The Importance Of Managing The Product Lifecycle

Having a deep understanding of the various stages of the product lifecycle is important when it comes to developing new products. Knowing the stages helps in computing the feasibility and viability of a new product. 

You will be better able to answer these questions: 

  • Is it worth building this product? 
  • Will it survive in the market? 
  • If it does survive, when can we expect to make money off of it? 

Typically, in an agile product lifecycle, a product manager can run a series of small experiments to get answers to these questions. Here are some reasons why the product lifecycle is important. 

Having a deep understanding of the various stages of the product lifecycle is important when it comes to developing new products. Knowing the stages helps in computing the feasibility and viability of a new product. 

You will be better able to answer these questions: 

  • Is it worth building this product? 
  • Will it survive in the market? 
  • If it does survive, when can we expect to make money off of it? 

Typically, in an agile product lifecycle, a product manager can run a series of small experiments to get answers to these questions. Here are some reasons why the product lifecycle is important. 

Estimation, Planning, And Forecasting

Once you’ve decided that a product is feasible and that it is worth going ahead with, then comes the next stage: product planning and forecasting. This is where in-depth knowledge of the product lifecycle can assist in making plans and preparing forecasts for revenue, margins, market size, and customer base.

There is a school of thought that says that all this planning is in vain since no one has a clue about whether a product will succeed. However, the very act of working on a product roadmap by planning, estimation, and forecasting forces a product manager to think hard, ask difficult questions, and examine hidden assumptions that are unaddressed. Forewarned is forearmed.

Additionally, I don’t know of a single executive leadership team in any organization that has approved large product budgets relying only on the product manager’s say-so and hunches, so it is a necessary exercise anyway.

Personally, I always prefer an appointment with my dentist to a budget approval process, but if you come across such an executive team, be sure to let me know! I’ve taken a large sip of my elixir of immortality, just in case.

Marketing Planning And Approach

Different stages of the product lifecycle require specific marketing approaches. For instance, in the introduction phase, customers have no clue about the product, so marketing needs to introduce the product to potential customers and educate them about its benefits. 

During the maturity phase of the product, marketing primarily relies on product differentiation to promote sales. When products approach end-of-life, discounts and rebates are often offered which attract customers who would not otherwise have bought that product.

Communication Between Teams

Product management requires a multidisciplinary approach including design, engineering, marketing, sales, and support just to name a few. Working with multiple teams invariably brings about the challenge of communication and coordination.

The benefit of the product management lifecycle is that it allows all teams to work with a unified paradigm so that it is easier to coordinate for success.

Concurrent Product Development

All products reach the end-of-life phase. Therefore, it is important for companies to have a pipeline of concurrent products to ensure that they maintain or increase levels of revenue and market share.

At the same time, it is important to ensure that new products do not cannibalize existing ones. The product management lifecycle helps to synchronize product development to optimize the life of each product in its product portfolio.

Product Lifecycle vs. Project Lifecycle

There is often confusion about the difference between the product lifecycle and the project lifecycle. I’ll attempt to clear some of the confusion around this topic:

  • A project is defined as an endeavor undertaken to create a service, product, or result. The project lifecycle has a definite beginning and end with a clearly defined scope and resources.

  • The objectives of the project lifecycle and the product lifecycle are quite different. A project is used to achieve a pre-defined outcome that may or may not be a product. 

  • The product lifecycle may use many projects to achieve its goals, but the reverse is usually not true.