Product Managers Need To Learn To Think Globally

The world may seem small at times, but it isn't
The world may seem small at times, but it isn’t
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Quick question for you product manager: does your product development definition consider your product to be a global product? Even if you said “no”, I’d be willing to bet that if a big enough order showed up on your doorstep from some country that you had never heard of, you’d still try to find a way to get your product into their hands. Give all this, just exactly what does a product manager have to do if they are trying to make their global product a success?

What’s Your Worldview?

As product managers it can be all too easy to spend our days thinking about our product and what comes next. When we realize that our product is now competing in a global market, we need to start to develop what is called a “worldview”. This is nothing more than having an awareness of what is going on in the world in which our product is being offered. Sure seems like this should be a part of everyone’s product manager resume.

In the past our world consisted of such things as customers, competitors, and suppliers. When you develop a worldview, you now need to be aware of opportunities for your product that are showing up in different places around the world. This means that you are going to have to start to be aware of the forces that are active in the political, legal, and regulatory environments within the global markets where your product is being offered.

The list of things that you now need to be aware of has suddenly become much longer than it used to be. It’s going to be things that can impact your product that you’re going to have to stay on top of. This can include supply chains, basic infrastructure, capital markets, and even the quality of the local work forces.

How Do You Stay On Top Of What’s Happening In The World?

Hopefully we can all agree that a worldview is something that every product manager now needs to both develop and maintain. This leads to the big question: how are you going to accomplish this?

As a basic first step, you are going to have to start to pay a lot more attention to the news. Being aware of what is going on in the world where your product is being sold is a new part of every product manager job description.

Your next step is going to have to be to read publications from those parts of the world where your product is being sold. There is no substitute for getting a first person understanding of just exactly how your product and your company are being perceived by the market in which you are trying to be successful.

One thing that you need to make sure that you don’t do is to ask someone else to do this job for you. It can be all too easy to delegate the job of keeping up on the status of a global market that you are active in to someone else on your team – “… just keep me updated on what’s going on.” The reason that you can’t do this is because it’s important that you see how things are unfolding in your global markets yourself. Only by seeing the progression of events will you have a clear understanding of what the correct next steps for you and your product are.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

Here in the 21st Century, no product manager can say that their product is not a global product in some way. What this means is that we all have to adapt the way that we think about our product in order to ensure that it will be a global success.

The first thing that we need to do is to create a worldview. This means that we need to be aware of things like changes in a country’s political, legal, and regulatory systems. Once we’ve done this, we need to find ways to keep our worldview up-to-date. The best way to do this is to start to read local papers and magazines from the global areas where we want to sell our products.

The good news is that the market for a global market is much larger than products that are just sold domestically. The bad news is that in order for your product to be a success, you are going to have to change the way that you view the world. Take the time to do this right, and you just might have a global success on your hands!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think you should offer your product globally or just in select countries?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

What product manager really likes to tackle the pricing beast? I’m willing to bet that this part of the job is pretty low on your list of product development definition things that you like to do. However, that’s a shame. It turns out that setting the right price for your product is what is going to have the greatest influence on making your product a success. Get it right and you’ll have something else to add to your product manager resume. Would you like to know how to do that?