Question Mark1. Why do we need someone to help with product planning and strategy? We’re smart and we can do it all ourselves.

Many times a company will start with a dynamic duo – two great techies where one serves as CEO and the other as CTO. You hire a number of developers and you’re ready to go. But at a certain point, you realize you can’t do it all. And the skills that you have to build the product or to see the big picture as CEO may not be the same as those you need to conceptualize, plan, spec and manage your product.

Here’s an analogy: most things in life aren’t self-organizing — they need some entity to take the lead and pull all of the disparate pieces together. Sports teams have coaches. Ships have captains. Products have planners and managers. Product management teams manage the “business” of products.

A product manager is your complete product expert. From the starting point of providing business intelligence and competitive positioning to determining functionality and mapping a full feature roadmap, a product manager is your go-to guy or gal about all things product. When your marketing team needs to know which are the most important features to push, the product manager knows better than anyone.

2. How can outsourcing product management save me money?

When you look to hire a product manager, you could hire your own internal staff. But that can get expensive, especially in a startup phase. Count on spending at least $7,000/month for someone great plus benefits, health insurance, disability and more. Plus your new hire may demand equity in your company.

Blum Interactive Media can provide you the same function for much less, with no benefits (we take care of those ourselves) and we’ll never ask for a piece of your company (even if you offer!)

3. How do you work?

We have three ways to work together – see our services page for more details. Bottom line: we want you to succeed, so we work exclusively on a long term retainer basis. Working on piece meal components is fine if you want to plug in certain deliverables, but if you’re looking to do product planning and strategy, right or add an entire product management function to your team, bringing on a consulting firm that gets to know your product inside and out is critical.

When the time comes and you have the resources to hire a full time product manager, we’ll step away and professionally handle the transition.

4. We’re not located in the same geographic location. Can we still work together?

Absolutely. We have worked with many clients remotely. We increasingly live on a flat planet and work can be done via VoIP (Skype and others), email, chat, and real time collaborative tools with video conferencing while sharing documents and screens.

5. I’m on Facebook and Twitter and I have a blog. Why do I still need you?

Social media is very important but it’s more part of the promotion of your product than the management itself. We start at the beginning, when you’re trying to figure out who you’re competing with and what your product should do. When it comes time to begin promoting, we’ll manage that too if you wish (and we can do the writing and media production ourselves if you want).

6. What’s the difference between a product manager and a project manager?

Project managers are technical staff who are responsible for the successful delivery of a project — a one-time endeavor with a goal, scope, deadline, budget, and other constraints. Projects can be undertaken to build a product, to add new features to a product, or create new versions or extensions of a product. When the project is complete, the project manager will usually move move to a new project.

Product managers on the other hand, are more “big picture,” responsible for the overall and ongoing success of a product. Once the project to build the product is complete and the project manager has moved on, the product manager remains to manage the product through the entire lifecycle, defining  goals and guiding the team to accomplish the product’s business objectives. Product managers interface with all aspects of your business – marketing and sales, business development, advertising, digital media management – as well as technical development.

7. You mention digital media management. What’s that?

Digital media management covers all of your digital assets – your website, blog, any video or audio, and your social media presence. We are experts in this area and we’d be glad to add digital media management to your overall outsourcing package. Click here to learn more.

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