Great products are the lifeblood of every companyーwhether small or large. But with limited resources and a relatively small team, what is a small business owner to do? There are many answers and not everyone works for every type of business owner. But the answer more small business owners are turning to these days is a simple one: agile product management.
Small business owners often struggle to do more with less. It is, therefore, not surprising that more small business owners are opting for product management frameworks that make them more efficient and profitable.
Truth is, traditional product management has a far less flexible approach and usually comes with large overheads. As a result, they are hardly beneficial for small businesses that cannot afford to spend a lot of time in planning.
What is Agile Product Management?
With traditional product management, once requirements for a particular product are defined and handed to the development team, it’s nearly impossible to make changes. This means product teams only build and deliver products according to the specifications of the product owner. It also means the product team only delivers new functionality at a later stage in the development process.
With this lengthy approach to building and delivering products, product managers, therefore, need a way to adapt to customer feedback and in the end, build products their customers love.
Agile product management provides a more flexible approach than traditional product planning and development.
The idea behind agile product management is for product managers to plan and create product roadmaps in an agile setting.
The agile approach to product management encourages an adaptive and flexible approach to planning product development, team collaboration, and incremental delivery. The goal is to ensure that companies can quickly respond to feedback and build great products.
Instead of trying to deliver the entire product at once near the end, agile product management ensures that products are built in short increments. This gives product managers the opportunity to adjust the plan along the way.
The agile methodology focuses on keeping the process lean and creating minimum viable products (MVPs) that go through several iterations before delivering the final product.
The agile method prioritizes teamwork by using incremental, iterative work sequences that are commonly known as sprints.
A sprint is a period of time allocated for a particular phase of a product when the entire team works together on the same phase at the same time. The idea is to capture changes, inspire best practices in each other, and empower team members to optimize products during their development.
Why do small businesses need agile product management?
While small businesses have fewer resources and smaller teams compared to larger organizations, they often use them reasonably. Here are some great benefits of using the agile methodology for small businesses.
Learn from customers
Customers are the lifeblood of every small business. Their needs and wants impact every aspect of a businessーfrom product development to marketing, to sales, and customer service.
For product managers, this means they need to be constantly learning from their customers and adapting their strategies based on what they learn. And agile product management provides an environment for product managers and their teams to continuously learn from customers throughout the product life-cycle.
Meet customers’ needs
Meeting customer needs is crucial for any business looking to retain and attract new customers. Above all, creating a product that truly speaks to the customers’ problems. And what better way to meet customer needs than through agile product management? For one thing, the flexibility brought about by agile product management allows product managers to continuously adjust their strategies until they meet the customer’s needs.
Deliver value in an incremental way
Incremental development involves breaking up the development plan into smaller, working pieces. Those pieces are then developed, implemented, and tested piece by piece. Rather than delaying feedback until final delivery when time and resources have already been spent, incremental development ensures that product teams can use feedback to make changes early and often. Agile product management provides an environment for incremental product development to thrive.
Respond quickly to new and changing requirements
If a company doesn’t address its customers’ changing needs quickly enough, its competitors will, and those customers may never come back. Because the agile method of managing products is so flexible, it is best suited to responding quickly to a customer’s new and changing requirements.
Collaborate better to deliver faster
Working in an agile environment requires workers to remain flexible and accommodate change. Agile teams embrace an iterative approach with the ability to adjust to the changing demands of both technology and customers. The mere fact that everyone is working on the same product phase (sprint) at any one time, allows for more efficiency and quick delivery.
Apart from the pressure of fast turnaround demands in today’s business climate, small businesses also face the challenges posed by tight budgets and fewer resources. It is, therefore, essential for them to optimize every aspect of the business, especially product management.
Being a highly incremental and iterative process, agile product management facilitates constant communication between the project team and the end-user. As such, this method is most ideal for smaller teams, businesses that need flexible environments, and those that need to deliver products at lightning speeds.
The priority, for agile product management, lies on developing the product, not on processes and tools, documentation, contract negotiation, and a strict plan.
To adopt the agile product management framework, small businesses need to ensure that their employees are able to make independent decisions. That their employees are ready to collaborate and work as part of the team.
The decision to adopt such a solution, however, depends primarily on each business’s requirements. If the business wants a solution that improves product quality and allows external stakeholders to know what’s happening, agile is the answer.
Are you a product manager who needs help transitioning to the agile method of managing products? Book a free consultation with Makonjo and let’s transform your product management process to a simple process that continuously delivers scalable products your customers love.
Before you leave, we have a question for you: Are you using agile product management in your small business? If not, what’s stopping you?