Product management is a coordinating role that deals with design, planning, production, forecasting, marketing and sales of product during all stages of the product?s life cycle. As people and processes from different departments come together to form a product, so Systems Thinking as per ISO 14001 Quality management system which views the Organization as a combination of interacting processes which affect one another is a great tool to understand this complexity. The barriers across different departments have to be brought down to develop a product. Systems thinking greatly helps in achieving this objective.
Don Norman says. ?No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service. Make them all work together seamlessly. That?s systems thinking.?
To develop a product, the product managers have to listen to the voice of the customer, the offerings of the competitors, technological change. The design team has its own considerations that take a product from a drawing to a prototype and a launch. Purchases have to be made and storage and production have to be organized and controlled. Selling of the product and market reaction and customer reaction have to be taken into account. How the customer experiences the product through its life cycle has to be observed. A television is more than a product, it is an experience and a family get together social phenomenon.
The product managers have to understand the eco-system in which a product exists, the peoples who shall interact with it and its life cycle. Product management is about working with and understanding, explaining and interpreting and fine tuning different sub-systems. Product management is about managing systems that become more complex and dynamic with evolution.
Systems thinking brings together all these discordant elements together in a whole and makes the different parts understandable to those dealing with product management. Product managers have to understand the whole of the product as well as its parts. Frequently, the design will change a component such as a processor of a Lap top or a hard drive or put in a screen with a new technology. Product management has to understand how the change in the part affects the whole and also the effect on the market response to the innovations and changes.
Systems thinking is important for Product Managers to fully understand the different stakeholders and other variables that affect the business of the product. How is the product discovered by the buyer, how is it purchased, first use, continued usage, returns and upgrades are functions handled by different parts of a company. But the product management is tasked with overseeing all these activities, and Systems thinking provides them with the tools to achieve them.
The Systems thinking is a great model for enabling Product management through product design, development, prototyping, development and launch. It is also used to understand competition or market reaction. ISO 14001 Consultants play an important role in creating awareness about Systems Thinking to their clients for its use in Product Development.