The Importance of Inbound Vs Outbound Product Management
Product management is a broad function – which requires its practitioners to understand the market problem and the ways their product can solve the problem. It’s quite common for organizations to split this broad spectrum of responsibilities between different departments so each can focus on their respective areas (inbound vs outbound). The product management function focusing on understanding the nature of a market problem and its relative priority is naturally outbound in nature – understanding the market trends, needs and resulting opportunities/challenges. The other product management function is to leverage your current product offering or enhance it to capitalize on the market opportunity. This is more inbound in nature. When the outbound and inbound product management functions are synchronized, you have a successful product for the right opportunity.
Inbound Product Management (Product Development)
Inbound product management team is responsible for ensuring that the solution developed by the team meets the identified problem. A good product development team ensures that the solution is cost-effective and solves the right problem. This requires an understanding of capabilities offered by the existing system. Sometimes, a creative use of an existing solution can solve the new problem without any additional effort. In situations where enhancements to an existing solution may be necessary, the product development team focuses on building a solution that solves the identified problem and evangelizes their solution to the stakeholders (including customers) to improve market adoption.
Outbound Product Management (Product Marketing)
Product Marketing team knows the pulse of the market. They are responsible for evaluating what their product does, how it solves market’s problems and how it does it better than the competition. While they are mostly responsible for educating the market about the company’s offerings, they are also acutely aware of what the market responds to – in other words, what the market needs. They regularly pass on any feedback or learning from their interactions with the market to the internal teams to help align the product road map with the prevalent market needs and problems.
Ensuring a synchronization between Inbound and Outbound
For a successful product, the Product managers need to be aware of both the bigger picture (the business problem) and the solution details (product design). When these responsibilities are divided among different teams (product marketing and product development), it is essential for the teams to work together to define a cohesive messaging of the solution offering. Without synergy in these two functions, you would either be building products that never get used by the intended audience, or you would be selling solutions that never existed! Either scenario spells trouble for a company – especially in a competitive space like technology.
Without appropriate tools, the teams can quickly develop operational silos that can hinder the collaboration.
OneDesk offers several tools that can help the product management teams focusing on specific areas to collaborate with each other in identifying problems and creating future product roadmaps, as well as handle the specific asks of their respective functions like managing ideas, requirement management as well as managing products and releases.
Photo Credit: “Origami Night” / Pithawat Vachiramon / CC BY