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Building Products for the Enterprise by Blair Reeves, Benjamin Gaines

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Chapter 5. Product Knowledge

Product knowledge encompasses much more than simply knowing how your product works inside and out; it also enables you to build useful requirements for engineering, create a product roadmap, and understand when it is time to end-of-life a product or feature.

We expect that when many new product managers first begin exploring this book, they are going to flip to this chapter first. And we understand why. “Product managers” and “product knowledge” intuitively seem to go together. Indeed, they do, but this realm encompasses so much more than just knowing a lot about how to use the product one manages.

Product knowledge goes far beyond simply understanding what’s in the product. It also encompasses the processes that exist around the product, as well: the planning and development, the users and customers, the lifecycle and roadmap. In this chapter, we’re going to talk about all of these things. But the first thing we want to address is empathy. Cultivating empathy for the users and customers of your product is the paramount task for a good enterprise product manager newly on the job. And one of the best ways of doing that is by putting yourself in their shoes.

Learning Your Product

It’s pretty obvious that any product manager must know her product inside and out. That’s a tall order for almost anyone, especially if you’re stepping into a product manager role for an already mature, far-reaching product. After all, unless you worked at or were a customer ...

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