Tuesday 7 December 2021

How product managers can resolve problems in project?

I believe that many new people who have just come into contact with the product must have searched the question "what is the difference between product manager and project management?".

In many small companies, project managers and product managers are both part-time. this often gives the impression that the project manager and the product manager work in the same nature. at the same time in the invisible also pull down the project manager and product manager work professionalism, giving a "job difficulty is not high, any one can do" illusion.

I also thought at first that the project manager was just controlling the progress of the project, and the product manager could certainly work as the project manager. but after really working, especially after doing so many projects on my own, i found that product managers and project managers were completely different types of work. and the work of product managers and project managers is equally professional, it is difficult to simply let a person do both.

Many people think that the product manager's job is simply to draw prototypes and organize reviews. but no, product managers are actually very busy throughout the project process. 


In the early stage of the project, the product manager needs to sink his mind to user research, thinking about the program, output a variety of documents, confirm the basic program, need to organize all kinds of review, according to feedback from all parties to constantly improve the program.

Of course, this is still in the case of plenty of time, if not enough time, product managers should be more busy to double:

  • when the solution enters development, the product needs to constantly answer the questions of development and testing, and in the face of unexpected technical problems, it is necessary to give quick alternatives.
  • at the end of the project development, the product manager will need to work with the test to identify the problem.
  • the project is online, the product manager also needs to be in the present (stay) field (night) branch (accompanied) holding (companion).
  • after the night, the product manager can not be like development, testing, direct leave of absence, product manager also need to struggle to do some follow-up work, such as input data, output training manual and so on.
  • all of this is said to show that the product manager is very busy throughout the project. product work has left product managers scratching their heads, not to mention freeing up energy to control project progress and coordinate project member communication throughout the project. if the product manager works as a project manager, he or she is bound to distract himself from his work. so i think the product manager and the project manager should separate, each of their duties, so that the project better and faster to get on the line.

But that doesn't mean the product manager doesn't need to know or be responsible for project management. most project managers are responsible for multiple projects at the same time, and he can only control the overall progress of the project. in the course of the project, some project managers are not responsible for the "blank period" of the time period, the product manager needs to intervene to help develop, test and solve the problem quickly and effectively.

Project managers in project management, the management of the role of products, development, testing, operations and so on all roles. unlike the project manager to control the overall situation, the product manager in the project management direction, more inclined to the product and development, testing cooperation process of self-management and product direction control.

Waterfall development and agile development

There are two well-known development methods: waterfall development and agile development.

Waterfall development is a traditional, old development that requires strict adherence to the sequence of steps for pre-planned requirements, analysis, design, development, and testing. the results of each step are used as a measure of progress, such as the product manager's prd, the results of the analysis are the development and design analysis documents, the results of the development are of course the development team's development progress, and so on.

Waterfall development follows established steps and strictly defines the inputs and outputs of each stage of development. at the same time in the project process, pay attention to the presentation and retention of documents. whether it's product or development testing, documentation is retained at each stage, so that requirements are tracked.

In practice, however, many companies now adopt a fast iterative approach to their products, following the MVP principles mentioned in Lean Startup:


 "The development team obtains user feedback by providing minimized viable products and continues to iterate quickly on this minimized viable product until the product reaches a relatively stable stage."

At that time, waterfall development appears to be too orderly, rigid process. More flexible agile development is popular. Among them, the most famous Scrum Agile Development is adopted by many companies. Agile development emphasizes flexibility and takes advantage of each developer to mobilize everyone's enthusiasm for work.

There are three main roles in Scrum Agile Development: Owner Product, Scrum Master( Process Administrator), and Scrum Team. 


Develop based on a list of product requirements, along with short meetings throughout the development process to learn about each member's previous day's work and the issues they encountered. Through this small structure of meeting and management, the entire project progress control. 

Scrum Agile development is more flexible, with more emphasis on each member's involvement and understanding of the project.

Waterfall development only requires the project manager to control the entire project process, while agile development is the product owner, process manager, development leader to form a "three-legged" form, the entire project control.

Problems that the product manager encountered in the project


In the project development process, and development, testing cooperation process, product managers are easy to encounter some problems. this time it is necessary for the product manager to adjust the communication process in a timely manner according to the actual situation.

Question 1: developers don't look at prds seriously

In project development, there will be some development do not look seriously at prd, the program and details are not understood. this leads to frequent development and testing of product managers to confirm requirements during the development process. this not only upsets the product staff, but also affects the overall development efficiency and quality of the development.

There are many reasons why developers do not seriously look at prd, one is the reason for personal habits, like to write first with the feeling, when the test side of the problem and then change;

In a "blank module" that the project manager cannot control, the product manager can optimize the process in a small structure. prior to the review, the product manager should send the prd out in advance, giving development and testing time to study and analyze the prd, so that some important issues can be exposed in advance during the review.

After the review meeting organized by the project manager is complete, the product manager should find the development and tester of the corresponding module and lead a small meeting to explain the functions and business logic on prd in more detail to the development and testing.

This time due to the small number of meetings, and are specific personnel, this time we can put their own questions and prd questions raised, product collection feedback, follow-up as soon as possible to improve prd.

Question 2: product, development, test messages are not coordinated

In the development process, it is often the case that the test finds the product reflects a problem, the product to the test answer, the product then go to tell the development, determine and then tell the test. conversely, if there is a development problem, the product also needs to be constantly notified of the test.

In the process of communicating this message, the product manager is largely a microphone. this not only greatly distracts the product manager, but also makes others mistakenly assume that the product is a message, weakening the product manager's professionalism.

When you encounter a minor problem, you can simply notify. but slightly more complex issues are prone to misinformation when communicating. therefore, in discussing the problem, we should put the relevant development and testing together to discuss the current situation of the problem and solutions. in this process, the product can understand the technical difficulty of development, development can also know the product's scenario thinking.

In this way, the probability of product communication is reduced, and the efficiency of message collaboration is improved.

Of course, at the time of development, the requirements for any changes should be identified and posted in the project team to notify all project members.

Question 3: how to make the solution known to people outside the product

In Scrum Agile Development, the product owner needs to describe The User Story in The Product Backlog.

I think the product in the development, testing to explain the requirements, functions, need to make good use of User Story, so that development, testing has a sense of sub-generation to agree with the reasonableness of this need. 


In particular, the needs of SaaS products, development, testing itself is not a user, users do not understand, it is difficult to understand the user's ideas and needs. This time, the product needs to describe the user story to them, so that they know more about the design ideas of the solution.

For example:

Development asked me why the small program butler's new band look function can complement the previous new tape to see, the significance of this supplement is where, forget to submit the tape to see forget, anyway, take the look also does not count into the business.

I told him at the time: if the tenant is not interested in the house after looking at the house, then there is really no problem with not re-recording the task, no impact on the whole system. but if the tenant finishes reading the house, he wants to sign it up. the prerequisite for signing a contract at present is to have a record of taking a look. 


At that time the task of making up the video is necessary. so the supplementary video to see the mouth of this task is to keep.

In the face of some functions that do not conform to the general understanding, the product manager needs to give a specific, existing scenario when describing. this makes it easy for people to understand the design of this feature.


In fact, the product manager in the project management, is to let the development, testing can quickly and accurately understand the requirements and changes. 


The main project management, of course, is the project manager to preside over, the product manager is only auxiliary project manager, to fill the project on the management gaps of the product.

Of course, these suggestions are not necessarily entirely correct, after all, the management of this matter needs to be adjusted according to different people. 


The product managers should implement different management methods in real projects, according to the specific situation of development and testers.

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