I started using the term internal product mainly for convenience so that I didn’t have to list off a bunch of examples every time I addressed a specific context.
I probably take it a step too far when I use the term internal product management to mean the application of product management techniques to internal products, so I don’t use that phrase too often.
That doesn’t mean that product management doesn’t apply in those situations, it does. Just to varying degrees.
To show how, I thought I’d share a collection of podcasts from the This is Product Management podcast and the 100 PM podcast where the interviewee works in what I’d consider an internal product context.
I’ve grouped the examples into two categories:
- products for internal use – the interviewee is working on products for people inside their organization
- digital products – the interviewee is working on products that their customers interact with. Many of these situations are the result of some form of digital transformation.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the majority of the examples are of the digital transformation nature. Because those products have customer interaction they are inherently going to have a bigger relation to product management.
Products for Internal Use
Building Internal Solutions is Product Management
Michael Montecuollo, Director of User Experience and Design at DOOR3, shares how to align stakeholders on a project’s priorities and how he conducts user research when the client is the end user. Michael discusses the challenges of building products for internal use, particularly as an outside agency, is not without a unique set of challenges.
Making Investment Decisions is Product Management
Nick Hill, Product Manager at Humana, discusses how to get executives to invest in iteration, and why product management is similar to investment management.
You’re Not Thinking Big Enough
Nacho Andrade, Principal Product Manager at ADP talks about his experience spreading Product Thinking at ADP through his work in ADP’s Innovation Center. Nacho’s role is to work with the various teams trying to get the products that support ADP’s products to be more innovative.
Agile Transformation is Product Management
Andrea Schneider, Acting Director of Product Management at the IRS, and Lauren Gilchrist, Director at Pivotal Labs, share how they shifted the IRS from Waterfall to Agile development and reduced time to release from two years to nine weeks. The IRS does not sell software. This is the story of how they thought of the application they use to process payments as a product and approached it with product management (and agile).
Keeping a Pulse on Consumers is Product Management
Anastasia Goodstein, Senior Vice President of Digital at The Advertising Council, and Rachelle Reeder, Director of Strategy and Evaluation at The Advertising Council, share how they adapt to emerging consumer trends and technologies and utilize experimentation to launch campaigns that make an impact. Example of product work in non profit. This is a more clear cut example where product management activities are helpful – need to understand the people who their ad campaigns are targeted toward – and use product management to do that.
Emerging Technology is Product Management
Phillip Easter, Director of Mobile Apps & Wearables at American Airlines, shares how he’s leveraging emerging technologies and partnering with startups to reshape customer experience. American Airlines focus on Digital drives the need to understand their customers better and shape how those customers experience AA’s actual service – air flights.
Motivating Users is Product Management
Eric Feige, General Manager at Magenic and former Vice President of Digital Transformation at Prudential, and Dr. Scott Rigby, CEO of Immersyve, discuss the psychology behind motivating users and how to make the case for a new idea at a large company within a regulated industry. The story here is about an application that is customer facing, but is not the organization’s actual product.
Reinvention is Product Management
Ha-Hoa Hamano, Senior Product Manager For platforms at NPR, shares her approach to meeting the changing needs of users and how she rallies stakeholders around key product decisions. Leads development of NPROne on various devices. (Digital product)
Collaborating with Agencies is Product Management
Jon Arnold, Senior Product Manager at Bridgestone, shares how he’s utilizing agencies to transform his company’s digital retail experience. Another case of a digital product that enables interaction with customers, but is not the organization’s ultimate product.
Becoming Customer-Centric is Product Management
Kimberly Tzeng, Senior Product Manager at LearnVest, a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual, shares how she shifted her team to a more collaborative and customer-centric approach to product management. Focus on her experience with Nationwide’s website. Another digital product story.
There’s No Right Way to Do Anything
Jiayi Ying is international product manager at Scholastic. Tells about working at Scholastic in a digital transformation situation – trying to build platforms to reach customers to sell Scholastic products. Also talks a great deal about working with development teams.
A Team of One
Heidi Wong started out as a business analyst then was one of fifty managers at XO Group, makers of the The Knot. At the time of this recording she is the sole product manager responsible for Marvel.com. Heidi talks about adjusting from a large team to a (very) small one, which marketing skills have proven essential to her journey into product, and why sometimes it’s better to just sit back and observe.
First and Foremost, a Fan
Matt Moreno evolved from Web Developer to Senior Product Manager at The Chicago Bulls. Yes, that NBA team that had Jordan and Pippen in the 90’s and were great; and now… aren’t. Matt is leading the team toward a product mindset and a suite of digital assets in service of delivering legendary fan experiences.
Do you need help with your internal products?
As you can see, product people work on all kinds of products. Many of which are ones that their organizations don’t sell, and some are even products that their customers don’t even see.
If you’re a product owner, business analyst, product managers, working with development teams to deliver internal products products and want to be more effective, KBPMedia can help you out.
Sign up for our free membership to get access to an ever growing library of resources, a subscription to our weekly Inside Product newsletter, and to join the conversation with other product people on our private Slack group.