Product Strategy

Foundational Concepts

What are Foundational Concepts?
Definition of Foundational Concepts
Foundational concepts represent elemental underlying principles and building blocks for structuring high performing, reliable approaches designed for generalizability across vastly different use cases but also adaptable specificity. They provide low level DNA available for direct application or more mature concept aggregation articulating basic, preliminary mental models facilitating learning through examples.

Product Management and Operations are two crucial areas of business that have a significant impact on the success of any organization. This glossary entry aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the foundational concepts related to these areas. The terms and concepts explained in this glossary will help readers gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies involved in product management and operations.

Product Management is a function within a company that guides every step of a product's lifecycle, from development to market launch and beyond. Operations, on the other hand, refers to the processes and activities that are involved in the day-to-day running of a business. Together, they play a vital role in ensuring that a company's products meet the needs of its customers and that the company operates efficiently and effectively.

Concept 1: Product Management

Product Management is a strategic business function that involves planning, developing, marketing, and selling a product or a product line. It encompasses a wide range of activities, including market research, product development, pricing, promotion, and distribution. The goal of product management is to deliver a product that meets the needs of the market and generates revenue for the company.

Product managers are typically responsible for guiding the success of a product and leading the cross-functional team that is responsible for improving it. They set the strategy, prioritize features, and coordinate with other teams to deliver a complete product to the market. They also often serve as the primary point of contact for a product within a company.

Subconcept 1.1: Product Strategy

Product strategy is a high-level plan that outlines what a company hopes to achieve with its product and how it plans to do so. It includes decisions about the target market, the product's value proposition, and the business goals that the product is expected to achieve. A well-defined product strategy provides a roadmap for the product's development and guides decision-making throughout the product's lifecycle.

Developing a product strategy involves understanding the market, the competition, and the customer. It requires a deep understanding of the customer's needs and wants, as well as the competitive landscape. The product strategy should align with the company's overall business strategy and should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in the market and the business environment.

Subconcept 1.2: Product Development

Product development is the process of creating a new product or improving an existing one. It involves a series of steps, including idea generation, concept development, design, prototyping, testing, and launch. The goal of product development is to create a product that meets the needs of the customer and provides value to the company.

Product development is a cross-functional process that involves many different departments within a company, including marketing, engineering, design, and manufacturing. It requires a deep understanding of the customer, the market, and the technology that will be used to create the product. The product development process can be complex and challenging, but it is critical to the success of any product-based business.

Concept 2: Operations

Operations refers to the processes and activities that are involved in the day-to-day running of a business. It includes everything from procurement and manufacturing to customer service and logistics. The goal of operations is to ensure that the business runs smoothly and efficiently and that it delivers value to its customers.

Operations management is the area of management concerned with designing and controlling the process of production and redesigning business operations in the production of goods or services. It involves the responsibility of ensuring that business operations are efficient in terms of using as few resources as needed and effective in terms of meeting customer requirements.

Subconcept 2.1: Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is a key aspect of operations. It involves the coordination and management of all activities involved in sourcing, procurement, conversion, and logistics management. It also includes the crucial components of coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers.

In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies. The ultimate goal of any effective supply chain management system is to reduce inventory (with the assumption that products are available when needed) and increase the speed of transactions with the use of technology.

Subconcept 2.2: Quality Management

Quality management is another critical aspect of operations. It is the act of overseeing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes the determination of a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, and quality control and quality improvement.

Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent. It has four main components: quality planning, quality assurance, quality control and quality improvement. Quality management is focused not only on product and service quality, but also on the means to achieve it. Quality management, therefore, uses quality assurance and control of processes as well as products to achieve more consistent quality.

Concept 3: The Intersection of Product Management and Operations

Product Management and Operations are two distinct areas of business, but they often intersect in important ways. For example, product managers need to work closely with operations to ensure that products are manufactured and delivered in a way that meets the needs of the customer. Similarly, operations managers need to understand the product strategy to ensure that the operations processes support the company's product goals.

One key area of intersection is in the development and launch of new products. Product managers are responsible for defining the product and its features, while operations is responsible for figuring out how to manufacture and deliver the product. This requires close collaboration between the two functions to ensure that the product is developed and launched successfully.

Subconcept 3.1: Product Lifecycle Management

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a process that manages the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.

PLM systems help organizations in coping with the increasing complexity and engineering challenges of new product development for the global competitive markets. It is one of the four cornerstones of a corporation's information technology structure. All companies need to manage communications and information with their customers (CRM-customer relationship management), their suppliers and fulfillment (SCM-supply chain management), their resources within the enterprise (ERP-enterprise resource planning) and their product planning and development (PLM).

Subconcept 3.2: Operational Efficiency

Operational efficiency is the capability of an enterprise to deliver products or services to its customers in the most cost-effective manner possible while still ensuring the high quality of its products, service and support. Operational efficiency is often achieved by streamlining a company’s core processes in order to effectively respond to rapidly changing customer needs and expectations in a cost-effective manner.

Improving operational efficiency involves identifying and eliminating non-value-adding activities in design, production, supply chain management, and dealing with the customers. Companies can improve their operational efficiency by employing lean manufacturing practices, investing in modern manufacturing technologies, improving labor and resource scheduling, and streamlining their supply chain operations.


Product Management and Operations are two critical areas of business that have a significant impact on a company's success. Understanding the foundational concepts related to these areas can help business professionals make more informed decisions and contribute to the success of their organizations.

While this glossary entry provides a comprehensive overview of these concepts, it is important to remember that both product management and operations are complex areas that require ongoing learning and development. As such, professionals in these areas should continually seek out opportunities to expand their knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices.