Idea management is the process of collecting & growing new ideas to solve existing problems & discover new opportunities. It is the cornerstone of product management. It’s the earliest stage of product development, where ideas are collected from around the company, evaluated & considered for the product roadmap.
Ideas come in different forms from around your product:
- Customer feedback
- Feature requests
- Product suggestions.
Managing these ideas means maintaining a backlog of ideas where you can identify innovative ideas, product review, evaluate & make strategic decisions around the ones you want to move forward with. You can then develop them into product specs & send them into development. Effective idea management is the result of making it as simple as possible for the developer to contribute to the future of his/her product.
Tips and Tricks for idea management
One of the more straightforward types of software management is for managing the software assets & acquisitions within companies that have larger Information Technology departments. The need to do this involves keeping track of software licenses, scheduling software upgrades, & keeping software subscription renewals current.
Developers have had policies in place since the software was first written for computers, that state when a program is purchased it is to be used on one computer & one computer only. To load a singular program onto more than its intended computer, against the policy, is called piracy. Software piracy carries stiff penalties & hefty fines for those who violate these standard software agreement terms. Developers are also keenly aware that the multiple computers, the business environment is optimal for potential violations to occur.
Proper Procedures = No Trouble
Long ago companies were put on high alert that the developers would be checking up on them, so it is now a routine part of the IT function to avoid any trouble by adhering to proper licensing procedures. For a company with a lot of computers, this is a big task. Software management in this vein involves (of all things!) software that aids the IT department in organizing their companies software licenses, scheduling of upgrades, & acquisitions.
Along with different lines, product management can involve the actual development and testing used in the process of producing new or updated software products. Managing multiple programmers, organizing debugging tests & results, programming rework & beta testing are some of the goals. However, this can also expand to production, packaging, & marketing functions as well, when a software product is scheduled for release.
What else does it do?
There is more still to the mysterious realm of product management. In larger businesses, they do what they do best, that sells the products or provides the services that they are in business to do. Often product management comes in the form of hiring a software product provider to install business software. From that, the developer trains the businesses employees in the use of the product, may maintain data backup systems, supply ongoing technical support, or install regular updates & add-ons. In other words, they provide management for the software they sell, hence product management. This type of management may be permanent, long-term or short-term depending on the situation & the needs of the purchasing company.
In the last use of the term, “product management,” we go back to the cloud management software issue first mentioned. Undeniably the phrases are used interchangeably in that product management can mean, “management via software,” as opposed to management via less efficient paper record keeping. While it would be the rare business that still operates sans computerization of some sort, the phrase still applies from the reference to times gone by.
Idea management software encompasses a huge variety of applications for businesses large & small. Inventories, customer data, order processing, invoicing, & those IT assets can all be streamlined for efficiency & accuracy using management software. Within those broader business functions, industry & task-specific software have been developed. These are custom tailored programs that cater to the little nuances that every different business has for the products & services they sell.
In conclusion, when referring to idea management know of what you speak or you might be poorly communicating with somebody, somewhere. You can save yourself a lot of time by knowing the lingo and using it correctly.