Friday, June 12, 2009

SaaS Companies do need PM's

Reading: SaaS Companies do need PM'sTweet this Post

One of the PM's forwarded this article "SaaS Company? Thinking of Sending Your Product Managers for Formal Product Management Training and Certification? Don't Waste Your Money." posted by someone at SaaS University.

It was brought up as a sidebar conversation one our weekly PM meeting and led to some animated conversations about how everyone's gonna be fired now ;-)

The post starts by taking some digs at PM training organizations like Pragmatic, Zigzag and AIPMM.

"If you're a SaaS company with product managers and are considering sending your PMs to one of these courses, I wouldn't bother. Save your money and spend it on some things I'll list out later in this piece."
Then it refers to some 2008 Atlanta SaaS Conference comments about a very successful SaaS ERP firm running with no PM's.

So its not v
ery clear from the title of the post or its initial content whether this is about PM Training firms and SaaS companies spending $$'s with them or about PM's not required at SaaS companies.

It characterizes PM's as Keepers of the Tick List, Scribes of the MRD, Voices of the Customer etc.

To make a long story short its all over the place and the message is not very clear and its just yet another article trying to gather some traffic by making outrageous product management related statements. Product Managers are very much needed for SaaS products just like many other products and there's tons of info out there on why, so I wont get into that.

However the one valuable nugget that's embedded in that post which is worth mentioning is the fact that SaaS PM's often do not even scratch the surface when it comes to analyzing all of the data that's available to them on usage, user experience, adoption and enhancements.

Coming from the on-premise world I know that PM's would've killed to get the kind of insights that SaaS products offer in terms of how customers are using/not-using and experiencing the products.

SaaS offers more accurate realtime data for these areas that can be analyzed across customers (where legal or privacy issues are not impacted). The golden rule for anything SaaS should be build a scalable framework that allows you to monitor and measure anything you put out there. This coupled with some newer web2.0 and social tools like rating and instant feedback available now (compared to 10 yrs ago) are invaluable and as a SaaS PM when it comes to decision time my favorite evaluation phrase is "can we query this data and run some analysis on it ..."

Now its easier said than done cause once you've crossed that bridge you're in the territory of what's the right metric and how do we measure it etc. But that's another conversation for a later date.

Update: There is a great post today by Tom Grant from Forrester and its a great article on why SaaS Companies need PM's

No comments:

Post a Comment