For Product Managers, the process of developing their product backlog will, at some point, lead to drawing up a feature comparison matrix or gap analysis to compare their product area with the competition. This is often driven by the sales teams for whom it provides a useful checklist to show to new prospects in a battle of who has the most features.
So what if we don’t compare?
The real art of Product Management is to look beyond our present feature list by observing and understanding what our customers are trying to do right now and by defining what they will need to do in the future. The interaction of creative and talented groups within the framework of thought leadership and technical excellence leads us to a vision of where our product should be going, how it will be used and how it may look. It’s within these areas of thought that we can reach the Holy Grail that is disruptive innovation.
Once the vision starts to become clear, we realise that the gap that we should be interested in is the one between where we are now and where the vision takes us. Taking the strategic route puts us ahead of the competition by redefining the market and driving market needs. The conversations with customers then become more about how the product not only solves their present problems but also takes them into new market possibilities and provides them with new ways of working.
So rather than taking the ‘me too’ approach we can aim for greatness in our own right.