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Product Management

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Here’s How Your Ideas Shaped Wrike Product Updates in 2023
News 5 min read

Here’s How Your Ideas Shaped Wrike Product Updates in 2023

When we say we value customer feedback, we mean it! Here are some phenomenal product updates that started life as a user suggestion.

Essential Insights Into the Product Development Process
Marketing 10 min read

Essential Insights Into the Product Development Process

Prepare for launch with essential insights into the product development process.

Backlog Grooming: Definition, Benefits, and Best Practices
Project Management 5 min read

Backlog Grooming: Definition, Benefits, and Best Practices

Top backlog grooming best practices to supercharge your next product refinement session. Learn more about sprint grooming with Wrike.

A Product Manager’s New Friend: AI Has Entered the Chat (GPT)
Wrike TechClub 10 min read

A Product Manager’s New Friend: AI Has Entered the Chat (GPT)

Wrike’s Zosia Szczech explains how product managers can make the most of AI, including the pioneering Work Intelligence® solution.

Proof of Concept: Definition, Importance, and Examples
Project Management 10 min read

Proof of Concept: Definition, Importance, and Examples

Explore the significance of a proof of concept, its definition, and real-life examples. Learn how this crucial process validates ideas and drives innovation.

Navigating the Realm of Products Management: A Comprehensive Guide
Project Management 10 min read

Navigating the Realm of Products Management: A Comprehensive Guide

Product management is an essential function in any organization, playing a crucial role in the success and growth of a business. Whether you are a seasoned product manager or someone looking to break into this field, understanding the basics of product management is essential. This comprehensive guide will take you through the fundamentals, the product management process, and advanced strategies, providing you with valuable insights and techniques to navigate the realm of product management successfully. Understanding the Basics of Product Management Product management is crucial to businesses involving a range of strategic and tactical activities. It encompasses the development, marketing, and management of a product or service throughout its entire lifecycle. By understanding the basics of product management, businesses can effectively create and deliver products that meet customer needs and drive success. The Role of a Product Manager A product manager serves as the bridge between the business, customers, and the development team. First,  understanding customer needs lets manages gain insights on what customers actually want and need. They can accomplish this through market research, customer interviews, and data analysis. Second, defining product requirements involves translating customer needs into actionable specifications. This means gathering stakeholder feedback, conducting user testing, and iterating on the product to achieve the desired outcome. Third, prioritizing features requires making tough decisions about what to include in the product and what to leave out. By considering factors such as customer demand, market trends, and resource constraints, product managers can create a roadmap that outlines the sequence and timing of feature releases. Fourth, verifying that the final product aligns with the company's vision and goals is a key responsibility of product managers. They work closely with executives and other stakeholders to understand the strategic direction of the company so that the product supports these objectives. Lastly collaboration with cross-functional teams is essential to drive the product's success throughout its lifecycle. They work closely with engineering teams so that the product is developed according to specifications and quality standards, and collaborate with marketing teams to create effective go-to-market strategies and promotional campaigns.  Key Skills for Successful Product Management Having a solid understanding of business acumen is essential for product managers. They need to be able to analyze market dynamics, understand competitive landscapes, and identify opportunities for growth. By staying informed about industry trends and business strategies, product managers can make informed decisions that drive the product's success. Analytical thinking is also necessary, as it involves gathering and interpreting data to inform product decisions. They need to be able to analyze market research, customer feedback, and performance metrics to gain insights into product performance and identify areas for improvement. By using data-driven insights, product managers can make informed decisions that maximize the product's potential for success. Creativity is yet another important skill for product managers. They need to be able to think outside the box, come up with innovative solutions, and differentiate the product from competitors. By fostering a culture of creativity and encouraging diverse perspectives, product managers can drive product innovation and create unique value propositions. Effective communication is another ability to sharpen. Product managers need to be able to clearly articulate the product's value proposition to stakeholders and communicate complex ideas in a simple and compelling manner, whether it's to executives, developers, or customers. By being able to effectively communicate the product's vision, features, and benefits, product managers can gain buy-in and support from stakeholders. Strong leadership skills are essential as well, as product managers need to be able to inspire and motivate cross-functional teams. They must set clear goals, provide guidance and support, and hold teams accountable for delivering results. By being an effective leader, product managers can foster a collaborative and high-performing environment that drives the product's success. Moreover project management skills are crucial for product managers, as they need to be able to coordinate and prioritize tasks across multiple teams and stakeholders. They need to be able to create and manage project plans, set realistic timelines, and ensure that all tasks are completed on schedule. By effectively managing the product development process, product managers can ensure that the product is delivered on time and within budget. Lastly, problem-solving skills are also critical for product managers, as they need to be able to overcome challenges and find solutions to complex problems. They need to be able to think critically, analyze root causes, and develop strategies to address issues. By being a proactive problem solver, product managers can navigate obstacles and keep the product development process on track. The Product Management Process The product management process is a comprehensive and iterative approach that involves several stages, each crucial for the successful development and launch of a product.  Idea Generation and Market Research The first stage of the product management process is idea generation and market research. This is where product managers brainstorm and identify potential product ideas that align with the company's goals and customer needs. To make informed decisions, they conduct extensive market research, analyzing customer behavior, preferences, and pain points. They also assess the competitive landscape, studying competitor products, pricing, and marketing strategies. By gathering these insights, product managers can prioritize ideas and select the most promising ones to move forward with. During this stage, product managers may engage in activities such as customer interviews, focus groups, and surveys to gain a deeper understanding of customer needs and preferences. They also keep a close eye on industry trends, technological advancements, and market dynamics to ensure their product ideas are relevant and timely. Product Development and Design Once an idea is selected, the product development and design phase begins. In this stage, product managers work closely with cross-functional teams, including engineers, designers, and stakeholders, to define product requirements and create prototypes. They collaborate with the development team to bring the product to life, so that it meets customer needs, adheres to technical specifications, and aligns with the overall product strategy. Product managers play a vital role in bridging the gap between the business and technical aspects of product development. They facilitate effective communication and decision-making, ensuring that the product's features and functionalities are well-defined and implemented. They also consider factors such as scalability, usability, and regulatory compliance during this stage. Product Launch and Marketing After product development, the focus shifts towards product launch and marketing. Product managers play a crucial role in developing go-to-market strategies, creating product positioning and messaging, and coordinating with marketing and sales teams to generate awareness and drive demand. During this stage, product managers work closely with the marketing team to develop marketing campaigns, promotional materials, and sales enablement tools. They conduct market segmentation to identify target customer segments and tailor marketing efforts accordingly. Pricing strategies are also determined, considering factors such as production costs, competitive pricing, and perceived value. Effective communication and collaboration with various stakeholders are especially essential during the product launch and marketing stage. Product managers gather feedback from customers and sales teams, monitor market trends, and adapt marketing tactics to optimize product performance and maximize customer adoption. Post-Launch Product Evaluation Once the product is launched, product managers shift their focus to post-launch product evaluation. This stage involves monitoring the product's performance and conducting evaluations to gather insights and identify areas for improvement. Product managers track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales revenue, customer acquisition, and customer satisfaction to assess the product's success. They analyze customer feedback, both positive and negative, to understand user behavior, identify pain points, and uncover opportunities for enhancement. Additionally, product managers keep a close eye on market trends and competitive intelligence to stay ahead of the curve. They leverage data-driven insights to make informed decisions about product updates, feature enhancements, and future iterations. The post-launch product evaluation stage is crucial for continuous improvement and maintaining a competitive edge. Product managers collaborate with cross-functional teams to implement necessary changes, address customer pain points, and capitalize on opportunities for growth. Advanced Product Management Strategies Here are several tips for advanced product management. Managing Product Life Cycle  Product managers need to understand how products evolve over time, from the introduction phase to growth, maturity, and eventually decline. By implementing appropriate strategies at each stage, such as product diversification, pricing adjustments, and product extensions, product managers can maximize the product's lifespan and maintain continued market relevance. Product Portfolio Management Product portfolio management involves analyzing the performance of individual products within the portfolio, determining resource allocation, and implementing strategies to optimize the overall portfolio's value. By balancing investments, prioritizing high-potential products, and sunset or divesting low-performing offerings, product managers can ensure a well-managed and profitable product portfolio. Risk Management in Product Development Product managers need to identify and mitigate potential risks that could impact the product's success, including technical challenges, market uncertainties, or unforeseen customer reactions. By conducting thorough risk assessments, creating contingency plans, and fostering a culture of agility and adaptability, product managers can reduce the likelihood of setbacks and navigate challenges effectively. Lessons from Failed Product Management Failures in product management can be equally valuable in terms of lessons learned and knowledge gained. By studying failed products and understanding the pitfalls and challenges faced by other organizations, product managers can avoid making similar mistakes. These case studies shed light on the importance of proper market research, customer validation, iterative development, and the need to iterate and pivot when necessary. In conclusion, navigating the realm of product management requires a solid understanding of the fundamentals, the product management process, and advanced strategies. By incorporating these insights into your product management practices, you can enhance your skills, make informed decisions, and drive the success of your products in the highly competitive market landscape. Sail smoothly in the realm of product management with Wrike's comprehensive guide. Try our platform for free and lead your product teams to success. Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

Mastering Product Lifecycle Management for Success
Project Management 10 min read

Mastering Product Lifecycle Management for Success

Mastering product lifecycle management (PLM) is essential for companies aiming for success. By understanding the key stages and implementing effective strategies, businesses can streamline their operations and maximize the potential of their products. However, navigating the complexities of PLM can be challenging. From understanding the concept to addressing market dynamics, this article will explore all aspects of PLM and provide valuable insights for businesses aiming to excel in this field. Understanding Product Lifecycle Management At its core, product lifecycle management (PLM) refers to the process of managing a product from its conception to its retirement. It encompasses various disciplines, including product development, supply chain management, marketing, and customer service. PLM allows companies to optimize their resources, reduce time to market, and enhance product quality. Effective product lifecycle management provides numerous benefits for companies. It enables businesses to align their products with market demands, optimize resource allocation, and improve decision-making. By systematically managing each stage of a product's life, organizations can maximize profitability, customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage. Key Stages of Product Lifecycle A product's lifecycle can be divided into four distinct stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Understanding these stages is crucial for developing appropriate strategies and allocating resources effectively. Introduction Stage First, a product is launched into the market. This is an exciting time for companies as they embark on a journey to bring their innovative ideas to life. They focus on generating awareness, building brand reputation, and attracting early adopters. Investments are made in research and development to ensure that the product meets the needs and desires of the target market. Marketing campaigns are carefully crafted to create a buzz and generate curiosity among potential customers. Market research also plays a vital role in gaining insights into consumer preferences and refining the product to meet their expectations. During this stage, companies face numerous challenges. They need to educate the market about the product's features, benefits, and unique selling points in order to create a strong brand identity that resonates with their target audience. Building trust and credibility is a must-have to gain a foothold in the market. They must strive to achieve this while carefully managing their resources and budgets. Growth Stage Next, sales of the product begin to increase rapidly. Market penetration expands as the product gains acceptance and recognition. Companies strive to capitalize on this momentum by scaling production, diversifying distribution channels, and enhancing customer support. Overall, this stage is an exciting time for businesses as they witness their product gaining traction and market share. As competition intensifies during the growth stage, companies need to stay ahead of the curve and continuously monitor market trends and consumer preferences to identify opportunities for improvement. Product enhancements are made to maintain market share and meet evolving customer needs. Businesses also focus on building strong relationships with their clients, providing excellent after-sales service, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Maturity Stage Then, the organization enjoys a period of stable sales and market saturation. At this point, the product has reached its peak level of acceptance and market share. The competition reaches its peak as numerous companies offer similar products and vie for the attention of consumers. In order to stand out in a crowded market, businesses need to differentiate their offerings. During this stage, companies focus on customer retention and loyalty by investing in strategies to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain profitability. They may explore opportunities in new markets or product variants to extend the product's lifecycle and may even constantly innovate and adapt to changing market dynamics to stay relevant. Decline Stage Lastly, sales begin to decline due to market saturation, changing consumer preferences, or the introduction of superior alternatives. This can be a challenging phase for companies as they face the inevitable decline of their once-popular product. At this point, they need to evaluate their options and make strategic decisions. Some may choose to discontinue the product and focus their resources on new ventures. Others may opt to invest in repositioning or revitalizing efforts to breathe new life into the product. Companies may also explore partnerships or collaborations to salvage the product's value. Regardless of the chosen path, the decline stage serves as a valuable learning experience for companies. It highlights the importance of continuous innovation, market research, and staying attuned to consumer preferences. It also emphasizes the need for organizations to be agile and adaptable in an ever-changing business landscape. The Stages in Greater Detail Now, let's delve deeper into the different stages of product lifecycle management: 1. Ideation After extensive brainstorming and generating of ideas to address a specific market need or problem, the product concept is born. Companies conduct market research, gather feedback from potential customers, and explore various design possibilities. For example, a team of engineers and designers might collaborate to come up with innovative features or functionalities that would differentiate the product from competitors. 2. Design Once the product concept is defined, the next stage is design. This requires translating the ideas into tangible product specifications. Designers create detailed drawings, 3D models, and prototypes to visualize and refine the product's form, function, and aesthetics. They must take into account factors such as manufacturability, cost-effectiveness, and regulatory compliance, and it is sometimes necessary to collaborate with manufacturing partners or suppliers to ensure the feasibility and efficiency of the design. 3. Production After the design is finalized, the product moves into the production stage. This is where the actual manufacturing process takes place. Organizations set up production lines, source raw materials, and establish quality control measures to guarantee consistent product quality. As each business will operate differently, they can approach production via mass or batch production or custom or lean manufacturing. 4. Distribution Once the products are manufactured, they need to be distributed to customers. Distribution channels can vary depending on the target market and product type. Companies may use a combination of direct sales, retail partnerships, e-commerce platforms, or distributors to reach their customers. They must take care of their logistics and inventory to deliver on time, process orders accurately, and provide customer support during this stage. 5. Disposal Eventually, products reach the end of their lifecycle and need to be disposed of responsibly. Disposal can involve recycling, repurposing, or proper disposal of hazardous materials. Businesses must comply with environmental regulations and strive to minimize their impact on the environment through product take-back programs that promote recycling and taking care of the environment. Implementing Product Lifecycle Management Implementing effective product lifecycle management requires careful planning and execution. Businesses can follow several key steps to ensure seamless integration and optimal outcomes. Setting Up a Cross-Functional Team A cross-functional team comprising representatives from various departments, such as design, engineering, marketing, and production, is essential for successful PLM implementation. This team will facilitate collaboration, provide valuable insights from different perspectives, and ensure smooth communication throughout the product's lifecycle. Each department brings unique expertise and knowledge to the table. While designers contribute their creative ideas and confirm that the product meets aesthetic and functional requirements, engineers offer technical expertise and check that the product is feasible and manufacturable. Marketers analyze market trends and customer needs to ensure that the product meets market demands. Also, production specialists provide valuable input on manufacturing processes and cost optimization. Utilizing Technology and Software Investing in suitable PLM software can significantly enhance product lifecycle management. These tools facilitate data management, streamline collaboration, and enable efficient decision-making.  PLM software offers a range of features and functionalities, including document management, version control, workflow automation, and collaboration tools. These tools enable teams to access and share information easily, track changes, and manage product data effectively. With real-time visibility into the product's lifecycle, businesses can make data-driven decisions, identify bottlenecks, and take proactive measures to ensure timely delivery and quality. Additionally, PLM software can integrate with other enterprise systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, creating a centralized repository of information. This integration eliminates data silos and improves cross-functional collaboration for better coordination and efficiency. Aligning with Business Strategy Successful PLM implementation requires alignment with the overall business strategy. Companies need to ensure that their product offerings align with market trends, customer demands, and strategic objectives. Regular evaluation and adjustment of PLM strategies will keep organizations ahead of the competition and allow them to adapt to changing market dynamics. By analyzing market trends, customer preferences, and competitive landscape, businesses can identify opportunities and develop products that meet market demands. Regular feedback from customers and stakeholders can also provide valuable insights for product improvement and innovation. Furthermore, companies should continuously evaluate their PLM strategies to ensure they remain relevant and effective. This evaluation involves monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), such as time-to-market, product quality, and customer satisfaction. By tracking these metrics, businesses can identify areas for improvement, implement corrective actions, and optimize their PLM processes. Challenges in Product Lifecycle Management While product lifecycle management offers numerous advantages, businesses also face several challenges that need to be addressed to overcome potential obstacles and achieve success. Managing Product Complexity As products become increasingly complex, managing them throughout their lifecycle becomes more challenging. Companies need to effectively coordinate diverse teams, navigate intricate supply chains, and ensure seamless integration of various components. This requires meticulous planning, clear communication, and efficient project management. By utilizing advanced technologies such as computer-aided design (CAD) software and product data management (PDM) systems, businesses can streamline the design process and enhance collaboration among team members. Also, investing in training programs and fostering a culture of innovation can empower employees to tackle complex product challenges and optimize product lifecycle management (PLM). Furthermore, managing product complexity also requires addressing issues related to manufacturing and assembly. Companies must carefully evaluate the manufacturing process, identify potential bottlenecks, and implement efficient production methods. By leveraging automation technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, businesses can improve production efficiency, reduce errors, and enhance product quality. Ensuring Regulatory Compliance In various industries, strict regulatory requirements govern product development, manufacturing, and disposal. Maintaining compliance throughout the product lifecycle is crucial to avoid legal consequences, damage to reputation, and potential harm to customers. Companies must stay updated with regulations specific to their industry and geographical location by actively monitoring regulatory changes, engaging with industry associations, and seeking legal advice when necessary. Establishing robust quality control processes is also essential to maintain regulatory compliance. This includes conducting thorough product testing, implementing quality assurance protocols, and documenting all relevant data. Regular audits should also be conducted to identify any deviations from compliance standards and take corrective actions promptly. Handling Market Dynamics The business landscape is characterized by ever-changing market dynamics, including shifting customer preferences, emerging technologies, and increasing competition. Therefore, adapting to these dynamics is essential to remain competitive.  Market research plays a crucial role in understanding customer needs, preferences, and expectations. By conducting comprehensive market research, businesses can identify emerging trends, assess market potential, and make informed decisions regarding product development and marketing strategies. Data analysis is also important in handling market dynamics. By leveraging big data analytics, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behavior, market trends, and competitor activities. This enables them to identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and respond swiftly to changing market conditions. Moreover, agility is key in navigating market dynamics. Companies must be willing to adapt their strategies, products, and processes to meet evolving market demands. This requires a flexible organizational structure, cross-functional collaboration, and efficient decision-making processes. Overall, mastering product lifecycle management is vital for businesses aiming for success. By understanding the different stages of the product lifecycle, implementing effective strategies, and addressing challenges, companies can optimize resources, maximize profitability, and maintain a competitive edge. With careful planning, cross-functional collaboration, and the utilization of technology, organizations can navigate the complexities of product lifecycle management and achieve sustainable growth. Master product lifecycle management with Wrike. Try our advanced platform for free to effectively manage your product's journey from inception to retirement. Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

8 Best Product Management Certifications
Leadership 10 min read

8 Best Product Management Certifications

Discover the best product management certifications that can help you gain domain skills and kick-start your career as a product manager. Learn more with Wrike.

What Is Lead Time?
Project Management 10 min read

What Is Lead Time?

Lead time indicates how long it takes to go from start to finish. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the lead time meaning and how to calculate lead time.

What Is Agile SDLC and How Can Your Team Use It?
Project Management 10 min read

What Is Agile SDLC and How Can Your Team Use It?

Want to know more about the Agile software development life cycle and how you can use it to improve your team’s workflows? Read Wrike’s guide to the Agile SDLC.

New! Space Workflows: Automate Team, Cross-Functional, & Company-Wide Workflows with Wrike
Wrike Tips 7 min read

New! Space Workflows: Automate Team, Cross-Functional, & Company-Wide Workflows with Wrike

The Future of Work is hybrid, and many teams rely on seamless collaboration to get their best work done. The industry has taken notice, which you can see by the numbers: According to Forbes: 73% of respondents strongly prefer a holistic solution for cross-team collaboration. Deloitte Insights says that 83% of digital companies are leveraging cross-functional teams and empowering teams to take ownership of their process needs. Gartner’s “Market Guide for Collaborative Work Management” report says there is a growing demand for solutions to be flexible and scalable to specific business activities. This rising demand for better collaboration requires empowering teams to take ownership of how work is received, organized, and executed. Teams are looking for this level of autonomy to execute the work their way. Wrike gives teams this level of autonomy with Space Workflows, part our recent Wrike Lightspeed announcement.  Today we’re focusing on Space Workflows and their uniqueness to our platform. But first, a quick recap of what Spaces and workflows mean individually in Wrike. What are Spaces and workflows in Wrike? Spaces are a way to group work and the top level in Wrike’s folder hierarchy. Spaces enable organizations of all sizes to define and manage their departments at scale. They are centralized locations for all information relevant to your team, and every team can have its own Space to work autonomously. In addition, Spaces can act as hubs for the geo-location, organization unit, or special initiatives. Within a Space, there are two ways to interact — as an admin or a member. Team leaders, experts, or operations representatives commonly act as admins to manage the space and all items in it. Admins set up the work structure, processes, views, and tools relevant to their teams. Members can see a space on the home page, access it, and execute work within projects and other work items stored in the space. Workflows in Wrike define the different states a work item can be in over its lifecycle. Users can rely on default workflows, or create custom workflows to meet the team's needs.  Workflows standardize processes on a team, cross-functional or company-wide level, and let admins build robust processes when combined with Automation and other Wrike features.   What is Space Workflows? Space Workflows are one of the latest Space customization functionalities, empowering Space admins with the permission to set up their own processes, autonomous from broader organizational processes. This improved efficiency helps ensure that team workspaces are built and maintained appropriately by those familiar with specific teams' day-to-day workflows and activities.  The beauty of this new feature is multi-faceted: It eliminates the need to engage with an Account Admin every time there’s a minor process change. For instance, departmental operations teams, like Marketing Ops and DevOps, now have the power to run their team’s workflows at the Space level, while IT has control over processes established across the company using Wrike account settings.  Space Workflows are no-code, which empowers team managers to own their team’s work without requiring development skills or admin help. Wrike manages the views, dashboards, reports, and Analyze boards at the team level within the Space. Furthermore, Space Workflows help establish a more granular setup at different levels and reduce clutter, so there’s less chance of selecting the wrong workflow. How do Wrike Space Workflows set us apart from the competition? Traditional collaborative work management platforms force all teams to adhere to an overarching process or a singular rigid workflow. Wrike’s Space Workflows allow your teams to have more control over establishing a process workflow that matches your business and process needs. We provide more flexibility on which workflow is intended for each team's workspace, reducing confusion by separating organizational and departmental work processes.  So, what’s the key benefit? You can scale as a department or company by creating work spaces and processes configurable to each team’s unique needs. Space Workflows eliminate bottlenecks by not having to route process improvement needs directly through an Account Admin.  Key challenges and solutions that Space Workflows address Problem #1: Inefficiency in updating process changes Consider a situation where you have multiple Spaces in your account that require multiple workflows per Space. Anytime a workflow needs to be updated, only the Account Admin can make those updates, which slows down efficiency and creates bottlenecks. In addition, the Account Admin might not be familiar with a specific team’s workflow, which requires more back-and-forth conversations to ensure the correct adjustments are made. Solution: Space Admins can own their team’s workflows and independently manage all their building blocks, such as custom fields, request forms, reports, and dashboards. With this new feature, you can maximize Account Admin focus on account-wide solutions while fostering accountability and ownership to Space-level leads who are more familiar with their team's workflow process needs. Problem #2: Inaccurate tracking/reporting Too many workflow options to choose from increases the risk of team members selecting the wrong status from the wrong workflow, impacting how you report and filter project and task status. Solution: Demonstrate value by reporting on the correct status options and accurately assess where projects and tasks are across the team's intended workflow. The result? Consistent reporting across the board. Problem #3: Confusion about which workflow a team member should use It’s not uncommon to have multiple work streams requiring different workflows. But, you get inundated with the number of workflow options available to a project or task, which causes confusion about which status options and workflows to use. Solution: Wrike Space Workflows can keep workflows intentional to the Space level needs, ensuring team members select the right status options and effectively move work through the required workflow. How to get access to Space Workflows Better process management efficiency is possible, and good news for Wrike ‘Business,’ ‘Enterprise,’ and ‘Pinnacle’ customers — you have access to the new feature today!  Free users can upgrade their account via the subscription tab in the app or by contacting their Wrike success manager. ‘Team’ plan users have limited access to Space Workflows — one workflow — pre-configured to a use case template. When you upgrade, you will get full access to Space Workflows and experience more control with team processes, and you’ll unlock Custom Item Types, blueprints, and automated approvals too!

What Is a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)?
Project Management 7 min read

What Is a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)?

A requirements traceability matrix is an integral part of an embedded system's life cycle. It helps organizations ensure that their products are safe and are meeting their intended standards.  This is especially important for the medical, technology, and engineering industries. But any business that has a set of goals and standards to uphold can benefit from this proven requirements analysis tool.  Here’s how to make an effective requirements traceability matrix and why you should start one today.  What is a traceability matrix? A traceability matrix is a document that details the technical requirements for a given test scenario and its current state. It helps the testing team understand the level of testing that is done for a given product.  The traceability process itself is used to review the test cases that were defined for any requirement. It helps users identify which requirements produced the most number of defects during a testing cycle.  Not only does this show areas in need of improvement, but it also helps mitigate future roadblocks and identify process weaknesses.  What is a requirements traceability matrix? A requirements traceability matrix (RTM) is a tool that helps identify and maintain the status of the project’s requirements and deliverables. It does so by establishing a thread for each component. It also manages the overall project requirements. This method is straightforward and can be easily done by anyone.  There are many kinds of RTMs. For example, a test matrix is used to prove that tests were conducted. It can also be used to identify issues and requirements during the development of software. What are the benefits of a requirements traceability matrix? An RTM ensures that projects do everything they set out to do. This step-by-step process helps identify the requirements and the products that are required to be tested successfully. It also helps in determining the project's direction and timeline.  First, it will support the identification of all requirements in a work product. Then, it will check to make sure there is coverage of all the requirements throughout the project’s lifetime.  The RTM will show the requirements coverage in terms of the number of test cases, design status, and execution status. It will also show the UAT status for a specific test case. With all this information at your fingertips, your team will be able to analyze changes in requirements and make informed product development decisions on the fly.  And because traceability links artifacts across the development lifecycle, it helps teams identify and resolve issues before they become problems. It can also help avoid the pressure of an audit. And if you do get audited, having an RTM will make it easier to demonstrate that you have complied with regulations which means you can avoid additional expenses or delays the audit may cause.  You can even use it to track requirements from compliance regulations in a compliance matrix. That will help you understand what you need to test and develop before the work is finalized.  In a nutshell: a requirements traceability matrix makes it easier to meet goals and manage projects.  What do you include in a requirements traceability matrix? Create a simple chart with the following columns:  Requirements: Add sub-columns for marketing requirements, product requirements, and system-level specifications (if applicable). Testing: Add a sub column for test cases and test runs. Deviation: Add a sub-column for any issues.  Requirements traceability matrix example Here is a basic requirements traceability matrix example, including a description of the requirements, their business justification, and the status of the task.   How to create a requirements traceability matrix in Wrike The matrix should be created early in the project life cycle to ensure it is up-to-date and incorporates all the details necessary for the project to be successful. A project management tool like Wrike is perfect for tracking, organizing, and assessing every last rule.  First, gather your requirements list. Add them as individual projects in Wrike. Assign a due date, priority level, and set of corresponding tasks needed to achieve compliance to each one.  Next, each requirement must have a unique and clearly defined purpose. Add these details to the project or corresponding task description so that the assignee fully understands what they are trying to achieve.  Then, you can also use Wrike to securely plan for and store related materials. Supporting documents such as test scripts should be prepared ahead of the actual testing process. Simply create a task, set an approver, and add the final product to your Wrike files. Control who sees it with secure sharing.  Finally, identify gaps in coverage. If any defects are found during the test cases, then they can be listed and mapped with business requirements and test scenarios. In Wrike, you can assign each one to an individual or team. You can also add an Approver who will sign off on the task once it’s complete.  If there are any questions or comments, the collaborators can discuss them right within the task themselves, looping in colleagues using @mentions whenever another POV is needed. If a change request is made, you can view your existing project plans and give an informed evaluation of whether or not it can be done. If the answer is yes, you can then drag and drop project components for a new and accurate timeline. In Wrike, projects with tasks marked as dependent on one another will maintain these connections, so when you move them, you’ll still have all of your necessary components tied together, working uninterrupted.  Once your RTM is complete, you can duplicate your processes and workflows in Wrike by creating a template for the ones you plan to repeat. This saves time and adds a layer of standardization that is crucial for meeting requirements. And because the testing process should be clearly defined to avoid any confusion, using Wrike to do so will ensure that it is carried out according to the requirements and time constraints. Wrike provides a secure collaborative workspace to organize, test, and bring all your projects up to speed with your RTM. Ready to streamline your product development compliance? Start today with a two-week free trial of Wrike.