High-Performance Product Management: The Impact of Structure, Process, Competencies and Role Definition,
Journal of Product Innovation Management
Product management is one of the most important functions in marketing. Yet, the product management literature has focused largely on creating successful products, and has relatively little to say about creating effective product management organizations. In this article, we focus on the organizational determinants of high-performance product management. Specifically, we examine the impact of organization structure, product management processes, product manager competencies and the clarity of roles and responsibilities for product managers on product management performance. We present a summary of best practices in product management in each of these areas of product management, based on in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with product managers in a diverse set of industries. We use the insights and best practices from the qualitative interviews to construct a quantitative survey of 200 product managers using a comprehensive questionnaire. We identify several key factors that potentially impact product management performance, and we develop a causal model that relates these factors to product management outcomes. We test the causal model using structural equation modeling. The results of the causal model suggest that the performance of a product management organization is driven by structural barriers in the organization, the quality of marketing processes, role clarity, and knowledge and competencies. We find that structural barriers and silos are the biggest impediment to effective product management, followed by clarity of roles and responsibilities. Our findings suggest the importance of organization structure and effective human resource practices in improving product management performance.