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How can project management process influence the product management process?

Posted: Fri 12 Apr 2013 12:42 pm
by ist

I experience projects in which product managers delivered the requirements with a great delay, or delivered only for 1 or 2 sprints and later on he left the company. Another situation was when a product manager gave us requirements at high-level and when asked details he would endlessly speak without answering to the point.

I wonder now how can the project manager process can influence the product management process bearing in mind that project managers are under the constraints of budget and time?

What kind of levers have you used in these kind of situations?

Re: How can project management process influence the product management process?

Posted: Fri 12 Apr 2013 7:04 pm
by begeland
Hi....and thanks for posting to this forum. First let me say that this is a very difficult situation. Let me ask this...what support higher up do you - or PMs in general - have in your organization? I ask this because no project manager should be asked to shoulder a project where they can't even get requirements from the customer - who in your case seems to be the product manager. Requirements are the lifeblood of the project. Without good, detailed requirements you'll be guessing at a solution and you'll never succeed...yet I fear you and your team will still shoulder the blame.

My advice would be to STOP the project where it is and go back to requirements definition and analysis. You need to spend a week or two hammering out good requirements. But if the PM group has little to no authority in the process (I realize sometimes the product group calls the shots) then this request may fall on deaf ears. Proceeding without good requirements are eventually going to kill the project timeline and budget with re-work as you try to accommodate ever-changing and evolving requirements.

Re: How can project management process influence the product management process?

Posted: Mon 15 Apr 2013 8:55 am
by ist
Thank you very much for your reply 'begeland'.

To answer your questions - the PJM in our company started to be visible and have authority. There is still some way to go.

We have also started to get support from the upper management and now we are EXPECTED to find solutions for this situation when at the product management division is in chaos because of different reasons - one is that the product managers are less professional, the other one is that they have LOTS of meetings to decide the strategy and roadmaps.

I know that the situation I and some of my colleagues experienced is a difficult one. Stopping the project is not an option.

Possible solutions I thought of would be:
  • to prepare a delivery contract and ask the product manager to sign.
  • to propose that heads of development divisions to attend the product management meetings.
I don't know what other things I can do or suggest for us to do. Maybe other members here faced such a situation and can recommend other solutions.

The company already employed, in some departments, requirements engineers as proxy for the product managers. I don't know if this works out well. I have to find out.