Product Management Glossary
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Product Management Glossary
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Term Definition
A term used to define a customer or organization who obtains and uses technologies developed by others. An adopter is sometimes a "user" of a technology or technologies.
Advertisement (or Ad)
A formal, paid for marketing message delivered in writing, verbally, or graphically through a variety of media, including periodicals (print), television, radio, the internet, etc.
Advertising Agency
A business whose purpose is to create, place, and monitor the performance of advertisements.
When used in a Business Case, forecast, or other planning document, an assumption is a statement that relates to a potential future state or future situation.
Acharacteristic of a product that can include a color, design, style, form, shape, or feature.
An inspection of the plans, procedures, or records of a part of a business to determine whether or not a plan was followed and if a desired outcome was achieved. In "The Product Manager's Desk Reference,", an audit looks into various aspects of a product launch or a bidding situation (win/loss).
Average Cost
Average cost of a unit of product is made up of its fixed cost divided by the number of units produced, plus the variable cost per unit.
B2B (Business to Business)
Refers to trade between businesses or between businesses and distributors.
B2C (Business to Consumer)
Refers to trade or commerce between businesses and consumers, often at the retail level.
A set of data or information about an aspect of a business (or product) that provides a point of perspective from which future options can be evaluated. A baseline analysis during the product strategy formulation process allows a product manager to assess the past and current business and market environment for a product, so that future strategic options can be considered.
A study that compares the actual or observed performance of a business activity, process, method, or function to a standard of competence.
Something of value as perceived by a customer.
Beta Test (or Beta Trial)
Testing of a product by a friendly customer or customers who are willing to use the product as intended
Bottom-Up Forecast
This type of forecast method begins with the determination of the demand for a product by a single customer and builds the forecast upward based on multiple customers, and so on.
Acreative technique used to come up with ideas or concepts. In Product Management, brainstorming can be used for product ideation or general problem solving.
That which is created by a business to convey a desired image by a business. It is often the sum total of intellectual property, trademarks, copyrights, packaging, slogans, logo’s, or other unique identifiers that creates an impression on the marketplace.
Brand Manager
In many companies, a brand manager’s role is equivalent to that of a product manager. Found more often in consumer goods companies, the brand manager influences the marketing mix for a product, a group of products, a category of products, or even for a market segment or segments.
Break-Even Point
A calculation to determine how much product a company must sell in order to make back its original investment. As a tool, it measures the impact on various new product or product extension possibilities. It is also a good tool to rank product or marketing investment options.
A market communication tool which is usually written and may contain graphics, whose goal is to communicate specific messages to a target customer. It may contain information about the business, its mission, vision, or charter. It may contain information that communicates value, benefits, or other unique information. Brochures can take many forms, including ‘product’ brochures or ‘company’ brochures. They are sometimes called ‘bi-folds,’ ‘trifolds,’ or ‘slim-jim’s.’ Brochures done on a single sheet of paper are often called ‘flyers.’ Flyers that include detailed product specifications and descriptions are sometimes called ‘spec sheets.’
An estimate of product sales, prices, costs, and expenses over a specified time period, which is typically a year. Another way to think of a budget is to refer to it as a spending road map.
A grouping of products sold to a customer that, together, seek to solve a customer’s problem or fulfill a specific need. Customers who are offered bundles may have an opportunity to shop the different parts to get the best deal. However, many businesses use bundling as a way to sell a solution.
Business Case
A Business Case is a formal document used to justify investments in new products, product enhancements, and marketing expenditures.
Business Intelligence
A method used to analyze and interpret business performance data so that fact-based business decisions can be made. The business data referred to in BI is usually extracted from a variety of domains and databases, and presented in a way to bring about more efficient analysis.
Business/Portfolio Plans
Explicit directions for creating or evolving business units or product lines. Although these plans are ongoing, they are usually developed for and measured against specific time periods.
The actual purchaser of a product. A buyer may or may not be the ultimate consumer or user. Typically charged with negotiating the best price and placing the order.
Call to Action
An action requested or required in response to a marketers promotion or message.
An outbound marketing activity orchestrated to bring about an explicit business result. For example, an advertising campaign may be created to generate sales leads.
When products from a product portfolio are sold in the market at the same time, and one product draws sales away from the other. In this case, one product is said to cannibalize the potential sales of the other product. Overall, this may have a negative impact on the combined portfolio.
Can be used to describe an aspect of a product or a skill set of a product team member.
Cash Flow
The movement of funds into and out of a company.
An informal role fulfilled by an individual who takes a powerful, passionate interest in a project, product, or program, with the conviction to see the project to a successful conclusion.
A list of work items or tasks that usually serves as a reference to determine whether or not the tasks were completed at a specific milestone. Checklists are used for reviews during the phases of product planning, development, and the launch.
A specific customer with a specific need, often in a relationship involving the delivery of professional services.
A process of converting a technology into a product
Commoditize (Commodify)
The transformation of the market for a unique, branded product into a market based on undifferentiated products through increased competition, resulting in price pressures (downward).
To strive to outperform others. Often in relation to quality, product performance, time, benefits, price, financial performance, etc.
Competitive Factor
A basis on which to choose between different ways of meeting specific needs. For example, attributes represent competitive factors on which choices are made between competing products.
Competitive Strategy
A broad approach used by corporations or organizations to gain an advantage over competitors.
A company meeting similar needs by serving the same market segments or targets with similar products.
An idea for a product or service. As concepts evolve, they are progressively assessed for technical and economic feasibility, and may lead to development and ultimate commercialization.
Core Competency
Specialized skills or experiences of members of a cross-functional team. Core competencies are those that the company believes are critical for its success.
Costs represent funds expended for materials, labor, or overheads or are incurred in the direct production of sales (revenue). In the profit and loss statement, revenue minus costs equals gross margin.
Critical Path
Represents a series of tasks that are dependent upon one another. A critical path network is a plan for the execution of a project which consists of activities and their logical relationship to one another.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
A technique used to predict project duration by analyzing which sequence of activities has the least amount of scheduling flexibility. The Critical Path Method is a modeling process that defines all the project's critical activities that must be completed on time. The start and finish dates of activities in the project are calculated in two passes. The first pass calculates early start and finish dates from the earliest start date forward. The second pass calculates the late start and finish activities from the latest finish date backwards. The difference between the pairs of start and finish dates for each task is the float or slack time for the task. Slack is the amount of time a task can be delayed without delaying the project completion date. By experimenting with different logical sequences and /or durations the optimal project schedule can be determined. (Assoc for Project Mgmt)
Cross Functional Team
A group of people with different functional expertise and reporting responsibilities working toward a common goal.
Culture refers to the environment, paradigms, beliefs, ideals, actions, skill-sets, or behaviors of an organization.
Customer Centric
Having all business activities directed toward understanding customer needs and preferences and in the creation of products and services offering true benefits for those customers.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A business strategy built on a foundation of being customer centric. The central themes include maximizing revenue through the achievement of high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty and optimal customer interactions at each and every touch point.
Decision Maker
In customer segmentation, the Decision Maker gives the final approval to purchase goods or services. Typically, this is based upon the recommendation of the user/influencer.
Definition (product)
The description of attributes, functions, or capabilities of a product or service to satisfy the stated or implied needs of a targeted customer or customer segment. Products are described in ‘requirements’ documents to ‘developers’ who then create the product for the target audience.
Development organization (or Developer)
An organization or individual who develops or creates products ("develops" may include new development, modification, reuse, reengineering, maintenance, or any other activity that results in products) for itself or another organization.
Discounted Cash Flow
The effect of a projects influence on the cash flow of the firm over the life of the project. To compensate for funds received in the future being worth less than money earned today the future inflows are discounted to their present day values.
Distribution Channel
An organization or set of organizations (go-betweens) involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user. See “Place”
Economies of Scale
Cost advantages that a firm obtains due to expansion and/or increased volume.
The degree to which one economic variable changes in response to a change in another economic variable. Elasticity of demand is a way to measure how the change in price may impact the change in demand.
Environmental Analysis
Relating to the collection of, and analysis of information on political, cultural, social, demographic, economic, legal, international and other forces.
Feasibility (phase)
The process of screening ideas for technical, market, and economic feasibility. Often represented in a preliminary business case or other screening document.
Referring to the basic financial statements (P&L, cash flow, or balance sheet) and the analysis thereof.
Fixed Cost
Costs that stay the same, regardless of the number of units produced.
Focus Group
A method of gathering quantitative data on the preferences and beliefs of customers or users through a facilitated interaction (usually in groups) and discussion usually focused on a specific topic or product.
The outcome of a series of exercises and analysis that helps a company, division, or product group to predict the number of units they might sell or produce, or the market share they could attain.
Organizations such as Marketing, Customer Service, Finance, Development, etc.
Gantt Chart
Particular type of bar chart showing planned activity against time.
Goal (as in a product or market goal)
A specific statement derived from a corporate strategy regarding a desired accomplishment over time.
The concept of impression or perceptions by customers, made by an organization or a product.
Inbound Marketing
The efforts devoted to securing data and information from a variety of sources so that it can be used to guide Marketing Plans and programs.
A grouping of companies or competitors who produce and sell similar products and services.
Refers to the solving of a customer or market problem in a way that is more unique than anything else that exists in the market. The solution can include either a radical or incremental change to a product or service.
Integrated Marketing Strategy
A tightly linked set of strategies that are connected, timed, and coordinated to achieve marketing goals.
Intellectual Property (IP)
An intangible right to an idea or process.
A persuasive argument, often through a business case or similar document, to justify funding for a project.
A legal process to transfer the rights or intellectual property from one organization to another.
Life Cycle Management
See Product Life Cycle
Lifetime Value
The value of a customer to a business over the entire lifespan or time that a customer could do business with that firm. This is an important measurement in determining optimal target customer groups. Lifetime value is a function of the costs associated with acquiring and maintaining the customer in relation to the amount of business a customer will generate over the time of the relationship. (Customer lifetime value = Revenue received less cost to acquire and maintain)
The set of actual of potential users/customers. (Kotler)
Market Development
Expanding the total market served by 1) entering new segments, 2) converting nonusers, 3) increasing use by present users.
Market Penetration
The rate at which market share is gained over time.
Market Research
The systematic collection, recording and analyzing of data with respect to a particular market, where market refers to a specific user group in a specific geographic area.
Market Segmentation
A method of identifying a group of customers or customer types, within the context of a broad market. These broad groups can then be divided into specific subsets. Both customer types and subsets have similar characteristics and needs. Segments can be identified by examining demographic, psychographic, ethnographic, and geographic dimensions.
Market Share
The percent of total sales achieved by one company selling a specific type of product into a specific segment or sector.
Market Target
A subset of a market segment with a set of characteristics that are closely aligned and represent a focused marketing opportunity for a company.
Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others. (Kotler)
Marketing Mix
The combination of tactical and strategic actions designed to optimize a product’s performance in its targeted markets. The marketing mix is represented by most sources as the “4 P’s,” namely Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.
Marketing Plan
A document describing a business opportunity (linkage to business case) and the strategies to move the product into the marketplace.
Mission (corporate)
The explicitly stated, desired or actual purpose of a company, expressed in a broad, task oriented form such that it will encompass the ultimate boundaries for its operation and ongoing directions.
Network Diagram
The network diagram is used as a representation of the critical path method. See Critical Path Method.
New Product Development (NPD)
The process utilized to conceive of and create a product and all its supporting documentation and services, including eventual commercialization and introduction into the marketplace with full marketing plans ready to execute selling in all selected channels.
Opportunity Cost
The costs associated by giving up one opportunity in favor of another.
Outbound Marketing
Encompasses the work activities carried out to create programs that communicate messages or position products to customers and analysts, using advertising, public relations activities, and other events.
The manner in which a product is presented to a customer or user. It represents the materials, labels, and messages to position the product and indicate its contents.
A frame of reference, often ascribed to a given corporate culture or pattern of experiences. (A pattern, example, or model: Webster)
Perception is the cognitive impression that is formed of "reality" which in turn influences the individual's actions and behavior toward that object.
Fictitious characters that are created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic.
Relating to channels of distribution, e.g., retail, wholesale, direct, indirect, etc. An organization or set of organizations (go-betweens) involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user.
A detailed path to achieve an objective. Plans can take the following forms: Strategic Plan, Marketing Plan, Product Plan, etc.
Portfolio (product)
A suite of products managed together to maximize the value of the firm. Comprised of new product projects, projects in development, and products in various stages of the life cycle.
Portfolio Management
The process of managing a suite of products and services to maximize returns to the organization.
The process of image development through consistent, systematic, and visible reinforcement of desired marketplace perceptions.
Press Conference
A public relations marketing event facilitating communication between organizations and media representatives.
The amount of money charged for a product. Pricing is the process of defining value and benefits for a product or service.
A bundle of attributes or features, functions, benefits and uses capable of exchange, usually in tangible or intangible forms. “A term used to describe all goods and services sold” (PDMA Handbook of New Product Development)
Product Data Management (PDM)
The process by which data is managed throughout a product's life cycle. PDM manages the relationships between data elements to provide control of product components during the creation and revision processes. PDM has specific elements to apply process methods. Some of the process features provided by these elements include configuration management, change management, workflow, signoff and document vaulting. PDM allows enterprise wide sharing of timely and accurate information without duplication of data. (various sources)
Product Launch
The introduction of a new product to a market.
Product Life Cycle
The sum total of all phases a product goes through, from concept, feasibility, definition, development, launch, and post-launch strategic management (growth, maturity, decline, discontinuance, and market exit) Product Life Cycle Management: Active, ongoing management of all strategic, tactical, financial aspects of a product or product line in order to meet long term objectives for that item.
Product Management
The process of managing products throughout the product life cycle.
Product Plans
Explicit directions for introducing and/or managing single products.
Product Positioning
The way customers view competitive brands or products or, the manner in which products are presented and described to stakeholders, including internal teams, analysts, and customers.
Project Management
Planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all those involved in it to achieve the project objectives on time and to the specified cost, quality and performance.
Promotional Mix
The mix of communication techniques including advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, and public relations/ product publicity available to the marketer to achieve specific goals such as awareness building or lead generation.
Quality Control
An ongoing analysis of operations, to verify goods or service meet specified standards, or to manage product quality and reliability.
Research & Development
The application of knowledge in scientific and engineering arenas to uncover approaches to the development of, as well as actual development or creation of products.
Return on Investment (ROI)
The rate of return which is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment.
Revenue or Sales
Total funds coming into the firm for goods produced. Usually derived as prices charged x units sold for tangible goods. Often the sum total of the mix of items sold, including products and services.
Roadmaps (product)
Long term evolution plans for product lines or products, based on market, competitive and technological drivers.
A payment made to an inventor or owner of intellectual property for the right to manufacture or sell a product or service, using the inventor’s process or intellectual property.
An account or synopsis of a projected course of action, events or situations. Scenario development is used in policy planning, organizational development and, generally, when organizations wish to test strategies against uncertain future developments.
A combination of products, services, and other elements that solve complex problems, have a high degree of integration across disparate elements, and usually require customization for a specific customer type or industry. Compare to Bundle.
Strategic Plan
A plan presenting a corporate vision and mission, defines strategic direction, establishes high level organizational goals, and synchronizes activities and structures to achieve those goals.
A situation analysis whereby a firm assesses its own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (vulnerabilities). SWOT analysis is also an important dimension of competitor analysis.
Webster describes this as “the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish and end” or “a system or mode of procedure.”
In customer segmentation, the user is the one who typically identifies the problem, researches solutions, and presents to the Decision Marker possible recommendations.
The sum of benefits received in exchange for payment. That which customers purchase.
Value Chain
The series of steps or sequence of actions by which a product is conceived, created, and made available to customers. It is comprised of R&D, Sourcing, Manufacturing, Operations, Logistics (inbound and outbound), Sales, Distribution, and Customer Service.
Value Proposition
The total package of benefits which a vendor or supplier promises that a customer will receive. Benefits can be both qualitative and quantitative.
Refers to the addition of something else of value to a customer as a vendor attempts to solve a customer’s business problem. Value-added services, for example, might include the addition of consulting services or in customizing a product explicitly for a customer.
Variable Cost
A cost that varies with quantity produced.
A guiding theme that articulates the nature of the business and its intentions for the future, based upon how management believes the environment will unfold.
Work Structure
The specific manner in which the people resources of a company are organized to achieve the goals and objectives through execution of strategic and tactical plans.


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