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Jillian Kaplan

Developing a Product Management Philosophy

Jillian Kaplan

  • Jul 15, 2020
  • 5 Min read
  • Jul 15, 2020
  • 5 Min read
Product Management
Value-driven Planning


There are many different philosophies of product management, and in this guide, we will discover the different ways you can manage a product as it gets ready to come to market. It is important to note that product management uses project management tools alongside product management tools. The product launch is often considered a project, and therefore project management methodologies must be used in order to deploy the product.

Product management philosophies are not defined the same way as many other philosophies, but are most often a combination of different thoughts and ideas. They are unique to the individual and the product itself.

Core Competencies

As you develop your philosophy as a product manager, your need to realize you are the guide for the product from idea to launch. So what are some of the core competencies that you can expect as your overall product management philosophy forms?

  • User testing and experience
  • Road-map planning
  • Running product sprints
  • Defining the KPIs (key performance indictors)
  • Tracking success
  • Translating business to technical requirements and back
  • Communicating value proposition

These core competencies and understandings of what is expected will also help you decide on product and project management tools as part of your philosophy.

Product Management Tools

When we talk about product management tools, we are mostly talking about software to help you track the product from idea to launch. There are many options for this. Some you might have heard of are:

  • Confluence
  • Trello
  • Monday
  • Asana

And there are many more. These product management tools help product managers work with their stakeholders and ensure the product stays on track. A product manager’s job is to ensure that all of their stakeholders stay on course for a launch and understand exactly what the product does, why it does it, and where it is going.

Project Management Tools

Project management methodologies are used for several functions, including managing the product, portfolio, or project to create efficiency.

When you are choosing a project management tool to manage your product, there are many things to consider:

  • Team
  • Product
  • Organization
  • Stakeholders

There may also be others depending on the organization's size and scope. However, many organizations choose to one project management tool for all launches.

There are countless methods of project management, but a few examples you may have heard of are:

  • Agile: One of the more recognizable project management methodologies, Agile is best suited for projects that are continual and incremental. With Agile you can pivot quickly and change course. Hence the name—it is an agile solution for a product launch. This is a great tool for products that may change quickly and need to be constantly evaluated. However, there is a lot of collaboration and communication required, and it’s not always a clear path to the finish.
  • Waterfall: One of the more traditional project management methodologies, Waterfall is a linear project management method. It is very traditional in that a product launch goes in a sequential fashion. Waterfall tends to be higher risk as it is very rigid, and unlike Agile methodology, you cannot adapt it quickly. However, Waterfall can get the job done and is best suited for clean, simple products that need the quickest path to launch.
  • Lean: Lean methodology is just that—it is lean. It really focuses on customer value while trying to minimize extra work and "hands in the pot" when it comes to a product deployment.

There are mor than 20 methods of project management you can use for a product launch, but these three are well known and show that the scope varies greatly. It is important to note that there are subsets of these tools, as well—hybrids where you can take pieces of each and make them work for a particular launch.

A project management method is needed when working on a launch. This level of organization is paramount to ensure that projects, including launches, go smoothly.


Product management is not a well-defined role. The tasks and scope vary greatly, and there can be many different types of product managers depending on a company's needs, size, and types of products. In fact, product managers do not exist in every industry. They are seen most often in technology, as the products are complex and involve a ton of innovation.

There are named tools for managing the progress of both products and projects, but there are really no named philosophies for product management. That is because a product manager’s philosophy involves combining these tools to ensure the success of their product. The philosophy for one product launch may change for the next product launch. However, the end goal of a successful product that customers love should never change.