Perhaps I've convinced you that architecture matters. Now a potentially more difficult task is convincing you that product management matters. I'm hopeful that I can do this, because product management is as at least as important as software architecture, if not more so.
Let me start with the blunt approach: Technology alone doesn't win. That you're first, fastest , best, coolest, or "obvious" does not mean that you will win in the market. Product management matters because simply building the technically right product isn't enough. A host of complex and interrelated activities, from establishing pricing models to building useful partnerships, is needed to ensure total product success. If any one of these vital activities are weak the product is at risk of failure.
Successful product management provides the same benefits as a successful software architecture. Chief among these is profitability, in that successful product management will create truly profitable products and companies. Unlike software, where terminated projects are considered failures, successful product managers routinely subject projects to rigorous examination and terminate those that are no longer likely to meet business objectives. What I find most appealing in this approach is that product managers are proactive in terminating projects, whereas many software project managers and architects tend to be reactiveperfectly willing to continue working on a poor project until someone else kills itand it doesn't have to be this way. This is a topic I will explore later in this chapter.
Perhaps the most important reason that product management matters, especially from the perspective of the architect and the development team, is that it should represent the voice of the customer. Good product managers engage in many activities, including direct and indirect market research, that put them in a position to guide the development organization. When you ask them what the customer needs, they can answer. And because their answer is rooted in data and experience, you can believe them and act on their advice in building the system. In practice, these data are captured and expressed in such things as business plans and marketing requirements documents (MRDs). However, before the MRD is created or the system is built, the successful product manager will have already completed several steps in a successful product development process. Before considering some of the important documents associated with successful product management, let's review this process.