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Product (or service) management includes a wide range of management activities, ranging from the time that there's a new idea for a product to eventually providing ongoing support to customers who have purchased the new product. Every organization conducts product management, whether it's done intentionally or unintentionally.

This module provides a wide overview of considerations in developing and managing a product. How a product is developed or managed is depends very much on the nature of the organization and its products, for example, retail, manufacturing, wholesale, etc. Note that different people might even have different categorizations for the activities described below.

NOTE: Nonprofit organizations often provide services in the form of "programs", rather than "products" -- although the services from the programs are certainly "products" to groups of clients. Therefore, readers from nonprofit organizations might be better served to read the following guide: Basic Guidelines for Nonprofit Program Design and Marketing

Sections of This Topic Include:

Basic Introduction to Product Management
Approaches to Developing Products and Services
Product Idea
(Are You Planning a New Business Around Your New Idea?)
Product Evaluation -- Can Your Idea Become a Viable Product or Service? Product Development -- Building Your Product or Service
Product Production -- Ongoing Building of Products or Services Product Distribution, Advertising and Promotion, Sales and Service Also See the Library’s Blogs Related to this Topic

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to this topic. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog.

Library's Business Planning Blog
Library's Customer Service Blog
Library's Leadership Blog

Basics Introduction to Product Management

Businesses can generate revenue from selling more of the current products to more of the current customers (customer maximization), more of the current products to new customers (customer development), new products to current customers (product development), or new products to new customers (diversification). Product Managers – How Do You Measure Their Success?

To Broaden Your Perspective on Product Management

Many of the activities in product management are also activities in the overall process of marketing. Basics of Marketing (from idea to evaluating to developing to producing) Life Cycle Planning (everything has a life cycle, including products) Broaden Your Perspective Even More?( Or If You Need an Investor or Funder)

If the reader is highly motivated at this point, then he or she might scan the information about the basics of business planning. Business planning is usually conducted when starting a new organization or a new major venture, for example, new product, service or program. Essentially, a business plan is a combination of a marketing plan, strategic plan, operational/management plan and a financial plan. Funders or investors usually require a business plan. Far more important than the plan document, is the planning process itself. Basics of Business Planning

Approaches to Developing Products and Services

There are five different approaches that people use to develop a product or service. The following article provides an overview of each of the methods. Approaches to Developing Products and Services

Also see Intellectual Discipline in Product Development

Idea for New Product or Service
Sources of Ideas

At this stage, someone has an idea for a new product or service. Ideas can come from many sources, for example: 1. Complaints from current customers (see Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction) 2. Requests for Proposals from large businesses, government agencies, etc. 3. Modifications to current products (see Innovation)

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