Hiring a product management consultant is one of the smartest decisions you can make for your business. A product management consultant can assist you in fast-tracking your progress towards building an exceptional product for your customers. However, finding a good consultant with proven experience and an impeccable reputation can indeed be difficult.
Working with a professional product consultant is more than having an outside expertise to tell you how to navigate your product through the new product development process. It’s also not about looking for advice or a suggestion on how to manage your product development cycle. It’s about having a knowledgeable figure who can anticipate and solve problems and who is willing to utilize the latest technological advancements in favor of your business venture. Of course, there’s more.
The following article will talk about the key things that must be considered when choosing a consultant or a consulting firm that will improve your success rate. We will also touch upon the main reasons why you should definitely consider hiring a top product management consultant. Let’s go!
Why Should You Hire a Product Management Consultant?
Let’s keep it simple. You hire a product management consultant so that you and your team have quick, on-demand access to someone with vast knowledge of product management and all the little details associated with developing and launching a product.
Whether it’s a full-time role or a part-time gig, a product management consultant is your secret weapon - you unleash it to the product and your team and immediately observe the significant impact. The marketing efforts are not working? You need help with developing a product roadmap? You’re about to ender in an industry you don’t fully understand? If you want answers to all these questions and more, it’s advisable to hire a product consultant.
What are the Responsibilities of a Product Management Consultant?
Here are four things product management consultants can help you with:
1. Building your Dream Team
A product consultant can assist you with building a high-performance team. After all, it all starts with great teamwork, coordinated actions and a common goal to achieve. A product management consultant can:
Interview product managers, designers, marketing specialists, etc.
Monitor, coach and teach product managers and team members.
Scale your team
Fill a temporary gap in your product management team.
2. Defining and Building the Right Product for the Right Customers
Great product management consultants offer a wide range of services, aimed at building a product customers will adore. They:
Conduct customer research.
Conduct competitor research
Conduct market analysis.
Carry out user surveys and interviews.
Run product brainstorming discussions
Create a user story map.
Create a product prototype.
Conduct user testing.
Plan and manage BETA programs.
Collaborate with engineers and designers to build a product.
Coordinate product launch or a new product feature launch.
Write product documentations.
3. Building the Right Product Planning Process
A good product management consultant can help your product and business succeed by putting into place a suitable product planning process. This means:
Defining goals and objectives.
Defining product vision.
Creating a product roadmap and establishing deliverables.
Creating and managing product backlogs.
Setting up best possible practices for communication.
Setting up monthly product showcases.
4. Measuring and Optimizing any Aspect of the Product Development Process
A product management consultant should be focused on optimizing any aspect of your product and product metrics. Optimizing every part of the product development process means ensuring that your product will be a long term success. Product management consultants can help you with:
Defining, measuring and improving key success factors.
Optimize the entire product planning process.
Creating and optimizing product onboarding to improve user experience and conversion rates.
Carrying out customer surveys.
Measuring product performance and making data-driven decisions.
What to Consider when Hiring a Product Management Consultant?
So, you’ve made the decision to hire a product management consultant for your new product idea. Now, you have to look for someone who will help you and your team build your dream product and conquer the market. What should you look for in a product management consultant? We’ve listed the five most important characteristics of a product consultant you should definitely look for when having an interview with a potential PMC.
1. Proven Track Record
When hiring a consultant, you should go for someone who has a proven track record of playing an important role in the development and launch of a successful product. Ideally, the consultant should have experience in the industry you’re trying to break into. There are several things you can do to ensure that your potential new consultant has solid consulting experience. First, during the interview, focus on how they managed to solve a problem for customers by helping a company build a much-needed product. Try to get a feel for how they consult, what’s their approach and whether you can really trust them with your baby (product).
Second, you can also verify their consulting experience through official certification or going through references or recommendations by their previous employers. It’s never a bad idea to double check and be sure you’re hiring the right consultant.
Product management consultants should have impeccable decision-making skills. Most importantly, they should be able to read and analyze data that will contribute to the final critical decision. Having an opinion on how to proceed is one thing. Validating that opinion with data and experiments is another. During the interview with your potential new product management consultant, ask the candidate to give you a concrete example of how they used data to make a critical decision.
3. Ability to Work in Cross-Functional Teams
To bring a product to life, you have to combine the efforts of various teams. Your vision and idea is bringing together engineering, QA, design, UX, marketing, manufacturing and many other people, working towards a common goal. A good product management consultant should have extensive experience working as an integral part of a cross-functional team.
To be able to provide excellent consulting services for a cross-functional team, a product consultant must be a master communicator and a superb team leader. Facilitating communication, managing team meetings, establishing strong online and offline communication channels and knowing how to deal with workplace conflict are just a few of the essential duties a consultant should know how to perform. During the interview, always ask for examples of how the consultant managed to achieve all that in the past.
4. Soft Skills
A product management consultant with a proven track record, strong decision-making skills and superb cross-functional teams management skills is exactly who you need for your new product. But what if that person lacks the ability to listen and is not client centered? What if your perfect consultant lacks honesty and is biased?
Look for a product consultant who will tell you things as they are, will be transparent and will give you an unbiased assessment of all issues surrounding your project. How well your consultant can use soft skills to focus on the needs of your team and organization can be game-changing for your product.
5. Passionate About Building Products
The best product management consultants are genuinely passionate about designing, building and being part of the process of releasing an innovative product. They care about their customers and want to make sure what they deliver is going to serve them well.
The best way to find out if your candidate for the position of a consultant at your company is passionate about their job is to ask them how they got into this line of work in the first place. Passion can be, of course, manifested in different ways. What you’re looking for, however, is someone who is truly driven by solving customers’ problems and knows how to do so. More importantly, for them product management consulting should not be about defining objectives and analyzing numbers but being empathetic towards customers and their needs.
Hiring the right product management consultant can turn out to be quite the challenge for you. There are plenty of companies out there that provide such services and can connect you with a professional consultant. Another way to get access to consultants is through freelancing platforms, such as UpWork. The downside is that in a pool full of consultants, it can be time consuming and overwhelming to look for a candidate who possesses all the above-mentioned skills.
If you’re stuck and are in serious need of a professional product consultant with a proven track record, get in touch with ProductNinja.