How Product Managers Are Driving Enterprise Transformation
March 27, 2018

How Product Managers Are Driving Enterprise Transformation

by Brian de Haaff

The future of product management. I have written about this before. And I think that change really is here now — we see it happening with our customers at Aha! every day. Today’s product managers are more strategic, customer-centric, and team-oriented than ever before. Many are fundamentally changing the way their entire company thinks about its products and services.

Product managers are increasingly being recognized as superheroes. Confronting really big challenges every day and bringing meaningful solutions to people in need. Sitting at the epicenter of everything — yet handing off the credit to the team. Making the hard decisions that will lead to positive change for all.

Product managers today are doing more than building products — many of you are implementing transformations that impact your entire company.

There is a name for the strategic type of innovation and new product development that is happening on a widespread scale at many companies — I call it enterprise transformation.

In our digital-first world, customers expect to have more customization and everything delivered super fast. Product managers are delivering on that promise by helping their companies digitally enhance customer experiences, make better-informed decisions via the use of data, and deliver complete solutions.

We see these transformations first-hand with Aha! customers. And I have been writing a lot about enterprise transformation recently, specifically the three types that I described above. What I have not written about yet is what it takes to make these transformations happen.

It takes a willingness to change, a fresh mindset, and a huge effort to bring meaningful improvement to any organization. Enterprise transformation is often a multiyear effort that starts with an executive mandate. It is then handed off to the internal teams who bring it to life.

So now you can see why and how product managers play an essential role in enterprise transformation. For starters, product managers already have a deep understanding of customer needs and wants. They sit at the cross-functional intersection of their organizations. These folks are ideally positioned to lead and influence change everywhere.

But how do product managers take a mandate to “transform” the way products are built and delivered — to turn the t-word into customer happiness? With a new approach — one that recognizes those heightened expectations from customers and focuses on delivering an exceptional experience through what the team develops and delivers to market.

What do I mean, exactly? I mean that product managers are reframing how they think about customer challenges and how they solve them holistically. This means thinking more broadly about the customer’s journey. This means focusing on what we call the Complete Product Experience (CPE).

Product managers must make development decisions and long-term investments based on how the customer experiences every aspect of the product. They must also consider the teams that support it. This is different from how people looked at building product just a few years ago, when technology and internal projects to make the technology work were the main focus.

But it is not just up to product managers to embrace the new way. Every team in every part of the organization needs to get involved.

This is because the CPE requires looking at the complete end-to-end journey — not just the individual touch points. Yet the fact remains that product managers are the ones to rally the teams together to achieve a better future for customers and their business.

Do it right and the results are meaningful — a product customers love and lasting success for the team and the company.

How do you see product managers driving true enterprise transformation?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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