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Product Management: Product Excellence

What is Product Excellence?

Product excellence is a customer-focused framework for developing a significant or impactful product or feature and getting it to market quickly.

Achieving product excellence (PE) begins with keen user insight. You need to know what customers want, anticipate what they will need, and understand how they will use the new product or feature. This in-depth customer knowledge then informs good product design and reduces the resource drain of developing a feature or product that no one wants or that only benefits a small subset of users.

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PE provides a definite competitive advantage and enables organizations to innovate at a faster pace than ever before.

Here are a few examples of companies that have embraced a PE framework:

  • Google has made achieving PE a company-wide initiative, maintaining that product excellence is a culture, not a checklist.
  • Uber’s fleet of Product Operations Managers is responsible for getting out of the office and talking with as many customers and users as possible.
  • Tesla’s vision “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles” is transforming the company into a model for sustainable leadership.

Of course, not every product is destined to achieve PE, and sometimes failure is spectacular. Here’s a list of 155 product flops.

How Do You Create a Product Excellence Mindset?

Creating a PE mindset involves four key steps:

  1. Know your customer: Deep user insight informs product design and maximizes resources. Talk to customers and listen to what they have to say.
  2. Prioritize religiously: Establishing clear goals and adhering to a product strategy involves strict prioritization and transparency.
  3. Create a good product design: Making an impactful product or feature is central to achieving PE.
  4. Measure and improve: Carefully measuring PE should continue throughout the product life cycle with learnings applied to improve the product.

Why is a product roadmap key to achieving product excellence?

Going to market quickly with a great new product or feature doesn’t happen without the vision and leadership of a highly effective product manager. They must be able to articulate that leadership and vision efficiently to different groups and stakeholders. Therefore, a shared strategic product roadmap plays a central role in keeping stakeholders on the same page on all aspects of product development and speeds development cycles.

How do you run and maintain product excellence?

PE is a mindset that becomes a part of the company culture beyond short-term gains. As a result, an emphasis on PE helps increase shareholder value, energizes employees and customers, and builds brand strength. To be successful, PE must be part of the entire product creation process.

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