TCGen’s Product Management Consulting helps you develop better products, faster
Why Work With A Product Management Consultant?
You’re probably facing one of these common problems:
“We’re making better decisions, faster”— Apple Executive
- Products don’t delight customers
- Products don’t meet financial objectives
- Product management and product marketing roles lack clarity
- Products are late due to changes in requirements
- Product managers and product teams are burned out
Product Management Consulting is a solution for this typical set of problems that plague product owners and product teams.
Metrics of Product Management Consulting Engagements
Our clients have reported measurable improvements in business performance following a Product Management Consulting engagement, including:
- Cutting Time to Market
- Exceeding sales forecasts
- Improving product profitability
- Improving product development predictability
- Increasing innovation in their product portfolios
- Fostering an agile environment
What Product Management Consultants Do
Product Management Consulting services help your company improve its product development performance in a variety of dimensions:
- Improve Product Strategy and Product Portfolio Management
- Implement Product Management and Product Development Processes
- Clarify Roles & Enhance Organizational Effectiveness
- Accelerate Innovation
If you want to improve product management in your organization, should you consider industry experts, an interim product consultant, or train your internal team members? In general, if you need to increase the level of the execution of the product management function, you should consider product consultants or product management experts.
On the other hand, if you are missing key customer insights or distribution knowledge, industry experts can be invaluable and can serve as an interim product manager. Finally, if your needs are less urgent, and apply to fewer people, we recommend training your team members. Consider each of these options before reaching a conclusion.
Product Consulting: Strategy, Product Portfolio Management, and Innovation
How to Engage with TCGen
- Schedule a no obligation call. Book some time with us. Find out more about how we can help you.
- We will write it up. We will send you what we learned from the call and suggest options for working together. If it meets your needs, we can send you a proposal.
- Kick off Project. We will work with you to design a tailored Kick Off to initiate the engagement.
Typically, a Product Management Consulting service will help a company ensure that its strategy leverages its brand position and that is reflected all the way to margins and pricing. It will help you tune up your strategy so that it is clearly stated, and ties to the vision, the product roadmaps and the budget. A clear tie between each of these facets of product development ensures that the resulting product portfolio mirrors corporate strategy and you maximize growth and profits. A good Product Management Consultant will work with your product managers as a team member, to deliver the best and lasting results.
Implement Product Management and Product Development Processes
Product Management Consultants also help your company have a product development process that is aligned with strategy and includes key stakeholder involvement to enable you to build products that lead the market. For example, if your strategy calls for an intense concentration on a technical product, then your product development process must include a crucible for R&D innovation. This extends to product design and user experience functions where minimum process is not zero, but puts in guardrails to ensure progress without risking creativity.
It must include a mechanism for capturing the best ideas, for vetting and prioritizing them, and for nurturing them on the long journey from raw technology to marketable products. There is no substitute for direct user research with the design team visiting users in the environment of use. We have also helped sales and marketing teams leverage Design Thinking to improve innovation; and a technology firm to implement a Discovery process and organization. We believe a product leader is the best description of the expansive roles that product managers play in today’s technology world.
Helping with hearing the voice of the customer is another service that Product Management Consultants provide. Nothing is as essential to effective inbound marketing than the voice of the customer. Superior Product Management Consultants may help your company establish innovation programs such as Design Thinking or Market-Driven Product Definition, methodologies for capturing and leveraging the customer’s voice – note that often this come from a technical background. When building products, especially ambitious new to the world products, getting the voice of the customer is challenging but a requirement.
Digital Products and Data Science (AI) Products
Clearly the emphasis on Digital Transformations and leveraging Data Science to produce new breakthrough products must be evaluated in every situation. it is now the new normal. However, this is often a challenge because Data Science projects often involve unpredictable schedules because it is inherently probabilistic. The ideal product management organization will have SMEs in digital products. But this is not urging you to focus exclusively on data analysis – the best product managers integrate all inputs (qualitative and quantitative). As a consultant, we are on the lookout for ways our clients can leverage Machine Learning to produce game changing new to the world products. These skill sets are frequently used by consumer and SAAS product alike.
Enhance Organizational Effectiveness (Beyond the Product Manager)
Initiatives to clarifying roles and responsibilities is another area where Product Management Consultants can help. In too many companies, Product Management and Product Marketing are not distinct functions. Product Marketing Managers are responding to customer needs while they’re also managing the longer lifecycle of products (often called outbound marketing, too). At the same time, Product Management is not always differentiated from User Experience design. Similarly, product management is distinct from project management, but often roles are not clear. Product Management is very rarely a part-time role.
Consultants can help companies define these roles more carefully, smoothing out misunderstandings, speeding decision making, and helping to power products to market. This is more true where there are multiple product management teams as different teams can diverge from others, creating multiple ways of doing exactly the same things. Let’s get a good process, optimize it, and then use it.
Exceed Business Plan Goals.
Improve Product Marketing Leadership.
Ramp your revenue.
TCGen’s Approach to Product Management Consulting
Although each engagement is unique, most of them are variations of these types:
Regardless of the specific consulting area, TCGen’s approach typically begins with a thorough assessment of your organization’s needs and follows it with focused training for team members and their managers:
- We first highlight the pain points (usually product definition and delays).
- Then we agree on goals and KPIs to improve in product management.
- We then identify a small number of the most effective levers of improvement.
- We associate each of these product management levers with a metric.
Because we want to leave you with a new capability, that employees will now have, we typically pair up with a senior level individual contributor (note this is not a full-time assignment, just high priority).
TCGen’s Product Management Case History
TCGen Founder John Carter, former Chief Engineer at BOSE, has led Product Management initiatives across industries (from Fortune 500 companies to startups) and includes many tech companies, including software products and software development. Here are a few examples. Contact us if you would like to discuss work we have done in your industry.:
- Apple: TCGen founder John Carter designed and implemented the Apple New Product Process (ANPP), a process used throughout Apple’s product divisions.
- Bio-Rad: TCGen worked with a team to design the next generation platform of diagnostic testing systems for this healthcare company. We implemented a unique customer visitation plan to develop our user stories. We implemented a unique customer visitation plan. The results: a platform launch that was the most successful ever for Bio-Rad and has been an enduring winner for them over many years.
- BOSE: John managed the development of products such as the BOSE® Wave® Music System and Noise-Cancelling Headphones, enjoyed by millions of customers world-wide.
- HP: We worked with general management marketing and engineering to understand gaps in product management and how to fill them. We helped management to better fund the product marketing team and increase the number of dedicated resources to each of these teams. The result was a positive impact in customer satisfaction and increased predictability.
The TCGen Difference Yields Successful Products
TCGen’s approach to Product Management Consulting differs from the others because we listen. We drive deeply into the culture and challenges of the organization including in management and the development teams, as well as product management.
Unlike a consulting firm that is hyper focused on training, we take an approach that there can be a range of deliverables you would like to see. Some are best served by training, others by consulting, and a few are best served by research or benchmarking. Although recruiters would differ, using a product consulting firm as opposed to hiring one can make a bigger impact, faster because they have change management experience.
Our Project History approach captures the voices within your organization and enables you to learn from the past, as you imagine your future.
In a dialog with senior leadership, we then define the key results you would like to achieve. We craft a customized approach to your Product Management Consulting engagement.
“John has that rare combination of brilliance and pragmatism that truly sets him apart. John is world class.”— Dan Keller, HP Executive
We do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach and we are data-driven to work on the most important problem first (e.g. those that have the highest impact). Our Product Management Consulting engagements enable you to select only the approaches that work for you. Too many consultants complicate processes to no end, or turn all engagements into a big Digital Transformation. We’ll help you implement only the approaches that make a difference.
TCGen is also different in that you will work directly with someone with deep, first-hand knowledge of Product Management. We won’t hand you off to a recent MBA recipient. You will get the benefit of working with someone who has developed products enjoyed by millions of people.
About John Carter
John Carter has been a widely respected adviser to technology firms over his career. He is the author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development. As Founder and Principal of TCGen Inc., he has advised some of the most revered technology firms in the world:
- Abbott, Amazon, Apple
- BOSE, Cisco, Fitbit
- HP, IBM, Roche
John specializes in the value creating aspects of product development – from the strategy and innovation processes, through product definition, execution and launch. He has helped companies cut time to market, rapidly scale their product program, and improve innovation with customer led insights, leading to greater profitability, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Cirrus Logic (CRUS) a leading supplier of mixed signal semiconductors where he is involved with company strategy and sits on the Compensation and Audit Committees.
John was the founder of Cambridge-based Product Development Consulting, Inc. (PDC), a consultancy advising Fortune 500 companies in the areas of research, development, and marketing. During his time there, he worked with Apple to create the Apple New Product Process (ANPP) which is used in all product divisions. He has been an invited speaker at MIT and Stanford University, and a member of the faculty at Case Western’s Executive program.
Before starting PDC, John was Chief Engineer of BOSE Corporation. John is the inventor of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones and shares the original patent with Dr. Amar Bose. He was one of the initial contributors in BOSE’s entry into the automobile OEM business and led the product and business development of BOSE’s patented noise reduction technology for the military market.
He earned his MS in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in engineering from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA. You can see more of John’s background on Linkedin.
Product Development Expert
John Carter is a widely respected expert on product development. He is an inventor of Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones and designer of Apple’s New Product Process. As Founder of TCGen Inc., he has consulted for Abbott, Amazon, Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Mozilla, Roche, and 3M.