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Friday, March 6, 2015

Another Product Management Elevator Pitch


Gabriel Steinhardt of Blackblot recently had the great idea publishing an elevator pitch for product management. Being prepared to describe the value we add concisely and convincingly is, without a doubt, a great idea. As you can imagine, each of us has our own way of pitching what we do, which is probably a good thing. The fact is, different audiences need different pitches, depending on a myriad of factors including the motivation and experience of the audience (as with any presentation!).

As a long-time product manager and now a consultant and trainer, I've given this type of pitch innumerable times. As I thought about my (up to now tacit) traditional spiel, I thought about what I consider the key requirements for a great pitch. A great elevator pitch on product management should:
  • Be brief. Hey, you're on an elevator and people are busy. Get to the point!
  • Underscore the strategic importance of the role. Talking about daily tasks and other minutia should be avoided. More here.
  • Communicate the key accountability(ies) of the role.
With these requirements in mind, I crafted my version of the product management elevator pitch (in a surprisingly short period of times and with few subsequent edits!):

"Everyone agrees that companies need a vision and strategy to guide their efforts and ensure expected business outcomes. In companies that sell products, a dedicated professional called a product manager is required to execute corporate strategy at the product level, ensuring investments in product development support the corporate vision and strategy. Product managers are experts at understanding market needs and turning ideas for solutions to these problems into products that customers can use, managing these product throughout their life cycle. Product managers are accountable for making the right product available to the right markets at the right time at a cost that supports business success."

A few comments and observations:
  • A piece of software becomes a product when it isdelivered to multiple customers in the same form and managed throughout its life cycle. More here.
  • The terms "vision" and "strategy" come from the OMG BusinessMotivation Model
  • This pitch probably applies to any organization that "sells" a "product" (not just commercial enterprises)
I've used some version of this pitch for some time and feel like it's been well received. In my mind, I met my own previously stated requirements. I was particularly happy I got it out in only 4 (admittedly lengthy) sentences!

What do you think of my elevator pitch? What's yours?

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