Ultimate guide to SaaS Product Management

Bradley Harvey | Last Updated: Jan 11, 2022

A veteran journalist, dedicated in reporting latest smartphone technology innovations.

saas product management

SaaS Product Management is one of the most difficult roles in a technology company. The responsibility for product success touches every department, from marketing to customer support to engineering. On top of that, SaaS businesses are often organized in ways that make it hard to achieve consensus across the organization on what's coming next or what's working well today.

A SaaS Product Manager must be able to manage all aspects of product planning, development and delivery without clear organizational authority. However, you can set yourself up for success by carefully selecting your first team members and establishing your credibility quickly with your new colleagues at your SaaS startup or mid-sized business.

Here are some tips for getting started:

1 . Set measurable goals

Before you start building any products, you should figure out what your goal is. This may sound like common sense, but many product managers fail because they don't clearly define their endgame.

endgame

At the outset of any new job, it's easy to get caught up in learning everything you can about your company and its various functions; it's even natural to want to take a few weeks getting yourself acclimated before taking on any specific goals. But the reality is that if you aren't driving towards something measurable from day one, there's no chance you'll have much success as a product manager at a SaaS company or other fast-paced business.

2. Work with the engineering team to get an understanding of systems and metrics

If you work at a company that builds its own products, there's a pretty good chance someone will already have defined what the product should do from a technical perspective. That said, building your own product can introduce all kinds of complications when it comes to defining success metrics, breaking down key use cases into discrete actions, and ensuring everyone knows exactly what they're supposed to be doing. You need to work closely with your engineering team through this process in order to establish a cohesive vision for how things should operate once you're ready for launch.

3. Be prepared at all times

In many ways, being an effective PM is about being able to manage up. In other words, you're the one who needs to know all of your options in order to be able to explain things clearly and effectively to other people. You have a role that's more complex than being just an intermediary between engineering teams, designers, support, QA…etc.

You need to understand how your product works on a technical level so you can talk about it articulately with other stakeholders at the company. You might even get into the weeds during conversations with engineers/designers/support etc., but that knowledge will prove incredibly valuable when trying to communicate what you want out of your team.

You are the one who needs to be able to explain what's going on with your product clearly and concisely. You need to know how something works so that you can explain it simply, use cases etc., which is hard if you aren't involved in everything from inception of a feature through to supporting it.

You might become known as "the techie" even if the title doesn't officially exist within your company. More people will probably seek you out for advice, support, questions about how some part of the system works or even what they should test because your understanding encompasses more than just an isolated aspect of the whole product. This can be incredibly rewarding work but also time consuming!

Product management is a hard job. There is no way around it. While the product manager might be required to order lunch for employees now and then, their role is nothing like that of a restaurant manager.

Instead, they need to do the following:

  • Develop and maintain a strategy for their product
  • Manage day-to-day operations
  • Maintain relationships with developers, designers and other team members
  • Clearly communicate every new feature to customers

Demonstrate how each new feature not only fits into the existing business model but also contributes to its growth and profitability And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

This guide is a collection of best practices, tips and tricks from SaaS Product Managers with actionable insights. The goal is to share all the knowledge I have gathered over the years as a SaaS product manager to help new PMs become better at their jobs.​

Guide to SaaS Product Management entails:

1. A comprehensive guide of all the stages of SaaS product management (with actionable insights).

2. Compilation of best practices, tricks and tips from SaaS experts across the industry.

3. Survey results from hundreds of PMs at all experience levels revealed how much they earn, where do they come from and what are their biggest challenges as a PM.

The ultimate goal is to share all the knowledge I have gathered so far as a product manager in order to help new people become better at their jobs - this includes but not limited to: Product managers from other industries who want to gain insight into SaaS Product Management Coaches & consultants who work with startup founders, advising them on building products or evaluating potential hires to be product managers or even high potential PMs who are looking for their next career move