As a product manager, your overarching goal is clear: Bring valuable products to market that solve problems for your customers.

Over the past few years, that goal has become more complex thanks to the imperative to get those products to market faster. Fortunately, Lean product management can help.

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What is Lean Product Management?

Lean product management brings the principles of Lean, which focus on delivering more value with less waste, to product management.

Diving deeper, Lean thinking focuses on how organizations can respond to change faster by delivering incremental, continuous improvements and prioritizing value for customers. Lean product management applies these principles to help teams meet the dual imperatives of value and speed to market.

The key ways that Lean product management achieves these goals are through customer feedback and regular experimentation. For example, in a traditional setting, product managers gather requirements from key stakeholders, create a product roadmap, and write user stories that developers use to build the product.

Lean product management changes this approach by:

  • Connecting product managers to customers to provide a better understanding of the problems that need solving
  • Prioritizing experiments for various solutions so the team can validate new product ideas before completing an entire build cycle

As a result of these critical differences, Lean product management helps deliver more value to customers faster.

How to Apply Lean Product Management

Understanding the question of “what is Lean product management” is one thing. Knowing how to put those principles into action is quite another.

At the highest level, applying Lean product management requires a close connection between product managers and customers and a high willingness for experimentation to validate new ideas.

To make those changes successfully, your team must increase visibility, improve prioritization, and focus on efficiency.

Increase visibility

Lean product management requires increased visibility to:

  • meet deadlines reliably
  • bring new products to market quickly
  • remain responsive to customer needs

To attain this visibility and make Lean product management a reality, you need to provide real time insight into the various projects in progress, including the status of each and details on who is working on what. One of the best ways to create this visibility is through a project management solution like Kanban.

Improve prioritization

Another key aspect of Lean product management is effectively prioritizing work by making it easy to identify (and escalate) issues quickly and by ranking upcoming projects by activities and priorities. This type of prioritization is critical to understanding the best order in which to tackle upcoming feature requests to deliver the maximum value for your customers and your business in the shortest amount of time. One of the best ways to improve prioritization is to consider the Cost of Delay.

Focus on efficiency

Finally, Lean product management is all about removing waste by avoiding activities that don’t add value for customers. This mindset can help increase efficiency and eliminate excessive planning to deliver value faster.

Specifically, it allows you to focus on finding solutions for your customers’ top problems and quickly experiment with those solutions to validate whether or not they lead to the desired results. If they do, you have a solution on which your team can then improve. If they don’t, you can move on to the next solution without wasting a complete development cycle on a feature that doesn’t deliver value.

Get Started with Lean Product Management

Once you can answer the questions of “what is Lean product management?” and “how can I apply it in my organization?” there’s nothing left to do but get started so that your team can begin delivering even more value for customers faster.