We have worked with many companies where product management looks after internal platforms or capabilities used by other parts of their business.
These are not sold directly to external customers but may form part of products or services the company does sell. Or they may be internal systems used by employees.
Often the IT department or technology team takes on this role. This is part of a fundamental change in approach from “fix my PC” to providing added value by supporting business sales and providing expert consultancy within the business.
The issues we encounter depend on the maturity of product management in an organization but common ones include:
- Clearly defining what the internal product management role should do and how it is different from market-facing product management
- Serving many different and demanding internal customers with conflicting priorities
- Establishing a common taxonomy so everyone knows what can be sold (or not) and what is delivered
- Whether the department is seen as a cost center, a value creator, profit neutral or profit generator
- Resolving internal questions around value allocation where products support both internal and external customers
We have run Product Management Reviews in many companies and also delivered on-site training for teams of IT & technology product people. These have helped them become more commercially focused, establish a clear role and understand best practice for their internal product management team.