This is the third in a series on the role of the Platform Product Manager. In this article, editorial contributor Bharat Manglani discusses the unique and connected purview of the Platform Product Manager.

The paths of each product line within a portfolio eventually cross at the platform which connects them all. Use the relationships you build across business and technology teams to help identify cross-product issues early on and propose solutions. This will in turn help to elevate your own brand and influence.

Consider Your Holistic Product

As a Platform Product Manager, you have a unique opportunity to work at the intersection of multiple product line paths. This provides you with an invaluable and unique view of each product line’s journey. Take note of each product’s maturity, growth trajectory, customer base, and points of friction. Which product lines have been able to gain wider adoption, and why? Which customer teams do each product line typically sell into, and who are the ultimate end users? Do the customer journeys of some product lines seem smoother than the others? These key questions will help you to draw your organization’s holistic product health picture and discover strengths and weaknesses.

With these observations and data points in hand, take stock of connections. Are there commonalities between the engaged customer teams and their use cases? Are there instances where customers purchase multiple product lines? The cross-product initiatives you led may help reveal insights or provide you with a sense of whom to reach out to in order to learn more. As you collate and analyze the answers to these questions, remember to take an objective view rather than inviting bias from others’ opinions. 

Dig Into Potential Product Gaps

Take a moment to reflect on the core customer problems that each product line aims to solve. Based on your observations, how well do they seem to be helping customers address those problems? 

Let’s take an example of a customer dashboard that allows customers to view reports from each product line. Depending on their specific use case, customers may use the reports for a variety of reasons. One may be to view performance highlights and trends. Another may be to take specific actions when there is a dip in performance. In the latter case, users may need to log in to the dashboard and monitor data throughout the day to check for a potential dip. If the dip occurs, then the customer would take the necessary mitigative action.

Even if these reports are extremely thorough and insightful, they still require customers to monitor the dashboard throughout the day for performance impacts. This takes up valuable time that users could be spending on other more strategic activities. Now consider if this was occurring with each product line; the valuable time wasted would increase by several multiples. How might we be able to conserve precious user time across the entire product portfolio? 

Share Low Hanging Fruit

Upon further discovery, you might learn that user feedback and best practices suggest providing users with configurable alerts. This way they can be notified when a performance decrease reaches a threshold they specified. Your connected purview enables you to see this trend across each product’s users. You will also be able to vet the idea by conducting discovery in your cross-product discussions. Then leverage the momentum you gain to start testing in the field. For instance, you could identify a select group of customers and gauge their interest, and move forward accordingly. 

Regardless of the outcome, you will have successfully empathized with users and identified cross-product improvement opportunities. You will also be scaling your impact across the organization and customer base. This is just one of the many rewarding aspects of the unique and connected perspective provided by the journey of the Platform Product Manager.

About the speaker
Bharat Manglani HUMAN, Product Manager Contributor

Bharat Manglani is a Senior Product Manager at Zefr, an ad tech company focused on enabling content-level targeting and measurement across the world’s largest walled garden platforms. He was also a Product Manager at Human Security, a cybersecurity company focused on verifying the humanity of transactions over the Internet and disrupting the economics of cybercrime. Currently, he manages Zefr\'s reporting and analytics products, and his passion lies in protecting the Internet by helping to identify brand unsafe content.

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