Product Management Process: The 8-Stage Guide to Smash Your Goals in 2024

Building a powerful SaaS product takes way more than just an idea. Without a systematic approach to your product management process and a clear roadmap, you’ll likely face several hurdles, such as lack of direction, unclear priorities, wasted resources, missed deadlines, difficulty in scaling, and more.

Just think about it – how will you know what initiatives or requests to prioritize? Or how will you be able to build a product roadmap that gets you executive buy-in? 

Having an impactful process in place is a must.

To help you out, I’ve put together this extensive guide on the product management process. Throughout this post, we’ll discuss:

  1. What a product management process is.
  2. The 8 stages of a product management process to smash your goals in 2024 and further.

Without further ado, let’s dive straight into it.

What is a product management process?

A product management process is a strategic framework that guides product managers and their teams through the product lifecycle – from ideation to launch and beyond. Having a well-thought-out product management process can help you build a high-impact product roadmap, smartly collect customer feedback, know which initiatives or requests to prioritize, get executive buy-ins, etc.

Rather than focusing on just a single stage of the lifecycle, product managers take a holistic approach, considering the entire journey.

The roles and responsibilities of product managers vary depending on the type of company they’re working with and the size. 

For instance, in large companies like Google and Facebook, product managers collaborate with dedicated researchers, analysts, and marketers who assist them in different stages of the product development lifecycle.

Process for using customer feedback in agile environments

Whereas in smaller teams, product managers don’t have much help. They’re in charge of driving the entire product management process themselves. 

Nevertheless, some core roles and responsibilities of a product manager are:

  • Develop product strategy and vision.
  • Conduct market and competitive research.
  • Gather and prioritize product requests.
  • Collaborate with design and engineering teams.
  • Conduct user testing and gather feedback.
  • Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Work with marketing and sales.
  • Monitor market trends and feedback.
  • Stay informed about industry trends.

That being said, let’s dive into the eight stages of a product management process.

The 8 stages of a product management process to accomplish your goals in 2024

Building a winning product is challenging. To smash your goals in 2024, you must have a well-defined product management process. 

Here are the eight stages:

  1. Identifying users’ needs, wants, and challenges. 
  2. Questioning them.
  3. Translating the shortlisted ideas and customer feedback into product specifications. 
  4. Building or updating your product roadmap. 
  5. Establishing priorities for product features. 
  6. Building and shipping.
  7. Hitting the launch button.
  8. Gathering customer feedback. 

Let’s touch down on each of these stages one by one.

Also Read: What is SaaS customer lifecycle?

1. Identifying users’ needs, wants, and problems

In today’s world, there’s no such thing as a perfect digital product, all thanks to evolving customer expectations and the emergence of new technologies. 

For example, the release of ChatGPT (OpenAI’s artificial intelligence chatbot) caused quite a stir across different industries.

Product teams faced increased pressure from upper management to incorporate artificial intelligence solutions into their product to meet rising customer demands and maintain a competitive edge. ChatGPT’s widespread adoption made Google issue a ‘Code Red,’ which later resulted in the release of Bard, Google’s very own AI chatbot. 

The moral of the story is – in order to stay ahead of your competitors; you must improve your product continuously. 

But how? How can you identify areas for improvement?

Sure, you may have new features in mind or areas where you think improvements can be made, but to build a powerful SaaS product, you must identify your users’ needs and problems. After all, it’s your customers that are going to use your product. Identifying and implementing customer needs and problems will help you:

You can identify the challenges they’re facing the most or what they want by: 

  1. Interviewing your already-existing customers. 
  2. Implementing a user-feedback platform like Usersnap that’ll allow your customers to report any bugs or issues and submit feature requests in a few clicks. You can also launch NPS, CSAT, polls, and thumbs up/down surveys by user events to collect specific insights.
  3. Talking with your customer service representatives or listen to customer calls to identify the challenges your existing customers face.
  4. Listening to sales calls or recordings of potential customer interactions to gain firsthand knowledge of customer requirements, objections, and areas where your product can be enhanced.
  5. Analyzing user behavior on your platform using platforms like Google Analytics, Whatfix, Mixpanel, etc.
  6. Going through reviews dropped by your potential customers on competitors’ products across different review sites to discover areas you can capitalize on.

Also it’s equally important to collect feedback from internal stakeholders – whether it’s your product, sales, or marketing teams. The collection of feedback can vary across teams, especially in large enterprises. So, I’d advise you to 

With Usersnap, you can smartly manage feedback from both internal and external stakeholders in one place.

2. Questioning them

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they’d have said faster horses.”

Henry Ford

Imagine what the world would look like today if Henry had begun training horses to run faster rather than innovating the automobile industry. 

My point is – don’t jump on customer feedback immediately. First, it’s important to understand whether the customer feedback represents a true need and aligns with the product vision

Imagine you have a fitness-tracking SaaS platform that lets people set their fitness goals, track their exercise routines, and monitor their progress. Let’s say one of your customers (or many) requested a feature to incorporate meal tracking and nutrition information within your platform. 

Sure, this feature is related to health and fitness, and implementing it makes sense. But the question is – does this feature request align with your product and company vision as well as business goals? Do you want to turn your product into a full-fledged nutrition and meal-planning platform? 

prioritize bugs and features

As a product manager, you must be highly selective and focus only on what drives your product toward your vision. In case you haven’t built a product vision yet, I highly recommend creating one. Here are a few interesting guides you can take into consideration to build your product vision:

  1. How to Create a Meaningful Product Vision by Mural 
  2. How to Define a Product Vision by Christian Strunk
  3. How to Create a Strong Product Vision by Eleken

On the other hand, if you have already established a product vision, run every idea or request against it. 

Ask questions like (but not limited to):

  1. Will addressing this problem or incorporating this feature request contribute to our product’s core value proposition? Will it align with our product vision?
  2. What percentage of our customers face the same problem or have requested this specific feature? 
  3. Is there a market demand? 
  4. Do we have the budget and time to address this problem or implement this request? 
  5. What impact will it have on our product roadmap and resource allocation?

Rather than addressing users’ needs, wants, and problems immediately, it’s better to take a step back and evaluate your long-term strategy.

Tip: If you’re receiving hundreds of integration or feature requests every single week or month, and even if 70-80% of these requests align with your product vision and make sense to implement, you can’t possibly ask your development team to work on them all at once. That’s where prioritization comes in. You can prioritize initiatives (along with different stakeholders) based on different factors like: 

  1. The complexity of implementation.
  2. How many customers would like to see a specific feature implemented in our product?
  3. Account Value – it makes sense to prioritize feedback and requests from high-value accounts.
  4. Whether you have the resources and budget available to implement a specific request.
  5. Revenue potential.

After you’ve shortlisted the ideas and requests you need to focus on, it’s time to convert them into product specifications. 

3. Translating ideas and customer feedback into product specifications

The next step is translating the ideas and customer feedback you collected and prioritized into product specifications. 

What are product specifications?

Product specifications, also called product specs, is a crucial product document that outlines key requirements for building new functionality, product, or feature. This document acts as a guide to building a successful product, feature, or functionality. 

Whether you’re looking to implement a new feature/functionality or build a new product from scratch, the product specifications document needs to comprise answers to these three essential questions:

  • What are we building? Why?
  • What should this new product/feature/functionality achieve?
  • How do we measure success?

At this stage, product managers collaborate with different stakeholders (program managers, scrum masters, product owners, and end-users, if possible) to answer these questions to make sure everyone is aligned on the direction of a specific idea before it’s chased. 

This step will also help you test potential solutions for value and feasibility. Lastly, it’ll also help you determine the viability of potential solutions from a technological standpoint.

If a specific idea or request in consideration has many red flags, then you can just put it on hold or dismiss it entirely.

Different companies create their product specs document differently.

Some keep it on point, whereas some prefer a more detailed approach. At the end of the day, it depends on your organization’s product management and development approach. 

That being said, the next step is to build or update your product roadmap.

4. Building or updating your product roadmap

A product roadmap is a high-level visual summary that outlines the vision, priorities, direction, and progress of your product over time. Without a product roadmap, you risk falling into a state of confusion as well as uncertainty regarding your product’s future.

Also, it’ll be extremely difficult to get executive buy-ins – as they’ll not be able to get a grasp of the strategic direction and progress of the product.

Building a product roadmap is very important. If your company already has one, product managers should update it at least once a month. 

Also, it’s a good practice to implement a theme or output-based product roadmap instead of randomly adding features to it with no crystal-clear goal in sight. This will help avoid any confusion among you and other stakeholders. 

For instance, if you randomly add features to your product roadmap and if a C-level asks you why a specific feature was implemented first, then you may struggle to provide a clear explanation. 

However, with a theme or output-based roadmap, you can easily demonstrate how each feature or initiative aligns with specific strategic goals or customer needs.

Implementing a theme-based roadmap helps product managers think in terms of outcome – rather than the number of features they implemented. 

Note – every single theme should reflect some value provided to customers.

Pro tip – You can enhance the effectiveness of your theme-based roadmap by pairing it with the North Star Framework, as it will allow you to set your business up as a product-led business. 

Once ready, communicate their strategy with stakeholders. 

5. Establishing priorities for product features

I’ll be honest – prioritizing your product roadmap is one of the most challenging parts of product management. 

You need to prioritize ideas that’ll heavily contribute to your overall product strategy and help you achieve specific goals. But at the same time, you need to implement features requested by your customers that may not have a huge impact on your overall product vision. And if some features have been requested by a high-value account, it adds an additional layer of complexity to the prioritization process. After all, you don’t want to run at the risk of churning them.

You may even have to say no to some customers in case your team doesn’t have the available bandwidth and allocated budget or if you don’t get executive buy-in.

It’s a balancing act. 

To smartly prioritize your product roadmap, you can use a prioritization framework like RICE, Value vs Effort, MoSCoW, Kano, Story mapping, or Cost of Delay Analysis.  

Whatever approach you take, make sure you’re taking into consideration inputs from all stakeholders and listening to everyone.

Prioritization frameworks work like a charm, but you will also need soft skills like effective communication and stakeholder management to navigate the complexities of prioritization. 

If you have to say no to a customer or are unable to prioritize a specific feature requested by them, make sure you’re able to clearly communicate it with the customer(s) that requested it and explain to them why.

embed a feature request option for customers

6. Building and shipping

The next step is to start building and shipping. Different companies have different approaches to product development. Some prefer the SAFE or traditional waterfall model, whereas some (especially startups) take the scrum approach. 

I highly recommend adopting or switching to the agile model if you’re looking to build and ship quickly, as this approach lets you build and ship iteratively in short cycles called sprints.

But you probably already know this. You’ll see so many people talking about agile development. What you don’t see often is people sharing the benefits of agile testing. So many teams, while testing, switch to the traditional approach instead of following the agile path.

What’s agile testing?

It refers to using agile methodology throughout your testing and bug-tracking workflows. To learn more, read this extensive guide on agile testing methodology here

Also, note – product managers are not super-involved in the development process. However, they continuously collaborate with relevant people in the development team (mostly product owners or scrum masters) to ensure everything is heading in the right direction. They can act as consultants or advisors to help project managers or engineers hit their KPIs. 

Once the development team finishes new products or features, product managers must review them for beta or public launch. 

7. Hitting the launch button is part of your product management process

While launching your product, you have two options:

  1. Either you can roll it out to a segment of customers and collect their feedback before launching it for all your users. For this, you can run an early access program or go with an invitation-only launch.
  2. Or you can launch it to all your users simultaneously. 

Whether you should beta-test a feature or not depends on different factors, including the potential impact on users, the feature’s complexity, and your product’s overall goals. If you’ve launched a feature requested by one or more of your customers, it’s a good practice to let them know that their inputs have been implemented.

Liam Smith, the founder of MealPro App, loves doing this:

8. Collecting customer feedback

After launching a new feature/functionality/product, the next step is to start gathering customer feedback – both qualitative and quantitative. This will help you:

  • Understand whether the newly launched features are meeting user needs and expectations.
  • Identify bugs and technical issues.
  • Assess how users are responding to it.
  • Gather insights for improvement. 

But while doing so, make sure you’re not overwhelming your customers with feedback requests. Also, you need to make it easy for your customers to submit feedback.

NPS pop-up example for user feedback

Usersnap allows you to do just that. With Usersnap, you can make the customer feedback gathering and management process feel like a breeze for you and your customers.

Your customers can report bugs and technical issues via in-app screenshots or recordings. You can also launch NPS, CSAT, polls, and thumbs up/down surveys by user events to collect specific insights.

You can also interview customers or use behavior tools to monitor user behavior on your platform. 

You can then communicate this feedback with your development and design teams to drive improvements and enhancements to your product. It’s important to listen to your customers and use their feedback to iterate and enhance your product’s user experience, usability, and value.

This step takes you right back to the first stage of the product management process, i.e., identifying users’ needs, wants, and problems. 


This guide provides you with a basic framework that you can build your product management process upon. Depending on different factors, you may likely wander off this path. 

But that’s fine. 

Building a product management process is not a linear path. And there’s no universal right or wrong way to do it. Therefore, it’s crucial to adapt and iterate depending on your product’s and company’s unique needs and processes.

Capture user feedback easily. Get more insights and make confident product decisions.

Microsurveys by Usersnap

Getting feedback has never been easier and we hope you’ve realized that after reading this article. Let us know what you think, your feedback is important.

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