Blogs > Product Management Training
By Louise Cantrill - Head of Consultancy
The term "Suite" is commonly used in technology, but often confused
with "Platform" or “Portfolio". Each
have a distinct meaning: that is worth clarifying:
A platform is a foundational technology or infrastructure that provides a
basis for the development of other applications, services, or solutions. It
often includes tools, resources, and services that enable developers to build
upon it. Platforms can be used to create a variety of applications, and they
are known for their extensibility, flexibility, and ability to integrate with
other systems. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing
platform that offers various services like computing, storage, and databases,
allowing businesses to build and run their applications.
A portfolio typically refers to a
collection or group of products, services, or assets offered by a company.
These products or services may not necessarily be directly related but are part
of the company's overall offerings. A portfolio can encompass a wide range of
solutions within a company's business, representing its diversity and breadth.
For example, a technology company might have a portfolio that includes hardware
devices, software products, cloud services, and consulting services.
A suite refers to a collection of
software applications or tools that are bundled together and typically sold as
a package. These applications within the suite are often designed to work
seamlessly with each other, sharing data and offering a unified user
experience. Suites are usually centred around a specific theme or
functionality, such as office productivity suites (e.g., Microsoft Office) or
creative design suites (e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud). The goal is to provide a
comprehensive solution that covers a range of related tasks.
For the purposes of this document, we will use this definition of Suite.
Managing a product and managing a product suite are distinct roles, each
with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. Here are the key
differences between the two:
Managing a Product:
Focus on a Single Offering: Product management typically involves overseeing the development and management of a single product or service. The product manager is dedicated to ensuring the success and optimization of that specific offering.
Narrow Scope: The scope of the role is narrower and more focused on the individual product, its features, and its market positioning.
Sole Responsibility: The product manager is responsible for making decisions related to their product, from its conception to its release and ongoing improvement.
Goal Alignment: The primary goal is to ensure that the product meets customer needs, generates revenue, and aligns with the company's strategic objectives.
a Product Suite:
· Managing Multiple Interrelated Products: Product suite management involves overseeing a collection of related products or services that work together to provide a comprehensive solution. This includes coordinating the development, integration, and alignment of multiple products.
Broader Scope: The scope of the role is broader, as it encompasses not only individual products but also how they interact and complement each other.
Coordination and Integration: The suite product manager is responsible for ensuring that the various products within the suite are well-coordinated and integrated, providing a seamless user experience.
Resource Allocation: Resource allocation may be more complex, as it involves distributing resources across multiple products to support the suite's development.
Strategic Planning: Suite managers need to develop a cohesive strategy for the entire suite, considering how the individual products fit together and how they collectively serve the target market.
Communication and Advocacy: Suite managers must communicate the value of the entire suite, both internally and externally, and advocate for the suite's benefits.
A PRODUCT SUITE: THE HABITS FOR SUCCESS
There are 10 habits that underpin Suite success from a Product Managers perspective:
Developing a Cohesive Strategy/vision
Managing a product suite begins with crafting a cohesive strategy that
defines the suite's purpose, target market, and its role within the company's
broader portfolio. This strategy should consider the unique value proposition
of each product and how they work together to meet customer needs.
Defining a suite architecture.
A suite architecture is a structured collection of software applications
designed to work together seamlessly. These applications share data and often
serve a common purpose or industry. By integrating various tools, a suite
architecture offers a comprehensive solution, streamlining tasks and enhancing
productivity for users in specific domains like office productivity or creative
Creating Cross-Product roadmaps
A well-defined product roadmap is essential for managing a suite
effectively. It outlines the development and release schedule for individual products
within the suite, ensuring they are synchronized to deliver maximum value.
Product managers should prioritize features and enhancements that support the
suite's overarching goals.
Conducting Market Research
Understanding the market and customer needs is critical. Each product
within the suite may cater to different segments, and it's crucial to gather
data, feedback, and insights to make informed decisions. Regular market
research keeps product managers in tune with evolving customer preferences and
market trends. Research is likely to be conducted by regional/market experts
and collated by the suite owner.
Fostering Cross-Product Coordination
Products within a suite should work seamlessly together. Encourage
cross-team collaboration to ensure integration, consistency, and
interoperability among products. This coordination is vital for providing a
comprehensive solution to customers and maintaining a positive user experience.
(holistic User journeys, suite of standard personas with market variants)
Efficient Resource Allocation
Managing a product suite also involves resource management. This includes
budgeting, team allocation, and ensuring that the necessary resources are
allocated to support the suite's development and maintenance. Resource
allocation should be aligned with the suite's strategic goals.
Suite prioritization is the process of determining the order in which
software features or test cases are addressed. It helps maximize efficiency by
focusing on critical functionalities first, ensuring that the most important
aspects are tested or developed early in a project, improving overall product
quality and time management.
Facilitate Stakeholder Communication
Effective communication is key to the success of a product suite. Product
managers act as liaisons between various internal teams, including engineering,
marketing, and sales. Keeping all stakeholders informed and aligned regarding
the suite's progress, challenges, and goals is vital.
Monitor Performance Metrics
Regularly monitoring and analysing
performance metrics is essential. Track KPIs and set OKRs for both the suite as a whole
and its individual products. This data provides insights into customer
satisfaction, market penetration, and areas for improvement.
Product managers should promote the
suite's value both internally and externally, fostering a sense of pride and
enthusiasm within the organization and conveying the suite's benefits to
customers, partners, and the market.
If you would like help in building out
the skills within your team to manage suites, or products please let us know we
are here to help. We would love to help you build product excellence.
We enable product managers to drive success.Established in 2003, Tarigo has built an enviable reputation for delivering high-quality training and consultancy solutions to product managers throughout Europe and the USA.
Our fresh approach to product management training has proven incredibly successful and our capability to adapt to clients’ training and consultancy needs has only helped to further this success.