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Product Management vs Product Line Management

  • 1.  Product Management vs Product Line Management

    Posted 01-16-2020 15:02
    Hi,

    If we say that product marketing / product management covers functions such as:
    - Conducting market and competitive research, including competitive product research
    - Creating sales collaterals
    - Eliciting market/ customer needs and generating market requirements doc.
    - Collaborating with downsteam domain experts to translate market requirements into technical requirements that engineering team can use
    - Prioritizing product initiatives
    - Defining the go-to-market strategy
    - Defining the product positioning and messages to market
    - Etc.

    How would you split roles & responsibilities between product managers and product line managers when an enterprise makes use of Product Line Engineering techniques to create product platform from which a product family is created e.g. a group of related products that is achieved from a product platform to satisfy a variety of market niches ?

    How would you distinguish Product Line Engineering from Product Line Management ?

    Thank you for your reply,

    Mario

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    Mario Sabourin
    Product Line Engineering Manager
    Alstom Transport S.A.
    Saint-Ouen
    +33698587886
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Product Management vs Product Line Management

    Posted 01-17-2020 04:29
    Hi Mario,

                 You have touched a spot on point.

    I would speak of the home appliances industry, but it can be related in any different industry.

    For Product Line Engineering --> They are responsible for the long term 5 years vision with back end technology roadmap, responsible for owning projects & product development

    Product Line Management --> They are responsible for the short term vision 1-2 years where they define and analyze market & consumer trends, P&L ownership, Competitive landscape and providing the input for the product line engineering to tweak the pipeline based on consumer pain points, preferences and customer journey.

    in an Active product development, you will have product line engineering responsible for everything until launch phase and product line management from launch phase onward but that doesn't mean complete black out for the other party during the other's phases but the ownership itself is clear.

    I will try to post a video on this discussion here later today

    ------------------------------
    Seif Abdelghany
    Local Category Manager
    Electrolux Major Appliance
    10th of Ramadan
    seif.abdelghany@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Product Management vs Product Line Management

    Posted 01-17-2020 10:22
    Hello Mario,
    Although from a different environment with different constituents, perhaps the picture below will help you brainstorm and adapt...

    Daniel T Lago
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    Industry Solution Specialist<o:p class=""></o:p>
    E: daniel.lago@softexpert.com<o:p class=""></o:p>
    www.softexpert.com<o:p class=""></o:p>
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    Atlanta Chapter Lead<o:p class=""></o:p>



    ------------------------------
    Daniel Lago
    Product & Industry Expert
    SoftExpert
    Johns Creek GA
    407 502 8357
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  • 4.  RE: Product Management vs Product Line Management

    Posted 01-17-2020 12:30
      |   view attached
    Hi Mario,

              Please find attached video as promised

    ------------------------------
    Seif Abdelghany
    Local Category Manager
    Electrolux Major Appliance
    10th of Ramadan
    seif.abdelghany@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Product Management vs Product Line Management

    Posted 01-19-2020 17:31
    ​Hello Seif and Daniel,

    Thank you for your swift and professional answers. It helps.

    At this point, it would distinguish product management from product line management (platform-based product management) as such:

    1. The management of a product line (could also use the terms 'product platform' or 'product line family'):

      1. Product management :
        1. Responsible for a concrete product (an instance of the product line family that makes re-use of product platform assets), thus it can provide direct feedback to the product line management to maintain and evolve the required functionality and quality of the product line infrastructure ('product plafform' is synonym)
        2. The challenge of product management is to manage, control and plan the product life cycle. The first phase in the life cycle is application engineering which realizes the development of the concrete product that reuses parts of the product line infrastructure.

      1. Product line management
          1. The challenge of product management is to manage, control the lifecycle of the product line infrastructure.
          2. Product line infrastructure is developed during domain engineering
          3. During product line infrastructure maintenance and evolution phase, servicing, engineering, extension, integration, and migration are performed
          4. The product line manager is responsible for managing the lifecycle has to plan the pilot projects, the domain engineering projects, as well as the maintenance and evolution projects
        1. Both have the challenge to manage, control and plan the corresponding lifecyle

      Please note that I found the following interesting Web sites on the subject:
      - https://www.incose.org/incose-member-resources/working-groups/analytic/product-lines
      - http://systemarchitect.mit.edu/

      Mario

      ------------------------------
      Mario Sabourin
      Product Line Engineering Manager
      Alstom Transport S.A.
      Saint-Ouen
      +33698587886
      ------------------------------



    1. 6.  RE: Product Management vs Product Line Management

      Posted 01-20-2020 11:20
      In my experience, the existence of the numerous roles of product manager, program manager, product line manager, product marketing manager, etc. will depend upon the size of the company.  In the smaller company, these are all the various hats worn by the title of product manager.  In larger companies, the roles become different individual jobs, that overlap each other in some aspect.  The exact definition will be contextual and driven by the specific company, culture, processes, resources, etc.

      One way to understand the differences is to look at the different role participation in the different stages of the overall product life cycle.

      The product manager owns the front end of the product life cycle.  The focus here is on defining the what (problem to be solved) and why.  Note this is not a detail product requirements document but a problem / opportunity definition and value proposition definition.

      Many companies have move to an agile approach where the detailed requirements are determined by the agile team in conjunction with customers.  However, before this can happen, a decision needs to be made to spin up an agile team to address a defined opportunity..  Identifying this opportunity, structuring the problem to be solved, forming the value proposition, creating the business justification for it, and navigating it through the approval and funding/resourcing process is at the core of the product manager function.  This is why tasks such as competitive analysis are within the domain of this role.

      Once funded and resourced, the engineering takes the lead to define the "how".  This is where engineering product line managers take the lead to determine how to leverage (or modify) existing platforms to solve the defined problem.  As this work continues, the shape and definition of the actual product evolves in an agile manner.  Project managers keep the cadence on track.  The product manager is involved by not the lead.  Their role is to assure the evolving product does in fact solve the stated problem and delivers the define value proposition.

      As the product moves to launch, product marketing takes the lead, and develops messaging, collateral, training, and provides all other sales support material and activity.

      So in summary, in the larger organization where the references activities are different roles.
      • Product Management - owns the front end of the product life cycle (definition of problem, and value proposition)
      • Product Line Engineering - owns the creation of the actual product.
      • Product Marketing - owns the market introduction, launch, and sales support.

      When you also have a role such as Product Line Manager, the focus of this roles depends their location in the organizational structure.  If on the engineering side, they are focused on platform architectures. If on the marketing side, their focus is on portfolio management.  While a product manager is focused on a specific product.

      Hope this helps,


      ------------------------------
      Daniel E. Lewis PhD, PE, PMP, NPDP
      President - Product Acuity Consulting
      www.productacuity.com
      The Woodlands, Texas
      ------------------------------