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Maintain the Balance: A Product Manager’s Manifesto

Written by: Tricia Chang, Product Manager

This is not a particularly newsworthy revelation, and certainly not the first time anyone has heard it:

Facebook moves at a pretty fast pace.

No matter what stage you look at in the evolution of Facebook, its rate of innovation has never been slow — and with the idea of “moving fast” at the core of the company’s internal cultural values, this comes as no surprise. At Nanigans, our challenge is to strike a balance between delivering Facebook’s product enhancements while maintaining an intuitive interface that allows our self-service customers to manage their own campaigns. As a SaaS company, it’s crucial that we expose complex data to our customers in an easy to understand and cohesive user experience — from Cohort Analysis to Conversion Tools.

Between testing new ad types and updating the interface with new targeting options, we as product managers have to ask ourselves:

“What should we build next? And where do we start?”

Our team of product managers is responsible for understanding customer needs and translating them into products that address market challenges. With hundreds of paths we could take in our quest for customer success, staying focused is crucial. To help us stay on track, there are five main questions we always ask in any conversation pertaining to our mission — and more than a dozen related concerns to address as we continue to advance our software and our Facebook partnership.

1. Who is our audience?

This may be the most crucial question product managers ask because it determines field of vision and course of action. It is also the gateway to other important questions, such as:

  • Who am I building for?
  • What are their needs/concerns?
  • What is their current day-to-day like?
  • What do they hope to achieve today, tomorrow, and next year?

At Nanigans, we work to empower the in-house advertiser, so we focus on powerhouse performance marketers and ways to arm them with revenue-driving features that can be seamlessly integrated into our SaaS-based automation software.

2. What are we delivering?

An equally important question is “what” – what can we deliver that tests the market and adds superior value? As product managers, we make it our responsibility to know what our customers need. We form hypotheses, continually validate those hypotheses and evolve our product iteratively through learning.

With a number of products to develop at any given time, we often test these hypotheses through MVPs (minimum viable product). Product managers at Nanigans know an MVP needs to do three things:

  • Give us rapid validation that we met the market need
  • Provide us with an understanding of how customers intend to use the product
  • Offer an idea on how the product will perform

3. Why is this feature important?

Understanding what you’re building and why it’s important are all part of the product ideation process. With so many features and enhancements to choose from and limited development time and resources, the benefits for each product greatly influence the order of development priorities. Factors to consider include:

  • How does this product make the customer experience better?
  • Does it save our customers time?
  • Does it streamline a confusing workflow?
  • Does it yield better results?

Like our in-house marketers, Nanigans is focused on results, so building products that provide quantifiable value and ease to our clients is central to our company vision.

4. How does this product impact our customers?

With improvements and iteration come change, and with an innovative partner like Facebook, these improvements come often. Because our clients are important to us, we continually evaluate and push solutions that provide the most value, yet have the least impact. Our focus on providing a truly SaaS software permeates through the development and the delivery of each and every product, so to reduce the risk of negative side effects, we ask ourselves:

  • Are there additional steps we can take that go above and beyond the feature that can help shield clients from impact?
  • What are the drawbacks or implications for implementing a product a certain way?
  • What are things our clients may need to do upon launch, and can we automate a process to prevent them from having to do that?

Minimizing client impact is a top priority for Nanigans, especially because the value we bring to in-house marketers is the freedom and flexibility to control their own destinies.

5. How do we plan on delivering it?

Product entry, timing and delivery into the market has to be strategically thought through. At Nanigans we continually balance Facebook’s fast-paced updates with our need to deliver easy-to-digest features to our in-house advertising customers. There are a number of things we take into consideration when determining a product launch plan. We provide a platform that services all types of businesses, each with different of business cycles, so our considerations before launch include:

  • When is the most opportune timing for release?
  • Should we open it up with a beta to test the market and minimize risk?
  • How should we communicate the product to the audience to increase feature adoption?

With a mountain of features and limited time, keeping pace with Facebook, while maintaining a high standard for delivering intuitive user experience to our customers has become our Everest. As product managers, we continue adjusting the roadmap, but our vision remains the same – empower the in-house marketer and just keep on climbing.

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