Product Expert David Fradin on Product Manager Skills
With more than 40 years in product management, David Fradin is among the most accomplished and celebrated product experts in the world. In spite of groundbreaking innovations and increasing access to innovative products, many new product companies fail before they can ever reach scale. As David explains, there are six key factors that will take your product to the next level and ensure success.
S.P.I.C.E.S. = Complete Product Manager
Over the past 40 years, my work as a product manager has taken me from the early days of HP to my current role in helping companies launch successful products.
Today, technology has taken product design and capabilities to incredible heights. However, in spite of groundbreaking innovations, there is still a high rate of failure with new product introductions. For example, about 40 percent of new product launches will fail every year. In total, this represents $600 billion in wasted resources.
Currently, my goal is to help any product manager be more effective in creating successful products. Through the years, I have created a mnemonic that I call “S.P.I.C.E.S.” This model includes six keys for success that enable product teams to launch products that will stand the test of time.
- As a product manager, you need to have a clear value proposition. In addition, you must have a full understanding of market conditions. Most importantly, product managers must ensure that the end customer is represented in the finished product. For example, it’s quite common for engineers to overstep and take too much control of this process. Ultimately, product managers need to focus on ensuring that customer needs are fully addressed.
- It’s very hard for a product manager to be successful without mature and repeatable processes. For example, one of my clients had launched five failed products in one year. The lead product manager described their team as having a “culture of failure.” As a result, it’s critical to cultivate a series of best practices with clear roles and responsibilities to ensure success.
- Every product professional needs access to quality data. Fortunately, there’s never been more information available at our fingertips. For example, big data and advanced metrics are now enabling product management teams to make informed decisions with greater efficiency.
- To launch successful products, you need to understand more your customer’s needs. Instead, you need to figure out how people perform daily tasks. For example, there are many best practices from cultural anthropology that will help identify behavioral habits. In other words, you need to interview and survey real people before you start to analyze any set of data.
- There are about 130 core competencies that product professionals must cover in order to create successful products. As a result, it’s important to invest in continuous training and learning in order to drive your business forward.
Systems & Tools.
- To use carpentry as an example, you shouldn’t try to drive a nail with a hacksaw. Often, the tools that product professionals use do not align with the needs of their target audience. For example, traditional Powerpoint presentations and Google Docs are not the best platforms for communicating ideas in today’s product landscape.