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Beyond the buzzwords

Demystifying product management

Imagine an orchestra – each musician playing in harmony, each note resonating with purpose. In the world of product management, a symphony of similar complexity and beauty unfolds. To listen to an orchestral performance is to  admire the dedication, focus and practice it takes each musician to hone their skills and contribute to the shared performance.

So, what is product management? At its core, product management orchestrates the lifecycle of a product, from its first note of inception to its release, and the encore performances that follow. It harmonises market needs, strategic vision, team collaboration, and the ultimate delivery of value to the audience—our customers. Just as an orchestra weaves together diverse instruments into a melodious narrative, product management crafts a cohesive 'product symphony'. As we embark on this exploration, we'll use the orchestra analogy to shed light on the nuances of product and product management. Let the overture begin.

Product vs. product: variations on a theme

The term 'product' resonates differently across sectors. Just as a flute and a cello interpret the same note distinctively, 'product' too varies in meaning. In a digital governmental sphere, a 'product' might denote a streamlined API, software application or service. Yet, in other businesses, it embodies tangible goods, software applications or bundled services (eg grouped services that add value for customers, such as combining internet, telephone and streaming services together). Consider the innovative cadences of many industries, adapting and echoing global rhythms. As we move forward, we'll delve deeper into how organisations can finely tune their approach to products.

Product thinking: the soloist's perspective

Picture a soloist's emotive performance, captivating listeners with every note. In the realm of products, this soloist who has crafted a fantastic experience for the audience is 'product thinking', emphasising the unique experience they are delivering to the customer. Product thinking, whether rejuvenating tourism or enhancing e-commerce, focuses on this solo – the delivery to the end-user. It's not just about playing the notes; it's about making them resonate, evolve, and leave a lasting impact, like the best songs you have ever heard. Curiosity runs deep in a product thinking mindset and will often seek answers to as-yet unsolved questions or to meet unmet needs of a consumer.

The marathon symphony, not the sprint

A symphony isn't a brief tune but an expansive musical journey. Likewise, product management isn't about fleeting applause but lasting impact. It's an intricate composition of strategy, endurance, and vision. Consider sustainability-focused initiatives, which, like timeless music are crafted for the ages. Projects may be brief periods of focus within an organisation, but the intent of a product is that it endures beyond the business case, and continues to deliver value, adapting to customer needs as they evolve over time.


To truly see success in product management, one must listen intently to every note, every pause, and every crescendo – seeking out the metrics and feedback about where a product is thriving and where there are indications that improvement is needed. Amidst the vast orchestral world of industries, the most poignant 'product melodies' are those that resonate deeply with the user. Crafting such melodies, with insight and empathy, is the essence of product management excellence. How is ‘product’ operating in your organisation? Is it under consideration, or are you looking to explore how it might work to support teams to better deliver to your customers?

Looking for a place to start? Get in touch, it would be great to have a chat. 

Stay tuned for our next article, where we explore the diverse 'product instruments' around which organisations often orchestrate their melodies.