The 'Lean Pirate' Framework: A Fresh Perspective On Product Management

In 2015, during my tenure at a large e-commerce company as a principal product manager, I found myself spearheading an ambitious project: expanding the company to more than 100 countries lacking a local e-commerce presence. The pressing question? “Which features do we incorporate into our new cross-border e-commerce product?”
Despite the vast resources poured into its development, the initial version—crafted over 14 months with input from more than 100 developers—didn't resonate with the global audience. The feedback was clear: Customers preferred shopping through the company's existing platforms with their extensive product range, rather than navigating a separate global platform. Within a month of its beta launch, the response was overwhelmingly negative. Shockingly, users abandoned the app within mere seconds of their first interaction. A staggering 98% drop-off rate within just two days seemed to suggest only the company's employees were hanging around to test the product.
Faced with this glaring setback, we had to make the daunting decision to scrap months of effort and re-strategize.
Rooted in the lean startup movement and the pirate metrics concept prevalent among startups, the lean pirate framework became our guiding beacon.
Lean Pirate Framework: Tailoring Features For New Products
The lean startup methodology emphasizes hypothesis validation before product development. The riskier the hypothesis, the more urgent its validation. While “pirate metrics”—with its catchy AARRR acronym (acquisition, activation, retention, referral, revenue)—defined which product features to focus on.
Merging these philosophies birthed our lean pirate framework. To implement this framework in your own company, it must be centered around:
-Singularity in focus: The first principle is that you need to identify the one killer feature in your product and get it right. Any additional features should not be developed unless they are required, as per the other principles in the framework.
-Immediate value delivery: Users must instantly perceive the product's value to prevent abandonment.
-Retention and stickiness: While retention emphasizes recurring user engagement, stickiness impedes users from migrating to competitors.
-Product-led growth: Both the lean startup principles and pirate metrics concept require that your product have functionality, which supports its growth. Now popularized as "product-led growth," ensure you have features that drive customers to increase purchases and invite more customers.
-Monetization strategy: It's pivotal to blueprint monetization pathways upfront. Rather than merely allowing transactions, the user's entire purchase journey needs meticulous planning. Armed with this funnel, introducing analytics can sharpen future conversion strategies.
The "lean pirate" framework isn't just a methodology; it's a mindset that refines product management for the modern era. Through this lens, businesses can craft experiences, not just products, and adapt to the nuanced needs of a global audience.

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Future of (Product) Managers in an AI-led world: Here is how to thrive

The field of product management is rapidly changing, and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way products are developed, marketed, and sold.
With AI becoming more mainstream and capable to automate a lot of mundane tasks, Product Management role is up for a real disruption and many product managers will face the heat in the coming days.
Market trends in 2023 and beyond

There are 2 mega trends at play in the world today:
1.Economic downturn
2.Rise of generative AI (and automations)
Combine the two trends, layoffs and cost cuttings are bound to happen (obviously speaking).
Recession-proof skills in any company
When it comes to any company, two skills that are recession proof are:
1.Either you can create (i.e engineering)
2.Or you can sell (sales)
Of course, the above 2 roles are also being let go of, but that’s because companies have hired too many engineers/sales teams (look at Twitter).
The product management role needs to be reimagined, as it has lately become ‘the’ lucrative role everyone is going after.
The PM role has often been debated and unlike any other role in the tech industry, product management role has its own flavor depending on the company, team and industry.
Redefining Product Management Role
What about Product Management? I believe, there are 2 ways to look at it:
1.Product management as a function, as a skill
2.Product management as a role, a title
The reality of most product management roles
A lot of product managers are in for that ‘managerial’ title, where they are neither coding nor selling or marketing — and are mostly doing program management role, i.e. interfacing with engg, product, marketing, sales etc.
Of course, this is much needed, but what are the real skills expected from a product manager?
What are the skills of a product manager?
Skill wise, I’d divide the Product Management role in 2 broad buckets.
1.Core skills.
2.Functional skills
Note that these aren’t mutually exclusive roles, but a healthy overlap is needed to really ensure that the product manager is the one person to ask/discuss anything related to the customer needs.
What kind of a product manager are you?
Are you a functional product manager or the one who is deeply performing core skills?
Of course, there is going to be an overlap between the two — but if you don’t own customer interactions and you are not going out and talking, you are not performing the core skills, it’s going to be a tough time ahead.
How to really thrive in 2023 and beyond?
Build on core skills.
Learn to ask a lot of questions.
Have an open mind when it comes to customer interactions.
Own the show.

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What Is Product Management? Career Options To Consider

What is product management? This field involves overseeing new products and services from initial conception and development all the way to launch. Product managers decide which products are made and how they are made and released.
These professionals typically propose new ideas for product and feature development, then collaborate with designers and engineers to make those ideas come to life. They also ensure finished products meet consumers’ needs.
Below, we translate the key concepts behind product management into terms people outside the profession can readily understand.
What is Product Management?
Product management features three commonly agreed-upon focus areas, or pillars: product discovery, product planning and product development. Read on to learn more.
.Product Discovery
Product discovery means deciding what to build. It is arguably the most important responsibility within product management.
A product manager identifies new opportunities by soliciting customers’ feedback.
.Product Planning
Product planning involves developing a guide—often called a roadmap—for product design. Using the information gathered in product discovery, the roadmap sets out a timeline, identifies key milestones and divides responsibilities among teams, all to achieve the best possible product.
.Product Development
Product development, the broadest of these three categories, encompasses the entire development process. This pillar includes all the stages necessary for bringing a new product to market, from the original vision through the product’s release to the consumer and beyond.
What is a Product Manager?
Product managers shepherd new products and services into being, ushering them from development to execution and release. They use market research in the discovery phase to ascertain consumers’ needs. Product managers know the competitive landscape for new products—who their most likely users are and where opportunities for improvement and expansion lie.
However, product management jobs can take on different specializations within this wide field, which we explore below.
Types of Product Managers
Each of the following roles within product management focuses on specialized aspects of the product development process.
.Data Product Manager
Data product managers incorporate data-driven insights into the development process. A data product manager sifts through this information and translates it into plain terms that colleagues can readily use during development.
.Growth Product Manager
Growth product managers are responsible for ensuring products scale up. They experiment with strategies for retaining customers and acquiring new ones by expanding consumer awareness. They analyze the results of those experiments and create plans for increasing their products’ market share.
.Technical Product Manager
Technical product managers bring design and engineering expertise to product development. They have the technical know-how to identify bugs and other potential flaws, using these insights to correct issues in collaboration with engineering and software development teams.
Product Manager vs. Product Owner
A product manager establishes product concepts and sets goals to help bring these plans to fruition. Working in product management has more outward-facing duties, as these professionals liaise with marketing and sales teams, manage budgets and focus on the business aspects of development.
On the other hand, product owners handle the ensuing execution. They implement product managers’ vision through collaboration with developers and other internal stakeholders. Product owner is a title with roots in Scrum, a framework for project management that emphasizes teamwork, speed and flexibility.

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Best AI Tools for Product Managers in 2023

The rapid expansion of the AI market has surprised and amazed people everywhere. In addition to improving product managers’ productivity, the newly developed technologies can potentially spur the emergence of entirely new professions. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when there are thousands of tools accessible and more arriving every week.
ClickUp
ClickUp is an all-in-one project management tool that facilitates better communication amongst teams of all sizes and sectors. ClickUp is a leading product management solution because of how adaptable and simple it is to use for tasks like product creation and planning. It’s a highly flexible platform with many premade product team templates for product planning, roadmaps, and new launches. ClickUp’s adaptability and useful tools make it possible for any team to tailor the platform to their own needs and the nuances of their workflow.
Jam
JamGPT is a cutting-edge AI tool that aids product managers in understanding issues and locating potential fixes they can communicate to their engineering teams. Their productivity increases and their access to technical discussions expand. JamGPT’s capacity to provide context to non-technical product managers, whether through in-depth explanations or fast TLDRs, facilitates the rollout of features at every level. It streamlines sharing and working on product improvement by integrating an intelligent AI assistant and the valuable data gathered by the primary bug reporting feature with project management tools like ClickUp, Slack, or Github.
Motion
Motion is a clever tool that uses AI to create daily schedules that account for your meetings, tasks, and projects. Say goodbye to the hassle of planning and hello to a more productive life.
ChatGPT
By providing relevant responses to most questions, ChatGPT became one of the most popular natural language processing (NLP) tools for product managers, providing a better experience than a search engine query. Tests conducted by product managers reveal that the results are sensitive to the questions they ask. ChatGPT’s adaptability is a major selling point. Answer one-of-a-kind questions to enhance product growth, customer service, and more.
Canva
Canva’s free picture generator makes it easy to see how useful it can be in a product manager’s day-to-day work. Finding appropriate visuals for use in presentations and decks at stakeholder meetings, product launches, and the like has always been difficult. Often, you have a clear mental picture of what you want, but the available stock photos need to be revised.
TLDV
Let’s be honest: much of your time as a product manager will be spent in meetings. A strong presentation is essential whether you’re pitching a new product feature to the stakeholders or trying to sell it to the engineering team. TLDV is an AI program that helps you be more productive by taking meeting notes and summarizing them into bullet points.
Notion
One of the most popular note-taking apps, Notion, has recently been upgraded with cutting-edge AI features. This means that product managers can take pleasure in their everyday workflows by establishing business wikis and product roadmaps with the help of a capable artificial intelligence that improves communication and cuts down on time spent on repetitive chores like summarizations.
Otter.AI
Otter.ai is an artificial intelligence-driven platform that facilitates the accurate recording and transcription of meetings and discussions. It employs AI to instantly transcribe conversations and create searchable, accessible, and encrypted notes that can be easily shared. Otter can automatically join and record Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet meetings.
Collato
Can’t you track down certain product information in the mountains of paperwork your team has generated? Collato is your team’s artificial intelligence assistant, keeping track of all the information that needs to be readily available and just a click away.
Midjourney AI
Due to the remarkable and, in some circumstances, very lifelike visuals it can generate, Midjourney AI has become one of the most extensively used AI-driven software, second only to ChatGPT. It can take any input and produce remarkable outcomes.
H2O AI
One of AI’s most debated aspects is whether users’ data should be kept private; H2O solves this problem by making it simple for every business to develop its language models and AI tools. H2O.AI makes it simple to create custom AI tools—a feat that could have taken months to accomplish in the past—by just plugging in your data.
Product Launch AI
Product Launch AI is an advanced AI system created to expedite the introduction of new products. It offers tools to help customers develop engaging material for their product’s debut and market its novelty. Taglines to boost click-throughs, resources to expand your audience, and a stress-free copywriting tool are all included.
Leanbe
Leanbe is a product management platform for data-driven teams that facilitates gathering feature requests and feedback, developing product roadmaps in response to those requests, and disseminating product updates. To continuously prioritize ideas, the application employs AI to collect input from customers, team members, and competitors.
QikPM
QikPM is an AI-driven platform that helps product managers streamline app development and boost teamwork. QikPM allows product managers to generate user stories with a button easily. Each month, you can use this tool’s free quota of 50 user stories to get your creative juices flowing and shape your product’s future.
Unbound
A ubiquitous AI/ML interface, Unbound facilitates content automation for businesses. Users may instantly generate images and text from a centralized search bar. Unbound allows users to upload a single, high-resolution, background-less image of their product. The idea is then processed to create a unique scene editor for unlimited product shots against any backdrop.
Productify.ai
Productify.ai helps organizations create product content to improve eCommerce campaigns and consumer experience. Marketing text, product descriptions, social media content, website structure optimization, and SEO performance summary and mass processing are program features.Productify.ai can turn visual tables into clear, well-organized digital material. This tool makes it easy to find, describe, and learn about objects online.
Scale Catalog
Scale Catalog’s AI can improve eCommerce catalog data and customer experiences. Machine learning, operational efficiency, and technical labor accelerate eCommerce experience creation. The tool integrates with existing systems and has APIs for product data access and enhancement.
Delibr AI
Delibr AI is an artificial intelligence-driven tool that expedites the production of high-quality product documentation for product managers. It has a two-way Jira interface to keep product documentation and Jira in sync, as well as dynamic templates to ensure best practices are followed, writing assistance to generate content in various formats, feedback and revision to refine the language for clarity and concision, and more.
ManageBetter
Productive teams can flourish with the support of ManageBetter’s user-friendly tools, which include customizable action plans, meaningful career goals, and constructive feedback for managers. ReviewBuilder is an AI-powered platform that can quickly and easily generate clear, accurate performance reports.
WriteMyPRD
Created using artificial intelligence (AI), WriteMyPRD is a PRD writing tool. It runs on GPT-3, a robust natural language processing model capable of generating a PRD for any product, and it gives users access to many resources to get them started. The product developers at Olvy and The Product Folks created this app, which can be downloaded into Slack.

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Ultimate guide to understanding Product Management

We literally use hundreds of products on a daily basis; from smartphones, cars, laptops, to socks! How do these products end up becoming the way they are, in terms of features? Surely, the manufacturing department makes these products in factories, but who tells them what shape, form, feature, or for that matter, weight of a particular product ought to be? And who ensures that the product being made is in line with customers’ latent or explicit needs. You guessed it, it is the Product Managers whose job it is to ensure the above.
Becoming a Product Manager can offer a chance to experience leadership and connection, and the opportunity to create impactful products. This role may be a natural progression for those with backgrounds in engineering, marketing, sales, or design.
Product management is the process of overseeing the development and lifecycle of a product, from conception to retirement. It involves balancing the needs of customers, stakeholders, and the business to ensure that a product is delivered that meets customer needs and achieves business goals. Good product management requires a deep understanding of the market and customers, effective communication and collaboration skills, and a strategic approach to product development and planning.
Here is an ultimate guide about the key aspects of product management and what it takes to excel as a Product Manager.
1.Defining the Role of a Product Manager
Product management at its core is about solving customer problems. Product managers assess various factors such as business goals, market trends, customer needs, and technological capabilities to make informed decisions that balance customer value and business impact. They work closely with key stakeholders to ensure successful delivery and communicate the product's value to the company and customers.
2.Understanding the Responsibilities of a Product Manager
Product managers have a wide range of responsibilities that go beyond just overseeing product development. They work with cross-functional teams, including executives, developers, sales, and marketing, to gather inputs and ensure alignment with business goals.
3.Developing the Skills of a Successful Product Manager
To excel in product management, one needs a technical understanding, strong stakeholder management skills, customer-focused approach, and data-driven decision-making capabilities. Effective communication and collaboration skills are also crucial, as product managers need to work with diverse teams and stakeholders.
4.Distinguishing Product Management from Other Roles
Product management is distinct from project management and marketing. While project management focuses primarily on delivery and marketing raises awareness of the product, product management is about defining the "what" and "why" of solutions that solve customer problems.
5.Understanding Salary and Career Growth in
The salary of a product manager varies greatly based on factors such as experience, location, industry, and company size. Product management offers ample opportunities for career growth, with potential roles such as senior product manager, director of product management, and chief product officer, among others.
In summary, effective product management is characterised by a customer-focused approach, technical understanding, strong stakeholder management, data-driven decision making, effective prioritisation, and alignment with business strategy. A successful product manager understands their target users and customers, has a close relationship with them, works with multiple stakeholders, uses both qualitative and quantitative data to inform their decisions, prioritise tasks effectively, and tie their product work to the business goals.

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