Product portfolio management is far more involved than managing a specific product model. It involves monitoring, analyzing, and strategically assessing multiple product lines to ensure all models are meeting the needs of the target customer. To successfully manage a product portfolio, companies need to take into account their current and potential offerings while maintaining profitability.
Managing a product portfolio also requires decisions regarding resource allocation, investment structures, and prioritization. Product managers must plan, analyze, & consult with stakeholders on which products to launch, which ones will phase out, and which ones need improvement to stay competitive. Here are five factors to consider when managing a product portfolio.
1. Consider New Product Initiatives
Introducing a new product to the portfolio can be an exciting part of product development. But just because your established products perform well doesn’t guarantee that your new product will be an automatic success. Launching something new requires the same careful research, design, and testing that your very first product required.
You might consider launching a new product for one of the following reasons:
- You want to offer existing customers additional value by solving problems the rest of the portfolio cannot.
- You want a greater share of the market by adding more variety to your existing portfolio.
- You want to target a new segment of the market with a product scope tailored to those customers.
Whatever the reasoning behind your new product strategy and plans, the focus should continue to be delivering value to your customers. Without a market that will buy and use your product, your launch won’t be successful, no matter how interesting your ideas are.
2. Improve Existing Products
Rather than adding entirely new products to your portfolio, you can also look to your existing product lines for opportunities to improve existing models. Involving your product teams can help you determine which ideas to pursue. Each product likely has a list of feature ideas that have been generated by different stakeholders, including customers. Holding a session to discuss and score these features can help you find the next best improvement to pursue.
Analyzing the market for gaps and opportunities can also inform which products you can improve. This continuous push for new ideas and product refinement helps foster innovation amongst your teams while ensuring your product portfolio performs well.
3. Strategically Sunset Product Models
Managing a product portfolio is not just about growing and expanding the portfolio but effectively managing all the products within it. That means making strategic decisions about whether certain models are still profitable. Products that have fulfilled their lifespan and are beyond improvement may be better off with a planned phase-out to make room for new products.
The rate at which your organization will sunset product models will largely depend on your industry. Some industries demand frequent innovation, and some products naturally require regular updates, such as any product that integrates software into its hardware.
Phasing-In and Out of Features
When you build your products on platforms, managing your portfolio may focus more on managing the features of the product rather than separate product models. You might introduce certain new features while phasing out others. When a feature is slated to be phased out, it’s essential to communicate these plans with your product development teams. It’s crucial to schedule the date on the product roadmaps along with alerts that notify any team trying to use that feature beyond the phase-out date.
4. Use Product Roadmap Management Software
Managing your products is much easier when you have powerful software tools that help you gain a high-level oversight of the entire portfolio. A modern and enterprise product roadmap management software enables you to track the roadmaps of all your products, including milestone timelines, launch dates, and important metrics.
Create a Product Portfolio Roadmap
Each product in your portfolio will have a roadmap to track the process from idea and design to build and test and, eventually, the launch. You can also create a product portfolio roadmap to manage the entire collection of products. Unlike a product roadmap that focuses on one model, the portfolio roadmap shows when a collection of products will be introduced to the market. When using roadmapping software, such as Gocious, you’ll have a clear visual way of looking at all your products in one place.
Roadmaps are essential to making and following accurate product plans. The accessibility of roadmapping software cuts down on miscommunication by providing essential details in a central location where all stakeholders can stay informed. This helps everyone know how the product plants fit the bigger picture for the organization.
5. Expand Your Portfolio in Stages
If your company currently has a small product portfolio, you can focus on expanding your offerings in stages rather than trying to expand in all directions at once. Start by getting clear on your existing customers, then start branching out to define other customer segments you could serve with new products or variations on current products.
One way to encourage innovation and avoid market saturation in the process is to enter new markets. That way, you can grow your customer base and expand your product portfolio at the same time.
How to Expand Your Product Portfolio
Thinking about all of the responsibilities involved with product portfolio management can quickly feel overwhelming, especially if you have less experience with large-scale product management. You may be wondering when the right time is to expand the product portfolio. When is the right time to phase out a product that has run its lifespan? Here are some essential factors to consider regarding any product portfolio:
- What are the company’s primary goals?
- Does this product align with those goals?
- Is this product profitable?
- Is there a market for this product?
- Are there other variations to be explored?
- Can this product’s lifecycle be extended?
- When should this product be released or phased out?
Answering these questions can help define the products that stay in the portfolio.
Build a Roadmap for Your Portfolio of Products
Gocious product roadmap management software is a tool that can help you streamline your processes and understand your products and their markets better. Book a free demo with Gocious to see how our product management tools can help you better manage your portfolio.