During the past 14 years of e-Zest, we have built hundreds of products. We have interacted and worked with many successful and not so successful Product Managers, and have learned a lot. Here are some of the things product managers do (at a very high level):
- Ideate: Ideas and features
- Explore: Market analysis and strategy
- Business Case: Investment justification
- Business requirements: User insights via personal development and customer stories
- Define: Product requirements and prototype development
- Build: Managing project and testing
- Prepare: Sales and marketing plan
- Launch: Product launch plan
Now, given that every product manager (or team) is grappling for resources, what is it that they can really leverage from existing vendors and/or partners? Typically, core activities are executed by the core product team. However, non-core needs such as market intelligence, prototype development, integration with partners, mobile app development, testing (compliance, regression, scalability, performance) etc. can be executed by external partners (e.g. niche engineering partners such as e-Zest).
Our experience extends in assisting companies which have been covered in Gartner Magic Quadrant, have been a part of Inc. 500, and have had successful exits.
We realize that product managers wear different hats and are always looking for resources which can validate ideas across the PDLC. Product managers should leverage niche engineering partner’s skills and know-how in order to achieve the following
- Build prototypes and run it by customers. If liked, may get added in subsequent releases / versions
- Gather Market Inputs: Understand the product eco-system as most vendors will be operating in similar businesses / domain / technology
- Product eco-system: Learn from what features / technology worked for a similar product
Needless to say, vendors / partners will be bound by non-disclosure. However, while they research to build features / products for their customers, they gather a lot of info which is not covered under NDA. Vendors / partners will be keen and open to talking about the roadmap and share their learning too. For a startup; one that is looking to scale quickly, leveraging a niche engineering partner will certainly add significant value.