An Inside Peek at Doing Product Management for a Product Management Tool

I received a fun email recently from one of our customers.

As many of you know, at Accompa we make a popular SaaS tool used as product management tool (by PM teams) and requirements management tool (by Engineering teams). Some of you may also know that I manage the Product Management & Marketing teams at Accompa.

Our customer was wondering in his email how it’s like to do product management for a product management tool! I hadn’t consciously thought about it a lot before – but his question got me thinking.

The more I thought, the more I realized there are indeed several differences. In this post, I give you an “inside peek” into the key differences in doing product management for a product management tool. Read & enjoy! 🙂

Product Management for a Product Management Tool

Some key differences I can immediately think of (compared to a typical product management role) are:

  • Quality of suggestions from customers
    • I’ve been doing product management in one fashion or another for nearly a decade and a half, for a variety of products. The customer suggestions we receive at Accompa are without a doubt the best quality, most well-thought-out suggestions I’ve seen.
    • This is probably to be expected – because many of our customers are experienced product management professionals themselves.
    • Sometimes, we even get the business case for suggestions, including a detailed list of “If you do this, you’ll get these benefits: X, Y, Z”.
  • Quantity of suggestions from customers
    • In addition to the quality, we also get a large quantity of suggestions.
    • This is again to be expected – since our customers are creative folks used to thinking about products a lot, especially on how to make them better.
  • Our product management team is virtually HUGE!
    • We’re a startup and our own product management team is not big.
    • But due to the above two factors – the virtual extension of our PM team is HUGE. We have a lot of sharp minds thinking about our product critically and offering extremely insightful suggestions.
    • I feel neither expensive consultants nor buckets of money could necessarily buy this. We feel really blessed in this regard.
  • Challenges in sorting through & prioritizing
    • With this quantity and quality of suggestions – our challenge is in sorting through and prioritizing the suggestions.
    • We use our own tool to do some of this activity. We’ve also gotten good insights into how to improve our tool to do this better. We’ll be implementing these ideas in the near future.
  • What drives our roadmap
    • Nearly 100% of our roadmap originates from customer requests.
    • This point may be somewhat controversial, as there’s a school of thought that says you can’t do this. The famous quote by Henry Ford goes something like: “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.
    • But at Accompa, we’re totally comfortable doing just this – and I’m 100% convinced it is the right approach for our product/market combo.

There you go – I hope you found it entertaining!

Editor’s Note:
Interested in an affordable, enterprise-quality software tool to help you manage requirements in a better way? Check out FREE 30-Day trial of Accompa or Sign Up for a Demo.

Michael Shrivathsan

I'm your author, Michael Shrivathsan, an expert in product management with successful experience at several innovative companies in Silicon Valley, USA over the past two decades. I'm also a USPTO patent recipient. For my day job, I'm the VP of Product Management at Accompa, we make the popular requirements management software used by Product Management, Business Analysis, and related teams.

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