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4 Things to Keep in Mind When Building a Product Launch Template
Project Management 10 min read

4 Things to Keep in Mind When Building a Product Launch Template

Leveraging a product launch template helps your team map out each step of a complex project. Wrike’s free product launch plan breaks it all down and ensures every product launch is more successful than the last. This introduction helps you turn your overwhelming checklist into actionable strategy for success.

A Guide to Writing an Effective Requirements Management Plan
Project Management 7 min read

A Guide to Writing an Effective Requirements Management Plan

More than 80% of project managers and team leaders believe that process requirements don’t articulate the needs of the business. This can lead to a higher project failure rate. The solution? Learn how to define requirements for a project with a requirements management plan that aligns business and project values that your entire team can get behind.  In this post, we’ll explore how to define requirements management. Then, we’ll cover some tips for creating an ideal process, how to track and monitor it once it’s live, and how Wrike’s project management solution can supercharge your own successful requirements management plan.  What is requirements management? Requirements management is a list of policies and tasks that must be adhered to or completed throughout an entire project. These policies and tasks are dictated by the overall needs of the business, the solution for the problem your project attempts to solve, and the expectations of key stakeholders when starting a new project.   While it does not include every project step, it does cover all the information coming in from relevant outside sources and will heavily influence how you plan the rest of the project.  A product requirements document example collects all of this information into one organized place. It also solves potential requirements conflicts between sources and acts as a guideline for project planning.  Tips for creating the ideal requirements management process Here are some basic, yet highly effective, tips for creating the ideal requirements management process needed to align objectives with action:  Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep all requirements management details in a single, accessible space where all contributors can view, edit, and comment.  Stay flexible. Business goals may change, client needs might evolve, and stakeholders can pivot to new strategies overnight. Make sure your requirements management process is malleable. Create one or more fail-safe plans for issues you anticipate.  Connect action to a purpose. Make sure that every item on your requirements management plan includes information on who authorized it, why it’s important, and what its completion status is in real-time.  Requirements tracking and monitoring A requirements management plan needs constant evaluation. Keep track of any change requests, delayed tasks, or active policies at every phase of the project. The best way to do this is by establishing a personal check-in system for yourself and your team.  First, review your requirements management plan at least once a week after it’s first created. Then, schedule periodic check-in meetings throughout the project lifespan with key decision-makers who contributed to it.  Next, decide which KPIs you’ll use for individual tasks and policies. Add these to your shared plan and assign specific team members to approve or deny the measurements so that you’re all on the same page regarding expectations.  Finally, set a priority for each of your requirements so that team members are empowered to make informed decisions on the fly when conflicts come up.  How to manage requirements in the middle of a project Mitigate the risk of scope creep by coming up with a contingency plan for how you’ll manage requirements in the middle of a project. Set up an approval process with your team leads to accept or deny new requirements as they come in after the start of a project. Use project management software to reassign workloads, forecast possible roadblocks, or adjust timelines whenever necessary.  How to ensure requirements have been met: Ensure requirements have been met with this simple checklist that will help give you a comprehensive look at what went right (or wrong):  Hold a formal review meeting to go over the requirements management plan with decision-makers at every key milestone.  Poll or interview decision-makers and project teams separately to gauge their perception of the plan’s success.  Ask teams for honest feedback on process improvements moving forward.  Review which requirements tasks were completed to see if they were done on time and within the given parameters (such as a budget).  Go over policies with team leads to get their insight on which were followed, which were not, and why some worked better than others for their unique group.  How Wrike helps with requirements management As we’ve seen throughout this guide, project management is the key to writing an effective requirements management plan. Wrike assists with all of the above tips and suggested steps for any stage of the requirements management process.  Here are some highlights of how Wrike can help set your plan up for success:  Use a waterfall process or an Agile framework. Turn a complex set of requirements into an organized plan of action through task assignments, collaborative notes, file sharing. Choose a top-down process or set up a flexible Agile system to handle all the moving parts.  Set priorities for each requirement. Not only will this allow team members to make decisions about conflicting requirements, but it will also create an order of operations for tasks.  Send instant updates to decision-makers. Task dependencies automatically notify selected team members about the next steps (such as approvals) for a more streamlined communication system.  Monitor progress, KPIs, and more in real-time. Wrike’s illustrative timelines, graphs, charts, and other visualizations help users check in on requirements goals throughout every phase of the project.  Directly loop in key stakeholders using @ mentions. Quickly catch up key stakeholders on important discussions and developments by adding them to conversations right within Wrike. This helps save time you normally would spend going over details from email chains they weren’t part of.  Bring in corporate leaders to verify the connection between big picture business goals and individual projects. Go out of your way to ask questions and solicit feedback from decision-makers early on to eliminate costly changes down the road.  Create a requirements management plan that exceeds expectations Requirements management plans collect, organize, and track the policies and tasks assigned to a project by key decision-makers. To ensure your requirements management plan is successful, set up tracking and monitoring systems that allow you to evaluate progress at every stage of the project.  Check out Wrike’s two-week free trial to see how effective our project management tool is at helping you create and maintain a requirements management plan worth investing in. 

10 Fatal Product Launch Mistakes
Project Management 5 min read

10 Fatal Product Launch Mistakes

Product launches are stressful. While success can propel your company to new heights, a botched launch can cripple your business. On top of all that pressure, pulling off the perfect launch is a complicated process, with plenty of room for error. With less than 3% of new consumer goods considered "highly successful" (i.e., exceeding first-year sales of $50 million), what can you do to ensure that everything goes smoothly on launch day — and beyond?   10 Mistakes That Will Derail Your Product Launch 1. You view your launch as an event, not a process. Launch Day isn’t the end, it’s the middle. In addition to months of product launch planning, the weeks and months following your official launch are critical for sustaining momentum, building even more buzz, and scaling your efforts if things go well and the product takes off.  2. You assume an innovative product is enough. If there's no market or need for your solution, no one is going to spend money on your product no matter how cool you think it is. Conduct product launch analytics before sinking resources into developing a product that won't sell.  3. You don’t know your customer/market well enough. Do you fully understand your customer's pain points? Their buyer’s journey? Do you know the kinds of keywords they search when looking for a product like yours? If you don't, the time to learn is yesterday.  4. You don't involve marketing, sales, and PR far enough in advance. Successful marketing and PR campaigns don’t happen overnight, and if you don’t plan ahead you’ll be left scrambling to maintain or accelerate momentum.  5. You announce too early. Unless you’re Apple and your product launches are shrouded in hype and speculation, announcing a new product too early could lead to waning customer interest as time passes, or give your competition a head start on their response.  6. You make the launch date a hard deadline, even if you’re not ready or your product is buggy. It's far better to delay a product launch (even a hotly-anticipated one) in order to deliver a product that performs at or beyond customer expectations.  7. You don't do a test run with sales. Let one or two of your sales people start selling the product before launch: what feedback and questions are they getting from customers? How are they positioning it? What support do they need in order to sell it?  8. You spend your whole budget on the product, and don’t have sufficient resources left for marketing, PR, and other promotions. If you're counting on word-of-mouth buzz to fuel customer interest and sales, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.  9. You don’t create a story around your launch. Why should people care about your new feature or product? What social or industry narratives relate to your product? Make sure the story is centered around your customers, not you, and include case studies if you can.  10. You don’t create a detailed launch day plan. "Winging it" is not an option. If launch day involves speeches, practice them beforehand in front of a test audience. Create a launch day schedule that covers exactly what needs to happen and when, plus the one person who’s ultimately responsible.  Follow the DroneCo Comic for More Startup Fun! For more product management resources, browse previous episodes of Welcome to DroneCo in the comic archive, and subscribe to the strip to get each new episode. Then follow DroneCo on Twitter to keep up with the gang all week long. Share the comic on your own site with this embed code: Webcomic brought to you by Wrike Sources: 280Group.com, Hubspot, SalemMarafi.com

10 Fatal Product Launch Mistakes (+New DroneCo Comic)
Project Management 5 min read

10 Fatal Product Launch Mistakes (+New DroneCo Comic)

Product launches are stressful. While success can propel your company to new heights, a botched launch can cripple your business. On top of all that pressure, pulling off the perfect launch is a complicated process, with plenty of room for error. With less than 3% of new consumer goods considered "highly successful" (i.e., exceeding first-year sales of $50 million), what can you do to ensure that everything goes smoothly on launch day — and beyond?  10 Mistakes That Will Derail Your Product Launch 1. You view your launch as an event, not a process. Launch Day isn’t the end, it’s the middle. In addition to months of planning and prep, the weeks and months following your official launch are critical for sustaining momentum, building even more buzz, and scaling your efforts if things go well and the product takes off.  2. You assume an innovative product is enough. If there's no market or need for your solution, no one is going to spend money on your product no matter how cool you think it is. Do your research before sinking resources into developing a product that won't sell.  3. You don’t know your customer/market well enough. Do you fully understand your customer's pain points? Their buyer’s journey? Do you know the kinds of keywords they search when looking for a product like yours? If you don't, the time to learn is yesterday.  4. You don't involve marketing, sales, and PR far enough in advance. Successful marketing and PR campaigns don’t happen overnight, and if you don’t plan ahead you’ll be left scrambling to maintain or accelerate momentum.  5. You announce too early. Unless you’re Apple and your product launches are shrouded in hype and speculation, announcing a new product too early could lead to waning customer interest as time passes, or give your competition a head start on their response.  6. You make the launch date a hard deadline, even if you’re not ready or your product is buggy. It's far better to delay a product launch (even a hotly-anticipated one) in order to deliver a product that performs at or beyond customer expectations.  7. You don't do a test run with sales. Let one or two of your sales people start selling the product before launch: what feedback and questions are they getting from customers? How are they positioning it? What support do they need in order to sell it?  8. You spend your whole budget on the product, and don’t have sufficient resources left for marketing, PR, and other promotions. If you're counting on word-of-mouth buzz to fuel customer interest and sales, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.  9. You don’t create a story around your launch. Why should people care about your new feature or product? What social or industry narratives relate to your product? Make sure the story is centered around your customers, not you, and include case studies if you can.  10. You don’t create a detailed launch day plan. "Winging it" is not an option. If launch day involves speeches, practice them beforehand in front of a test audience. Create a launch day schedule that covers exactly what needs to happen and when, plus the one person who’s ultimately responsible.  Follow the DroneCo Comic for More Startup Fun! Browse previous episodes of Welcome to DroneCo in the comic archive, and subscribe to the strip to get each new episode. Then follow DroneCo on Twitter to keep up with the gang all week long. Share the comic on your own site with this embed code: Webcomic brought to you by Wrike Sources: 280Group.com, Hubspot, SalemMarafi.com

Product Development Lessons from Infamous Product Flops
Leadership 5 min read

Product Development Lessons from Infamous Product Flops

You’ve spent months laying the groundwork for your company's new product: conducting in-depth market research, creating wireframes and mockups, persuading stakeholders and execs to support your plan, plotting out a detailed project schedule, wrangling the development team, and working with marketing to generate buzz and ensure a successful launch. After all that work, the product is a guaranteed, slam-dunk success, right?  Not so fast.   Even wildly successful companies with a tried-and-true product development process can end up with a flop on their hands, and as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Learn from these 7 famous product failures to avoid your own catastrophic launch.   1975 - Sony Betamax VHS vs. Betamax is one of the most famous examples of poor product marketing strategy, proving that superior products don’t always win out. When Sony chose not to license Betamax technology, they effectively forced consumers to choose between Sony as the only Betamax producer, and the convenience of VHS, which was available from multiple companies. Lesson: A good product strategy doesn't end at launch — you need to consider customer adoption as well as overall market conditions.  1980s - Life Savers Soda The product did well in taste tests, and things were looking promising for this '80s soft drink. But as soon as the Life Savers logo was slapped on the bottle, people started picturing the soda as liquified Life Savers and couldn't stomach the idea of drinking melted candy. Lesson: Understand how customers perceive your brand. While you can be innovative and push into new markets, don't try to venture so far outside your territory that you confuse customers or muddle your image.  1981 - DeLorean DMC-12 “You built a time machine… out of a DeLorean??”  Introduced in 1981 with a unique stainless-steel body design and gull-wing doors, the DeLorean was the pet project of famed auto exec John DeLorean, who designed iconic vehicles like the Pontiac GTO, Firebird, and Grand Prix. But after building a much-hyped car with a sleek design but shoddy performance, the company folded in less than two years, having produced fewer than 9,000 cars.  Lesson: Don't expect good brand reputation to save a sub-par product. More often than not, a single stinker is enough to sink your company, so make sure everything you produce is something you can proudly stand behind.  1992 - Crystal Pepsi When Pepsi decided to jump on an early-90s marketing fad that equated clarity with purity and health, the world was introduced to Crystal Pepsi. It tasted like regular cola, but without any caramel coloring. Although it did well initially, sales plummeted fast and Crystal Pepsi was yanked from the market the following year. Lesson: Novelty and gimmicks will only get you so far. You need a quality product that customers actually want if you're going to maintain success.  2006 - Joost  Pitched as a revolutionary peer-to-peer TV network and headed by the creators of Skype, Joost seemed to have everything going for it. The celebrity-backed, buzzed-about company even had a deal with major content providers like CBS and Viacom, but it stubbornly stuck with its client-based video service model, while competitors like Hulu began offering browser-based streaming. We all know how the story ends. Lesson: Markets can shift very, very quickly. If you're not paying attention, a competitor can come along and pull the rug out from under you — even if you have a great product.  2011 - Qwikster  In what some analysts believed was an ill-conceived attempt to pacify customers protesting a recent price hike for streaming video, Netflix announced its DVD subscription service would split off into a separate entity called Qwikster. Users would access their DVDs through a separate website, meaning they'd have to manage two different title queues on two different sites. Customers hated the idea, and the project didn’t survive more than a month.  Lesson: Resist knee-jerk reactions to criticism. Listen to your customers and react quickly, but not without thinking through your response very, very carefully.  2013 - Facebook Home Facebook spent a lot of money building hype for its Android application — they even collaborated with HTC on a branded Facebook phone with the software pre-installed. Six weeks after launch, HTC  slashed the price of the phone from $99 to 99¢. So what went wrong? According to insiders, the Facebook Home development team was made up of iPhone users who weren’t familiar with the habits and expectations of typical Android users — nor did they adequately test the software with Android users before launch. Another problem: not many people wanted that much Facebook, to the point where it took over their smartphone home screens.  Lesson: Understand exactly how your customers prefer to use your product, not how you wish they used your product.  Follow the DroneCo Comic for More Startup Laughs! Browse previous episodes of Welcome to DroneCo in the comic archive, or subscribe to the strip to get each new episode. Then follow DroneCo on Twitter to keep up with the fun all week long! Share this comic on your own site with this embed code: Webcomic brought to you by Wrike Sources: DailyFinance.com, Buzzfeed.com, BusinessInsider.com

Top 5 Product Design Blogs to Follow
Productivity 5 min read

Top 5 Product Design Blogs to Follow

When you talk about product design, you're talking about the numerous processes involved in creating a product — whether physical or digital. It must have functionality that answers a target market's specific needs, and it must have an aesthetically pleasing form. It's a formula that Apple has used with much success. But where does one find the inspiration to build the type of fabulous products that turn casual customers into rabid fans? Below is a list of our top 5 blogs for product design inspiration, chosen by a combination of their Alexa rank and the personal preferences of our team. These websites and blogs post inspiring links to cool product design from around the globe. They also cover a wide spectrum of design topics, including: UI/UX, graphic design, product management prioritization, industrial design, even fashion and architecture. Bookmark them or add them to your RSS reader. There's more than enough here to jumpstart ideas for your hot new product. The Top 5 Blogs for Product Design Inspiration 1. Yanko Design | RSS FeedTagline: Modern Industrial Design News Yanko has been around since 2002 as a web magazine that highlights outstanding examples of modern industrial design, as well as interior design, technology, architecture, and fashion. From its stark black wooden background to the types of futuristic gadgets that they showcase, this website is for those looking for products that are sleek, shiny, and — dare we say it — downright sexy. A must-read for those looking to create forward-looking products.   2. Design You Trust | RSS FeedTagline: World's Most Famous Social InspirationDesign You Trust is more of a crowdsourced platform than an actual curated website, as its menu immediately gives you the option to submit a post. Think of it as a "bloggier" version of Reddit's design-focused subreddits. However, as a general one-stop-shop of design and art ideas, it cannot be beat. Aside from design posts, expect coverage of more popular subject matter such as fashion photography, graphic design, interior decorating, and yes, even makeup. 3. Inhabitat | RSS Feed for ProductsTagline: Design will save the worldIf you're looking for design inspiration that is eco-friendly as well as beautiful, Inhabitat is your go-to source. They feature green design ideas for physical products as well as architecture, technology, and fashion. It's chock-full of the best green design ideas and innovations. A visual smorgasbord for those looking to build products for an earth-friendly future. 4. NOTCOT.ORG | RSS feedTagline: For your ideas+aesthetics+amusement NOTCOT is actually two sites: There is NOTCOT.COM, which is the editorial side — more of a curated web magazine, complete with in-depth feature articles on products, product design, technology, designers, innovations, and trends. Then there is NOTCOT.ORG, which is the crowdsourced bulletin board where creatives post images and links to products that inspire them. Think Pinterest specifically for design. For quick visual ideas, the .ORG offers the viewer much more to absorb. 5. Behance.net Featured Projects | Link to the Product Design Category Tagline: Showcase and Discover Creative Work Since 2006, Behance has been Adobe's platform for bringing talent and creative opportunities together. Although it looks somewhat like Pinterest in layout, it allows creatives to showcase their best work so that clients can come and hire them. Look through their dropdown menus for a wide breadth of categories — from a product management launch plan to product design to graphic design, architecture, motion graphics, photography, and more, all easily searchable by tag. You'll find a specific category for "Product Design" but also check out the "Industrial Design" and "UI/UX" categories. What Product Design Blogs Do You Read Regularly? Yes, we probably missed your favorite inspirational product design blog in the world. But we won't know what it is until you tell us. You know what to do in that comment box below. Set us straight, ASAP! Read Next: Creative Block? 5 Surprising Ways to Spark Creativity

How to Build a Go-To-Market Strategy Remotely
Remote Working 7 min read

How to Build a Go-To-Market Strategy Remotely

Knowing how to build a go-to-market strategy is important for teams planning their next product launch. Learn how Wrike can help remote teams build an effective go-to-market strategy framework.

Web 2.0 for Product Management: Learning the Hard Way
News 3 min read

Web 2.0 for Product Management: Learning the Hard Way

, Wrike. I was happy to see that the topic generated great interest from the public; however, the dynamic of constant interaction with my audience turned out to be quite different from what you experience during regular product management software presentations. I learned a couple of good lessons from this PCamp session. I tried to mix a fairly rigid slide deck with a lot of freeform discussions, which made the slide deck more of a distraction, rather than guiding product management tools. While analyzing the session later, I came up with a few tips that I’ll make sure to use the next time I present during an unconference-style event. I thought it would be a good idea to share my tips here. •    Create a very light deck that’s not a streamline story, but rather provides supporting facts and visuals for some areas of conversation. In this type of deck, most slides should be interchangeable and pulled on demand. •    Make a slide with the session’s agenda and show it to the audience first. •    Ask the public what questions you should concentrate on. This will help you find out which parts of your presentation interest them the most and which are not worth wasting their time on. After analyzing my presentation, I can say that unconference-style events are fun and can sometimes even produce a greater effect on the audience, since your listeners are taking an active part in your presentation. Yet you need the right preparation to make it a success.  I hope you will find my tips useful. Have you ever spoken at unconference-style get-togethers? Please share your own experience in the comments.

How to Plan the Perfect Product Launch With Wrike
Project Management 5 min read

How to Plan the Perfect Product Launch With Wrike

Crafting a product launch strategy means careful planning, risk management, and lots of hard work. Find out how to create an effective product launch plan with Wrike.

Release Management: Definition, Phases, and Benefits
Project Management 10 min read

Release Management: Definition, Phases, and Benefits

What is release management and how can it improve software development strategy? In this guide, we talk about release management processes and their benefits.

7 Product Management Best Practices for Beginner PMs
Project Management 5 min read

7 Product Management Best Practices for Beginner PMs

Product management is no walk in the park. Part strategist, part analyst, part marketer, part business executive, the product manager balances business objectives with customer needs to create innovative products that users love.  The best product managers are constantly learning and improving the way they work. If you’re just starting a career in product management or just want to understand more about the role, these seven best practices and product management glossary, collected from product management experts on Quora, provide some important insights into the art and practice of product management. Product Management Best Practices to Live By 1. Understand Company Goals How does your company measure success? How does the product strategy support overarching business goals and objectives? Who are your ideal customers, and what need is your product meant to address? Take the time to understand what matters most to executives and stakeholders (including users!) and align with them whenever possible.  2. Dialogue with Customers Current customers and users are your greatest resource. After all, what’s the point of developing an amazing product if no one wants to use it? Many of your active customers will be happy to tell you which features they use and enjoy the most, and which are thorns in their sides.  Their insights are critical to understanding your product’s true value—and developing a proper product management roadmap. Conduct user testing or run a short survey to learn how customers interact with your product, try heat mapping software to see how users are interacting with your site, and gather feedback whenever possible.  3. Tap Your Sales and Support Teams' Knowledge Your sales team is in constant communication with potential customers, and therefore has valuable insights into market landscape, your product’s specific strengths and weaknesses, and the problems customers are trying to solve when they come to your product.  Similarly, your support team understands better than anyone how current customers are actually using the product—not how you think they should use the product. Sit in on support calls to uncover the most common issues, complaints, and questions your team is fielding and learn which aspects of your product you need to prioritize.  4. Use the Product! You've heard the saying, "Eat your own dog food." This may seem obvious, but you need to get hands-on and use your product every day. How is the trial experience different than the paid product? Which features work well on mobile, and which don’t? How intuitive is the UI? How often do you encounter a bug or glitch? You should know your product better than anyone. 5. Analyze Other Products Think about the products and websites you use and love: what makes them so great? How do they design registration or trial sign up pages? What is the checkout process like? If you've had a bad experience, what made it so awful? Keep your eyes open and compile a so-called "swipe file" of ideas and inspiration to inform your own product management strategies.  6. Plan, Execute, Iterate Use all the information and insights you’ve gathered by doing the above to define your long-term vision for the product, and then break that vision down into iterations of developing, executing—and applying OKRs for product managers to improve and define the next iteration. Doing so will help you determine which features and capabilities to prioritize in the next release (and be able to justify that prioritization to executives and stakeholders).  7. Connect with Peers in the Product Management Community Plugging into online communities is a great way to stay up to date on industry trends and best practices, expand your network, and learn from senior product managers with decades of experience. LinkedIn groups like the Product Management Networking Group and Product Development & Management Association, the Product Management category on Quora, and the Product Manager HQ Slack community are all excellent resources for learning and connecting with other product management professionals. Want to Start a Career in Product Management? What does a product manager do every day, exactly? How do you get your foot in the door? What resources are available to help prospective product managers succeed? What are common product management tools and business process mapping software? If you’re interested furthering your product management education, check out our crash course introduction to the field: Product Management 101: How to Become a Product Manager Further Reading:  What Is Product Management?  12 Things Product Managers Should Do in Their First 30 Days at a New Company Transitioning into Product Management  The Product Management Field Guide 20 Must-Read Books for Product Managers & Product Marketers

Why Real-Time Wrike Reports Boost Product Development
Project Management 7 min read

Why Real-Time Wrike Reports Boost Product Development

A product management tool that fosters product reporting and enables product management analytics is essential for product development. Find out how Wrike aids in product development and reporting.

A Day in the Life of a Software Product Manager
Leadership 7 min read

A Day in the Life of a Software Product Manager

You may know the general role of a product manager: they analyze market data and guide the product towards its intended purpose and optimal usefulness. But let's get specific — what does that actually mean in terms of daily tasks? Let's pull a Freaky Friday and step into a software product manager's shoes to see exactly what needs to be done every day. So, imagine you're in software product management. You're fast asleep, dreaming of happy users and unlimited budgets, when your alarm clock starts ringing.... 7:00 am Coffee. Major coffee.  7:10 am Take a quick scan of your messages and emails to check for any emergencies. All clear!  7:15 am Breakfast. Shower. More coffee.  8:00 am Time to head into the office. Once you settle in, fire up the laptop and run through your inbox, responding to whichever emails you can, and forwarding messages that need further research/action to your project management tool (or rescheduling them).  9:00 am Log into your project management tool. You review yesterday’s work, identify areas for improvement, and make notes for this afternoon's meeting with execs. Then you organize the new tasks you just created via email (or add tasks manually), assign them, and define any next steps. Next, you convert any relevant email conversations into user stories, add them to the team's backlog, and prioritize them. At your weekly meeting with the development team lead later today, you'll review the backlog and discuss any new stories.  10:00 am Ooh, apple turnovers! You grab one plus a coffee on your way to the daily stand-up with your engineering/development team. You'll do a quick check in, review everyone's progress, discuss any roadblocks, and shift focus if necessary.  10:15 am Check your Product Requirements Document (PRD), where you define all product requirements clearly in writing. What should the product do? How fast should it be? What are the release criteria? Make any necessary updates based on the engineering/development team's questions, changing market conditions, etc. 10:30 am Meet with your product team and communicate any changes you've made to the PRD. Consult with product design, review UI mockups, and check in with QA. Make sure your vision for the product is consistent and clear across all these cross-functional teams.  11:45 am Check key performance indicator (KPI) updates to see how products are performing, and take notes for this afternoon's report to executives.  12:00 pm Grab lunch with your pal Anna from the support team to catch up and ask about any customer feedback or insights she's picked up.  1:00 pm Meet with the head developer to review the results of the latest bug check and confirm the new feature is good to go for deployment. Then run through the backlog and PRD together and discuss any updates.  2:00 pm Coffee break! Then meet with marketing managers to update them on developer progress and talk strategy/positioning. 3:00 pm Run through the latest task updates in your project management tool, make sure everything's still on track, and respond to anyone requesting feedback.  4:00 pm Meet with executives to report on progress, discuss potential new features, and talk business strategy, including how to balance company goals and resources with the product vision.  5:30 pm Read your favorite tech blogs, check Google alerts, and scroll through your Twitter feed for the latest on competitors, industry news, and market trends. 6:30 pm Scan emails & messages for anything that needs immediate attention before the end of the day. Download and play with any buzzworthy new apps to keep up with new technologies and trends. 6:45 pm Grab a Friday evening drink with some co-workers and head home for dinner.  Special Days Periodically, a technology product manager needs to set aside time for high-level tasks. Big-picture thinking. Hold an intensive brainstorm session to answer long-term planning questions like: “What’s the next phase of our mobile strategy?”, "Should we rethink our methodology, and consider the difference between Agile and DevOps?", “Should we expand into Asia, and if so, what's the most effective plan?” or, "Is this new trend something we should jump on, or just a passing fad?" Dig deep into market research to define high-level goals for the next several months. Your product plan must be rooted in research and hard data.  Product & Feature Ideas. Take an afternoon or a whole day to tackle your product roadmap and create wireframe sketches or screen shot mockups of feature ideas. Look at them from every angle, consult your market research and user data using roadmapping software, and let your creativity run wild. Once you have something tangible, share it with your team and let them add their own ideas. Customer feedback & relationships. Spend a day interacting with potential or current customers: pitching, listening, troubleshooting, surveying, etc. This might mean a day of in-person user testing, meetings with a series of focus groups, or, if user testing isn't done in-house, consulting with an agency. Good product managers know customers personally and have a real understanding of their daily challenges.  Demos & training sessions. Big releases will require you to take some time bringing sales and support teams up to speed on new products or features. Depending on the number and complexity of products/features, this could take anywhere from an hour or two to a whole afternoon or day. As you can see, good product managers need to juggle a myriad of tasks, teams, and priorities. They need to be effective communicators and technically adept, so they can interact with the development team and also speak clearly with customers and stakeholders. They need to be big-picture thinkers, all while balancing customer expectations with business needs and budget.  And most importantly, they need to be persuasive! Although they’re seen as leading the product, they aren’t in charge of the different teams developing, financing, selling, or supporting the product and its customers. So they need to be able to convince others that their product plans are worthwhile — that there's not only a market need, but that their solution will produce the right product at the right time to capitalize on that need.  If you're a product manager, we'd love to hear about your typical day in the comments! Find out how Wrike helps product development teams deliver amazing results, faster than ever. 

Creative Problem Solving for Product Developers (Infographic)
Productivity 3 min read

Creative Problem Solving for Product Developers (Infographic)

Innovation isn't extraordinary anymore — it's expected. Product managers are facing saturated markets where every competitor is releasing new products and features at a quicker pace, each scrambling to beat the others to launch. Creativity is more essential than ever for product developers to capture consumers' attention, outpace the competition, and find ingenious solutions to customer needs.  Many people view creativity as a gift: either you have it, or you don't. But as this infographic shows, creative problem solving is a skill you can learn — and master. The 9-Step Process for Creative Problem Solving  1. Identify your users' pain points. 2. Gather as much information as possible about the problem. 3. Examine the data to look for patterns. 4. Walk away. Let your subconscious form connections and find solutions. 5. Capture ideas as soon as they hit you. Once you have a handful, evaluate to choose the best one. 6. Set your solution apart from the competition. Write a value proposition that clarifies how your idea captures customers' attention more effectively. 7. Create a plan for executing your chosen idea. 8. Get to work! Time to make that idea a reality. 9. Track your results for continuous improvement.  Take a peek at the full infographic for tips on writing a Strategic Positioning Statement, the best ways to let an idea incubate, and why the best problem solvers have "T-shaped minds." Source: Mashable Ready to connect the dots? Find out how Wrike helps product development teams deliver amazing results, faster than ever.  Read Next: 3 Lessons on High Performing Teams from TED Talks 5 Lessons in Lean Product Development from the Wright Brothers (Infographic)

Product Management 101: How to Become a Product Manager
Project Management 7 min read

Product Management 101: How to Become a Product Manager

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Product managers are technical people, so there’s no need to involve them in business, marketing, or sales decisions. Product managers spend all their time writing requirements. Creating a roadmap is just a matter of sprinkling some features on a timeline and adding a few dates. Product managers are all former engineers. It’s time to debunk some product management myths! What is a product manager, really? What are their responsibilities? Do you have what it takes to succeed in the field? Learn all about product management in this crash course introduction.  What Does a Product Manager Do, Exactly?  The product management field deals with planning, forecasting, producing, and marketing a product or product line at all stages of the product lifecycle. Product managers are responsible for product strategy, developing the product roadmap, and defining features.  Boil it down, and a product manager defines the why, what, when, and how of the product. And to do it, PMs spend a lot of time working with other people, from colleagues to customers.  Product managers work closely with anyone from engineering to finance to marketing, depending on the current stage of the product lifecycle. For instance, PMs collaborate with designers and engineers in the prototyping and testing stages to decide which features are critical, and which are less important to a product’s success.  During the product launch, however, a PM will work more closely with marketing and sales teams to build product awareness and determine how best to reach and persuade potential customers.  Product managers are the ultimate problem solvers, designing and refining solutions to their customers' most pressing needs and wants. They’re critical to an organization’s success, merging business savvy, technological know-how, and marketing magic to develop and launch innovative products.  Product Manager Salary & Responsibilities Product managers are in high demand at every level, from entry-level Associate Product Managers to Chief Product Officers. A product manager’s role and responsibilities can vary widely based on the position and level of seniority, as you can see in these typical product manager job descriptions:  Chief Product Officer: Responsible for all product-related activities, including product conception and development, production, and possibly marketing. This executive-level position typically reports directly to the CEO.  VP of Product Management: Leads, defines, and communicates product strategy in line with long-term business goals, owns the product management roadmap, manages the product lifecycle from concept to phasing out, develops budgets, and defines pricing and competitive positioning.  Director of Product Management: Plans and assigns workloads of product managers, manages existing product lines to increase profitability, establishes metrics to measure and improve effectiveness, and conducts market research to identify new opportunities.  Product Manager: Develops products by conducting market research and product manager analytics, determining requirements and specifications, setting production schedules, and developing marketing strategies.  Associate Product Manager: Works closely with product managers, designers, marketing managers, analysts, engineers, and testers to develop products from conception to launch.  The average salary for product managers is currently around $100,000 annually, but can be as high as $1M+ for a Chief Product Officer.  How To Become a Product Manager  Successful product managers have mastered a mix of technical knowledge and business education. As such, a degree in computer science or engineering and previous technical experience is often desired, and/or an MBA or other business degree.  Required skills and qualifications go beyond diplomas and certifications, however. Because they serve as a liaison between so many different teams and departments, product managers need to be excellent communicators. They also need to be technically adept, so they can interact with the development team but also speak clearly with customers and stakeholders. They need to be big-picture thinkers, capable of balancing customer expectations with business needs and budget and setting clear priorities.  Best Books & Blogs for Product Management Beginners  If you want to get a more in-depth look into product management, picking up a few books is a great way to deepen your understanding of the field. Check out these 8 helpful blogs and books to learn what it takes to succeed as a product manager. Product LogicDan SchmidtWritten by the VP of Product at MDsave, this blog covers a myriad of product management topics and techniques, from superforecasting to the product triangle model.  Product Management SchoolAn encyclopedic guide to software product management, this site covers all sorts of FAQs, from product management skills to tools and resources. Product Management for DummiesBrian Lawley & Pamela SchureThis comprehensive reference offers easy-to-understand explanations of the essentials of product management, from defining the product life cycle and creating a winning product strategy, to gathering and analyzing customer feedback. The Product Manager’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed as a Product ManagerSteven HainesFollow this book’s blueprint for graduating from novice to confident product manager. Start by understanding the keys to success, then learn how to become a product expert and customer advocate, effectively manage your teams to increase productivity, and further your career. The Product Manager’s Desk Reference (2nd Edition)Steven HainesA companion resource to The Product Manager’s Survival Guide, keep this all-in-one reference on your desk to quickly look up product management strategies, processes, tools, and templates. Haines doesn’t stop at logistics — he also covers the soft skills you’ll need to lead your team to success, collaborate with other departments and teams, and communicate with stakeholders. The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and ExpandedDonald NormanEver pushed a door handle instead of pulled? Or examined a new device from every angle, baffled by how to turn the thing on? Cognitive scientist Donald Norman argues that design isn’t just looks meant to catch a customer’s attention; it’s the key to why some products satisfy customers and earn their loyalty while others flop. He’ll remind you not to get caught up in slick technology and forget that your main job is to solve human problems. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming ProductsNir EyalUse behavioral psychology to hook customers and keep them coming back — without resorting to expensive and aggressive advertising. Learn how to create “viral loops” so users instinctively reach for your product, build customer engagement, and develop products people love. This Is Product Management PodcastMike FishbeinListen to this popular podcast to get practical insights every week from the brightest minds in product management. More Product Management Resources:  How 5 Product Managers Got Their Start  Capterra's Best Product Management Software 2017  20 Must-Read Books for Product Managers & Product Marketers Creative Problem Solving for Product Developers (Infographic) A Day in the Life of a Software Product Manager Are You a Product Manager? How did you get your start? What common product management myths or misconceptions do you think need busting? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.  Sources: Wikipedia.org, Aha.io, Quora.com

Product Launch Success: Using Wrike to Connect Marketers and Developers
Collaboration 5 min read

Product Launch Success: Using Wrike to Connect Marketers and Developers

Launching a new product is a huge undertaking, with the future of the business often riding on its success. You need every team pulling together to coordinate efforts and prevent costly mistakes. Efficient collaboration is essential, especially between two key teams: developers and marketing. Developers to listen to customer feedback and build the ideal solution, and marketers and their marketing program manager to speak to customer needs and capture their interest. Yet getting these two very different teams on the same page can be extremely difficult. They have different processes, priorities, and oftentimes, communication preferences. And if these departments aren’t in the same office, things only get more complicated. Enter Wrike’s project management tool. Breaking Down Barriers Between Teams With a major product launch on the horizon, marketers and developers are both hard at work. The development team is putting in overtime building features, testing code, and squashing bugs, and marketing is tirelessly preparing campaign materials and ensuring they have an accurate, up-to-date picture of the end product. Both teams are sending a volley of emails and files back and forth, and attending a slew of meetings to share status updates that are often out of date as soon as the meeting ends. It’s inefficient, important emails are easily buried, and teams waste time working with outdated information until the next status meeting. Instead of scrambling to stay up to speed, give your marketing and development teams a shared, real-time workspace where they can collaborate without so much time and effort. With Wrike, each team can see what their colleagues are doing and where in the process they are without sending emails or attending time-consuming meetings. Everyone has access to the information, resources, and people they need in one spot, so nothing stands in the way of the best possible product launch. 4 Ways to Get Your Team on the Same Page 1. Shared Custom Dashboards Clear priorities are a must for delivering products on time. Set up a custom Dashboard for your product launch and share it with everyone involved. It's easy to keep tabs on where critical tasks stand and who's responsible for what by glancing at your widgets.  2. Subtasks  Link interdepartmental tasks for better organization and coordination between teams. Create a subtask for a press release or brochure that's attached directly to the main feature task so your marketing team has the latest details and can always see its current status. Or, use Wrike’s Zapier integration to automatically create a new task whenever an issue or feature is created in Jira. Your marketing team will always have the latest updates and accurate details without having to interrupt developers.  3. @Mention User Groups Use the @Mention feature to send instant notifications with requests for feedback, instruction, or approval to individual teammates or entire user groups. A developer can @mention the entire marketing team to notify them of a delayed release or an important new feature in a matter of seconds. All @mentions and new assignments are collected in each user's notification center, so nothing gets overlooked.  4. Custom Workflows Every company has its own optimal processes, which is why it's important to use a flexible tool that supports how your teams work. Create custom workflows in Wrike to take tasks and projects all the way from initial development to launch. Handoffs between developers and marketing are as simple as a few mouse clicks, since teammates can simply update a task to pass it on to the next stage in the workflow.  Keep Teams Connected with Wrike Wrike makes it easy for all your teams to work together to launch products faster, decrease time to market, and increase market share. With a real-time, collaborative workspace, everyone can see what their teammates are doing and can easily align efforts for improved communication, greater efficiency, and ultimately, a growing business.  See how Wrike can tap your team’s potential by starting a free trial.  

How to Streamline Product Development With Project Management Tools
Project Management 5 min read

How to Streamline Product Development With Project Management Tools

Wondering how to improve work efficiency in product development? Check out Wrike’s product development roadmap template and find out how it can help streamline your processes.