Rapid Application Development (RAD)
What is Rapid Application Development (RAD)? Rapid Application Development is an agile framework focused primarily on rapid prototyping of software...
Rapid experimentation is an agile approach to the product development process. With this approach, frequent experiments are deployed in an attempt to discover new, innovative ideas. Experiments can range in severity, from simple A/B tests to larger field experiments.
Rapid prototyping is an agile strategy used throughout the product development process. With this approach, 3-dimensional prototypes of a product or feature are created and tested in an attempt to optimize characteristics like shape, size, and overall usability.
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.
A release demo is typically given by agile teams at the end of a sprint. These demos are used to...
Release notes are documentation produced and distributed alongside a product update or launch. They typically describe what changes come with...
A release plan is a tactical document designed to capture and track the features planned for an upcoming release. A...
A retrospective is a meeting held after a product ships to discuss what happened during the product development and release process, with the goal of improving things in the future based on those learnings and conversations.
RICE Scoring Model
The RICE scoring model is a framework designed to help product managers determine which products, features, and other initiatives to prioritize on their roadmaps by scoring these items according to four factors. These factors, which form the acronym RICE, are reach, impact, confidence, and effort.
Scaled Agile Framework
The Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe, methodology is an agile framework for development teams built on three pillars: Team, Program,...
Scope creep refers to the process by which the breadth of a project slowly increases over time. It is a...
Scrum Agile Framework
In an agile context, Scrum is an approach to project management. Typically the Scrum agile framework favors moving projects forward...
A scrum master is a facilitator for an agile team working under the scrum methodology. The scrum master serves as a point person responsible for understanding the big development picture of each sprint.
Scrum meeting is a catch-all term for the various different meetings practiced by agile scrum teams. Examples of scrum meetings...
Shape Up Method
What is the Shape Up Method? The Shape Up Method describes the specific processes used by product development teams to...
What is a Shipyard Engine? A shipyard engine describes a product team’s process to keep its organization informed about the...
What is an Agile Sprint? In agile methodology, a sprint is a period (e.g., 14 days) in which an agreed-upon...
What Is a Sprint Backlog? A sprint backlog is the set of items that a cross-functional product team selects from...
In the scrum methodology for agile, sprint goals are clear objectives set before the beginning of a sprint. They are...
What Is Sprint Planning? In the Scrum agile framework, a sprint planning meeting is an event that establishes the product...
Stakeholders are individuals (or groups) that can either impact the success and execution of a product, or are impacted by...
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 daily standup is a quick session where each member of the team shares what they accomplished yesterday, what they’ll...
What is Story Mapping? Story mapping is a method for arranging user stories to create a more holistic view of...
A story point is a unit of measurement used by development teams to estimate the amount of effort required to...
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.
Technical Product Manager
A technical product manager (PM) is a product manager with a strong technical background that is typically focused on the...
A theme in product management is a high-level objective for the product, usually built on a related set of features...
Top-Down Product Strategy
A top-down product strategy is one where high-level objectives and a long-term vision are defined first and then used to...
Total Addressable Market (TAM)
Total Addressable Market (TAM) refers to the maximum size of the opportunity for a particular product or solution.
Unique Selling Proposition
A product’s unique selling proposition (USP), is its unique competitive advantage, or the reason a customer would select the product over any other option. Generally, USPs are communicated as benefits to the customer or user.
What is Usability Testing? Usability testing is a technique to evaluate how easy or difficult users find a company’s product....
A use case is a hypothetical (but plausible) scenario showing how a product’s user might interact with the product to...
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...
User research is the discipline of learning about users’ needs and thought processes by studying how they perform tasks, observing how they interact with a product, or by using other data-driven strategies.
A user story is a small, self-contained unit of development work designed to accomplish a specific goal within a product. A user story is usually written from the user’s perspective and follows the format: “As [a user persona], I want [to perform this action] so that [I can accomplish this goal].”
The primary focus of a UX designer (short for User Experience Designer) is on overall user satisfaction and usability with a product. UX designers continually look for ways to improve how the product experience feels to the user — improvements such as making using the product faster, easier, or more intuitive.
What is a Value Proposition? A value proposition is a statement that identifies measurable benefits prospective customers can expect when...
Value vs. Complexity
Value vs. complexity is a prioritization framework that allows a product team to evaluate each initiative according to how much value the initiative will bring, and how difficult or complex it will be to implement. Initiatives are then plotted on a quadrant and prioritized accordingly.
Vanity metrics are statistics that look positive, but don’t necessarily translate to any meaningful business results. Examples include quantity of...
Velocity is a metric used to measure the speed of a development team’s delivery for a given cycle. Velocity is...
Waterfall is a long-term method of product development characterized by a sequential series of stages such as conception, initiation, analysis,...
Weighted scoring prioritization uses numerical scoring to rank your strategic initiatives against benefit and cost categories. It is useful for product teams looking for objective prioritization techniques that factor in multiple layers of data.
Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)
What is Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)? Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a tool used in the Scaled Agile...