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The 5 Best Ways to Manage Product Ideas

Ways to Manage Product Ideas
Ways to Manage Product Ideas

Ideas are the fuel that can power your business. Your ideas may be simple, but they are the ones that will get you where you want to go faster. And good ideas are something most managers can agree on.

On paper, it seems like the perfect formula for success. But, creating innovative products isn’t as easy as being creative, nor does it come with a manual. To make sure your ideas take off, you need to manage them properly. Otherwise, you will create a culture of “innovation death hole” and stakeholders will avoid you.

This article will help you understand how you can manage existing product ideas. This way, you can avoid pursuing ideas that kill the company and give value to better ideas.

What Does Idea Management Mean? 

Idea management is the process of collecting, defining, and archiving ideas from various sources. Before putting ideas into a quantitative approach, you need to manage them first.

Your idea management process should do more than record and organize market research. Customer feedback offers important data. It provides signals that product managers use to check concepts that meet customer demands. In this case, providing the right needs for your users will help advance your chosen metrics.

How Does This Differ From Innovation Management?

To put it simply, idea management is just a part of innovation management. The latter is the process of coming up with new ideas for the whole innovation process. It involves reporting, innovation dashboards, project, and portfolio management. 

The software used for innovation management also differs from that of idea management. Consider the scenario when you are creating a product plan. With the aid of innovation management software, you can get feedback on this roadmap from different innovators. It also lets you direct the best new ideas to enhance your working draft.

With idea management software, you can record all of your current ideas to your product roadmap. This way, you can evaluate and test it to decide which ideas to keep and which to discard.

How Can You Manage Product Ideas? 

Given the importance of product management, you should know how to do it right. You need to provide your team with tools and onboarding as much as possible. So how do you manage your product ideas? Let’s see five of the best ways to manage product ideas. 

  1. Create an Idea Management System

Any business will lose money if you do not manage good ideas and put them into practice. That’s why you need idea development tools to help you sort out existing ideas.

A dedicated idea management system will:

  • Provide quicker and more effective ideation and evaluation

Idea management software helps you locate roadblocks and bottlenecks in the thought process. This way, you can streamline the ideation process. It also improves the effectiveness of idea evaluation. Decision-makers can prioritize their greatest ideas more easily, saving time, money, and effort.

  • Give you more diverse thinking

Groupthink is a concern even in companies that promote creativity. The status quo strips employees of their potential to offer “aha” moments. Idea management software will assist the company to get out of this rut. It promotes innovation by directing and encouraging fresh ideas from different people.

Idea management software will assist the company to get out of this rut. It promotes innovation by directing and encouraging fresh ideas from different people.

  • Provide an easy way to collaborate

A conversation between three or four individuals seems to start off well. But, when more and more people join in the conversation, it quickly spirals out of control. These kinds of undertakings might come to a total standstill if no one takes the helm.

Using an idea management system facilitates cross-business collaboration. It allows you to organize this type of group input. The right software will increase employee engagement by letting them participate in the brainstorming process.

  • Improve Customer Experience

Software for idea management eventually helps you improve customer experience. You’re not just throwing ideas for the sake of it, after all. The ultimate goal of the ideation process should be a workable proposal for a product or service that makes customers’ lives better.

Idea management software ultimately benefits you, your organization, and your consumers. It enhances the effectiveness, efficiency, and collaboration of your ideation activities.

  1. Give Advice on the Ideas You’re Searching For

Your idea management systems should encourage all business ideas and insights. If the system is rigid, you will miss a novel but viable business idea. But, as a product manager, you must be selective in the ideas you pursue. 

That’s why you should incorporate constant feedback reflecting new realities into your idea management system. Using an ideas platform to improve team ideas reduces the number of ideas that fall short.

  1. Discuss and Assess Ideas With Your Cross-Functional Team

While every idea is great, not all of them are worth pursuing. That’s why, to manage your ideas, you need to assess their value.

An idea management platform is effective if whoever collects the ideas also reviews and analyzes them. You could do this before acting on those that the team decides are worth pursuing. You should analyze the submitted ideas using a system such as weighted scoring. It will help you assess which options are workable to move forward with.

  1. Rank Your Roadmap Ideas

Let’s say that the concept fits with your quarterly objectives. You must choose if it belongs in the current release or the future release on your roadmap.

You should know that there will be a significant cost of change if you put it in the current release. Most of the time, it is not ideal to change anything in the current release. That’s why you should avoid pursuing ideas that fit in the current release.

For one, it will slow down your team’s production since they will be learning a new concept. There is also the risk of abandoning the code that developers are working on. When this happens, the code will eventually become stale. Additionally, you’ll need to swiftly scope out the task, which puts strain on the other teams.

If it goes to your future releases, you should start with work that you haven’t scoped out yet. Setting priorities based on backlog items provides the lowest change cost. Compare the new idea’s worth and effort to every item on your backlog. Determine which item you need to replace by setting priorities based on work and value.

  1. Close the Loop by Communicating Back

You must share information with the interested parties who proposed the idea. If the idea is no longer available, you also need to explain a few things to them. This includes:

  • Why this year’s goals were not achieved
  • Why the current roadmap items are more important
  • Why the cost of change is insignificant in comparison to what is already in place
  • Why the senior management chose a higher priority item 

If possible, offer a non-technical solution to the problem. You should also notify the people of the proposal that the management accepted. Here is how you can do that:

  • Communicate the idea’s condition on your roadmap
  • If necessary, include a high-level timetable such as months and quarters
  • When the stakeholder’s idea is complete, re-engage with them
  • When workable, encourage them to beta test and provide feedback

Final Thoughts

There is no silver bullet to managing product ideas. Each company and product manager has its own unique situation. This will dictate the solution that works best for them. The great thing is that you can use a few simple tools to help you manage these ideas. 

Your team should be more excited about the future now that you have a solid process in place. Recognize that this will not happen overnight. Time and practice are necessary to generate product ideas and discuss them. Once the team has embraced this practice, you will be able to get ahead of new challenges before they hit the market.

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