- Project and program management are different than product management.
- Website product management is essential, even if you already have strong project management.
- Website product management is responsible for the ongoing, comprehensive quality of the website.
Website product management is responsible for the ongoing, comprehensive quality of the website. This is not the same as project (or program, or portfolio) management, although I frequently find that people default to using these terms interchangeably. These other PMs are also important, but the one that in general seems to be most lacking is product management. To help clients navigate whether they are treating their website as a product, I have developed the following table — you can use the right side as a checklist to see if you are currently taking a product view.
|NOT taking a product view||Taking a product view|
|Primary reason for undertaking a new feature is whether there are staff (and budget) to undertake it||Staff/budget only a part of the discussion, and long term cost (and complexity for user) always considered|
|Asking for clients (including internal clients) to give the requirements||Shaping the requirements, based on current request and broader needs Working with clients to define requirements that can be delivered and tested in the near term Boldly surprising users with features they wouldn't know to ask for|
|High frequency of one-off features||Steering requirements toward those that solve a wide range of stakeholder needs|
|Primary discussion around whether features delivered to requirements||Primary discussion around whether user (and organizational) needs are met|
|Narrow, silo, or discipline-specific perspective||Considering all stakeholders and all user touchpoints|
|Scheduling into the medium or long term future for features that are known now||Setting up a process for ongoing improvements, including those that no one can currently foresee|
|Rewarding the squeaky wheels||Rewarding the truly important stakeholders|