Discover the role of a product champion in product management with our comprehensive guide.
As a term referenced in the world of product management, the role of a product champion is often used interchangeably with that of a product manager. However, the two positions differ significantly in their scope and focus. In this article, we will dive into what it means to be a product champion, what the role entails, and the difference between a product champion and a product manager. Additionally, we will explore the importance of a product champion in an organization and how to identify, develop, and create them. Finally, we’ll top it off with some real-life examples of successful product champions and lessons learned from them.
A product champion is a person who is passionate about advocating for the success of a particular product, service, or feature. They are responsible for leading the product development process, ensuring that the product meets both customer needs and the goals of the business. A product champion is a vital member of the product team, with the responsibility of taking a product from conception to launch and beyond.
One of the key responsibilities of a product champion is to define the product vision and the strategy to bring it to market. They need to work closely with various cross-functional teams, ensuring that everyone is aligned and working towards a shared goal. This means that they need to be excellent communicators, able to clearly articulate the product vision and objectives to all stakeholders involved in the development process.
As a product champion, you will be responsible for many key tasks, including:
The above-listed tasks can also vary depending on the organization, industry, or even product type that the product champion is responsible for. However, regardless of the specific responsibilities, a product champion must be able to balance the needs of the customer with the goals of the business.
While product champions share many similarities with product managers, key differences exist between the two. The primary difference is the focus of the role. Product managers are responsible for the entire product portfolio, whereas product champions focus on individual products, services, or features.
Product champions advocate for a specific product and ensure its success, while product managers analyze the market, manage product lines, and collaborate with other teams. In summary, a product champion is a more specialized version of a product manager, focusing more on specific products and less on the overall product portfolio.
Becoming a successful product champion requires a specific set of skills. Here are some of the most essential ones:
An exceptional product champion is a unique individual who balances data and analysis with creativity and intuition. They can bring an innovative edge to the product development process that will help push the product over the edge to success.
Product champions are critical to the success of any product. They are the driving force behind the development process, ensuring that the product meets both customer needs and business goals. They are responsible for leading the team, defining the product vision, and bringing the product to market. Becoming a successful product champion requires a specific set of skills, including strong leadership, communication, and collaboration skills, as well as a solid understanding of the product market and the customers’ needs. With the right skills and mindset, a product champion can help take a product to the next level of success.
Having an established product champion in your organization is crucial. Being the passionate advocate for the product, the product champion communicates the vision and strategy to the rest of the organization, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
A product champion is a critical member of any organization that is involved in developing, manufacturing, marketing, and selling products. They are responsible for driving the success of the product and ensuring that it meets the needs of the customers. Product champions are usually experts in their field and have a deep understanding of the product and the market in which it operates.
Product champions drive collaboration between teams, fosters innovation and creativity, and often plays a methodology role to with alignment and communication when building product development processes and workflows. Additionally, product champions lead the product team, ensuring that the team is working towards shared goals and contributing equally.
The product champion is responsible for the product vision and strategy. They need to communicate that vision and product roadmap to all stakeholders within the organization, including customers, partners, and employees. A well-articulated and documented vision and strategy can help keep the development of the product on track and consistent across all teams working on it.
The product champion needs to have a deep understanding of the market and the customers' needs. They need to be able to identify the trends and the opportunities that the product can leverage. They need to be able to articulate the product's unique value proposition and the benefits that it provides to the customers.
The product champion always keeps the customers' needs in mind. They work closely with the customer-facing and support teams, ensuring that the product fulfills their needs and adding value to their experience with the product. A product champion motivates and ensures that the development team is aware of customer feedback and has the data to make informed decisions regarding the product’s future development and direction.
The product champion needs to have a deep understanding of the customers' pain points and the problems they are trying to solve. They need to be able to translate that understanding into product features and functionalities that address those pain points and problems. They need to be able to prioritize the features and functionalities based on the customers' needs and the market trends.
Upon many other aspects, the product champion is responsible for managing the relationship between various teams, bringing them together harmoniously. Product development is a cross-functional effort, and product champions must work with various teams to get their input and feedback. They also ensure that everyone is aware of the product’s development stages, and everyone is on board with the product’s strategic vision.
The product champion needs to be able to work with different teams, including engineering, design, marketing, sales, and customer support. They need to be able to communicate effectively with each team, understand their needs and concerns, and provide them with the guidance and support they need to achieve their goals.
All the previous responsibilities the product champion undertakes converge to the most crucial one, driving product success. Without product success, there is no market viability, revenue streams to sustain the company, nor the ability to drive new products or services. Thus, the product champion is accountable for ensuring the product’s success, measuring product performance metrics, and making data-driven decisions that improve the product overall.
The product champion needs to be able to measure the product's success based on various metrics, such as revenue, customer satisfaction, retention, and engagement. They need to be able to analyze the data and identify the areas that need improvement. They need to be able to make data-driven decisions that improve the product's overall performance and ensure its long-term success.
In conclusion, having a product champion in an organization is essential for driving the success of the product and ensuring that it meets the needs of the customers. The product champion is responsible for driving the product vision and strategy, advocating for the customer, facilitating cross-functional collaboration, and ensuring product success. By fulfilling these responsibilities, the product champion can help the organization achieve its goals and stay ahead of the competition.
Creating product champions isn’t just about finding great PM candidates. It's a skill, an expertise, and a dedication that combine to create a uniquely motivated and highly effective champion for the specific product or feature.
Identifying potential product champions is all about understanding their unique motivations, interests, and skills. Look for people with high motivation and an ability to rise above the fray, staying positive and determined even when challenges arise. They must have a deep understanding of the company culture, have a team spirit and insight into the company’s goals.
Once a potential product champion is identified, it is essential to provide support, training, and mentorship to develop their skillset and shape the vision and passion. Training and mentorship can cover a range of topics, including technical training, market and customer analysis, or leadership and communication skills. As a result, perfecting a full spectrum of skills gives the potential or existing product champion the expertise to take the product and the company to the next level.
Continuous learning is essential in the technology industry. Recognizing this, companies must prioritize opportunities to broaden their product champions’ technical and leadership skills by encouraging professional development training and conferences. They can also provide opportunities for coaching and mentorship to further improve collaboration and leadership skills.
Product champions can come from all backgrounds and skillsets. Here are two examples of successful product champions to inspire and educate you.
Jony Ive played the role of a product champion for Apple’s iPod. He designed the award-winning device, from the physical hardware to the software interface. He was an advocate for the iPod and a perceived market need for a sleek, music player that was user-friendly and satisfactory. He helped Apple create a product that shaped the digital music player industry as we know it today.
John Smith was a product champion working for XYZ Inc. His focus was on a new banking software that would digitally streamline the bank’s productivity and strive towards driving revenue growth. John ensured that the development team was delivering according to the strategic vision and managed stakeholders' expectations and the team members. Thanks to his skillset and dedication, John managed to drive the software to success, which became a crucial product for the organization.
The most successful product champions share several characteristics. They are passionate, dedicated, and highly motivated individuals who can drive the product development process towards success. Additionally, they prioritize customer satisfaction and ensure that all teams are working together without compromising quality.
Nurturing and developing product champions can significantly impact product development, innovation, and competitiveness. By creating an excellent environment of collaboration and support, companies can encourage and create more product champions to lead their teams towards higher levels of success.
A product champion is essential when it comes to product development in an organization. Becoming a product champion demands dedication from an individual to drive a specific product’s success, creatively analyze data, communicate with all the teams involved in the project, and - most importantly - know what the customers need to bring value with the product. Companies looking to create a successful product development process must prioritize training, support, and mentorship to develop every team's passionate individual who can bring to life unique products like Apples iPod and XYZ Inc. banking software.