Product Management

Breaking Down the Product Management Lifecycle: 8 Stages

Content Writer

Athira V S

Created on:

June 24, 2024

Updated on:

June 24, 2024

12 mins read

Breaking Down the Product Management Lifecycle: 8 Stages

Recent trends point toward product-led growth having huge potential to drive business progress. The goal looks simple enough – "to transform product development into a key driver of revenue, ensuring long-term success and sustainability." However, it stops being straightforward once you face the challenge of drafting your product strategy and aligning it with business goals and customer needs. To achieve that, you need to understand the product management process and know how to leverage data and consumer insights to drive growth.

Let us simplify it for you and break down the eight stages of the product management lifecycle. Hang around for some helpful tips to guide you through every step of the way.

What is a product management lifecycle?

The product management lifecycle outlines the stages of every product's existence, from conception to the day when it's no longer needed. The handy thing about this is that it applies to anything and everything, from cars to shampoo to digital and software products.

When understood, careful product lifecycle management provides a structured approach to managing a product's journey, ensuring that each phase is handled wisely, squeezing out the most potential for its success and profitability. It includes:

  • Aligning the product with market needs so it remains relevant and competitive
  • Mitigating costly risks and errors
  • Optimizing resources
  • Focusing on continuous improvement
  • Bringing value to customers
  • Building brand trust and awareness

Product management lifecycle: 8 stages

Product ideation

The first stage of the product's lifecycle is, well, starting its "life." The goal here is to generate and refine ideas for new products or features. This stage is all about creativity and innovation.

Throw yourselves into dynamic brainstorming sessions and dive deep into market research. This might be a good time to put down that crime novel and switch to reading customer feedback. Let your creativity flow and explore possibilities before narrowing them down to the most promising concepts.

If you don't know where to start (or you're too hooked on that murder case), we've got just the thing.

https://youtu.be/zDmMLR62A8w

Zeda.io empowers your product team by providing a centralized platform for collecting and analyzing customer feedback. We turn voice-of-customer into valuable products that generate revenue in two easy steps:

  1. Capture and centralize VoC from multiple sources with customer portals, widgets, communication channels, over 5K integrations, and AI customer feedback analysis.
  1. Get actionable insights and decide what to create with our AI product management and machine learning technologies that understand customer sentiment. Use our feedback themes, insights templates and automatic summaries to speed things up. Zeda.io also helps you grasp revenue aspects, reasons behind lost sales and opportunities for untapped earning potential.

With its AI-driven insights, you can identify key trends and preferences that might otherwise go unnoticed. This ensures that your product ideation process is grounded in real-world data, increasing the likelihood of developing products that truly resonate with your customers.

The graph below shows how AI can improve team efficiency and productivity by analyzing information, sifting through customer opinions, identifying trends, and facilitating faster decision-making.

Source: Product School

Product validation

The next stage is sifting through your ideas to see which ones are viable, desirable and feasible. This phase ensures that your product concept has real potential and is worth pursuing further.

Zeda.io helps you validate product ideas with AI insights. After filtering through thousands of feedback responses, the program prioritizes which feature development requests come up the most and which have the biggest ROI potential.

This is a good place to start creating simple prototypes or mockups to illustrate your concept.

Product planning

Once you have the general idea, it's time to shape it into a concrete plan. This involves setting clear goals, defining the product development roadmap, and allocating resources to ensure successful execution.

Zeda.io allows you to build impact-first roadmaps and bring value with our customizable roadmap templates. They help prioritize outcomes, revenue, or impact, whatever matters most in your case. Access controls and integrations smooth out collaboration on these projects.

Set SMART goals and criteria that will help you measure product management success. These can include:

  • Customer acquisition targets
  • Revenue milestones
  • Performance benchmarks

Product development and design

The fourth stage of the product management cycle is when the vision boards are brought to life as tangible products. It's time for your product teams to get their hands dirty with designing the user experience, building the product and ensuring it meets the necessary specifications.

We can break this stage down even more:

  • Design Phase:some text
    • User Experience (UX) Design: Creating prototypes and user flows to map the user journey and interactions.
    • User Interface (UI) Design: Developing the visual elements of the product, including color schemes, typography and overall aesthetics.
  • Development Phase:some text
    • Front-End Development: Building the parts of the product that users interact with, such as the website or app interface.
    • Back-End Development: Creating the server-side logic, databases and APIs that support the front-end and enable the product to function well.
  • Integration: Ensuring that all components of the product work together seamlessly.

Testing and quality assurance

Testing and quality assurance is the fifth stage of the product management lifecycle. As you can probably guess, it's all about checking whether your product meets quality standards, actually functions and is safe to use. Here's what to consider in this process:

  • Unit testing: Checking individual components and modules to ensure they work as intended. Developers usually do this when coding.
  • Integration testing: Examining the connections between components to see whether they work as a group, not just individually.
  • System testing: End-to-end testing of the complete software system includes functional verification of the product as a whole.
  • Performance testing: Evaluating the program's performance under various conditions, such as load testing to see how it handles high traffic or stress testing to determine its breaking point.
  • Security testing: Assessing the product for potential vulnerabilities to ensure it's protected against threats and breaches.
  • User acceptance testing (UAT): Involving real users to test the product to ensure it meets their needs and expectations. This is usually the final phase before the product is launched (Psst: You can also use Zeda.io at this stage to collect feedback from your customer base).

Product launch and go-to-market

If you've made it this far, you should be ready to set a launch date for your shiny new solution. The market introduction phase can be scary, but you've done your research so rest easy knowing it will be received well. Plus, we have a product launch checklist for product managers you can check out.

This is when your marketing and sales teams shine as they build brand awareness, hype up the launch and aim to generate sales. Here are some ideas you can use for the product marketing strategy:

  • Social media campaigns
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Physical advertising such as billboards, leaflets or posters (yes, people still use those!)
  • Webinars
  • Live demonstrations
  • Launch parties
  • Presentations at industry events

Use Zeda.io to close feedback loops on autopilot with AI release notes. Customize them with branding and share them with any channels you want. Finish the process neatly with analytics regarding the reach and engagement of your release notes.

Post-launch monitoring and updates

Now that your product is out in the wild your product management team can finally sit back and relax, right? Wrong! Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but monitoring never really ends. You should do it during the entire length of a product's lifecycle.

This is what you need to focus on now:

  • Performance tracking: Monitor product management key performance indicators (KPIs) such as user engagement, retention rates, sales figures and customer satisfaction. This helps assess how well the product is performing against the defined goals.
  • User feedback collection: Gather customer feedback with surveys, reviews and direct interactions. You already know Zeda.io can help with this, so feel free to use it again at this stage. It will let you spot areas of improvement and understand user needs better.
  • Bug fixing: Address any issues or bugs reported by users or identified through performance tracking. Ensuring the product is at its best is essential for maintaining user trust and satisfaction.
  • Feature enhancements: Keep improving the product by adding new features or enriching existing ones based on customers' feedback and market trends. This makes your solution relevant and competitive. Plus, a 2024 study showed that complementary products can cause around 93% of repeat purchases.
  • User support and training: Provide comprehensive support and training to help users get the most out of the product. This includes updating documentation, creating tutorials, offering customer support and setting up self-service resources (which can boost conversions by up to 50%!).
  • Marketing and promotion: Your product marketing manager should continue with advertising efforts to drive customer acquisition and retention. This can include new campaigns, promotions and regular content releases to keep the product top-of-mind for existing and potential customers.

Product end-of-life

The eighth and final product stage is the end-of-life. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the end of your business! When you notice your product is becoming obsolete, you can circle to the first stage to make something new – whether it's based on the product in its late maturity phase or something completely fresh and different. That's what Zeda.io is here for!

If you've decided to sunset the product altogether, use these tips to guide you through this process:

  • Open communication: Discuss your decision with stakeholders, employees, investors and partners. Make sure to tell your product users about the discontinuation and guide them on the next steps, so they don't feel left out and are left with a positive image of your brand.
  • Transition planning: Develop a plan to help existing customers migrate to alternative solutions. This may involve providing migration tools, data export options or assistance in finding alternatives.
  • Sunsetting activities: Gradually wind down support services, discontinue sales and marketing efforts and decommission infrastructure associated with the product.
  • Final insights: Reflect on the product's lifecycle by gathering insights and documenting findings for future products.

Conclusion

We hope this made product management operations simpler for you. It's not something you can learn overnight, but with the right product management lifecycle tools it becomes less overwhelming.

Remember, you don't have to do it alone. Zeda.io is here throughout most of the process, whether you need help coming up with new ideas, product development research, customer needs assessments or post-launch notes to keep your audience in the loop. This software frees up hours of your team's time they can spend on product refinement instead of manual feedback collection and roadmap planning.

Sign up for a 15-day free trial of premium features and see if it's right for you.

FAQs

What are the 8 steps of a product lifecycle?

The eight stages of a product management lifecycle are product ideation, product validation, product planning, product development and design, testing and quality assurance, product launch and go-to-market, post-launch monitoring and updates and finally – product end-of-life.

What is the PLC product lifecycle?

PLC is short for product lifecycle – the stages a product goes through from the initial idea to withdrawal from the market.

How to determine product lifecycle?

If you're a product manager with a functioning product already on the market unsure of what stage it's currently at, you can consider a couple of things. First, analyze sales (a declining product has less of those) and market demand (high demand for your solution likely means a growth phase for your product). Look into customer feedback, competitors, advancements in technology and industry trends.

If your product lags behind, it may be high time to go back to the idea generation stage and think of ways to improve it and make it more relevant for your target market. Zeda.io is great for refining existing products!

What are KPIs in product lifecycle management?

Some key performance indicators and product management metrics include sales revenue, time to market, product adoption rate, customer satisfaction scores, return on investment (ROI) and defect rates.

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