In SaaS Products, the software provider controls the operation. SaaS Product Managers have more freedom to schedule new versions and updates, and have access to their product’ usage data. So, how can you use it for the benefit of your product?
Tip 1: Continuous Deployment requires Continuous Product Management
New versions and updates in a SaaS Product do not require marketing the new version to customers and deploying the new version for each customer. Therefore, SAAS Products updates can be frequent and in some cases Continuous Deployment is used (Suzie Prince provides an excellent overview of Continuous Deployment in mind the PRODUCT blog).
SaaS Product Managers should apply continuous product management processes to utilize the advantages of frequent deployment. This means continuous product definition process – from continuous review of the product goals, roadmap and priorities to frequent communication of detailed requirements to the technical team, as well as continuous product marketing process (frequent micro launches instead of major launch of a new version).
Tip 2: Get new ideas in front of your customers faster
Avoid wasting too much time on internal iterations. Do not hesitate to introduce changes – as a SaaS Product Manager you can introduce small changes and iterate using real market feedback – a much more efficient process than work internally and make assumptions regarding market feedback. You can use AB testing to check new ideas on a small number of users and launch to all users based on market response.
Tip 3: Continuous improvement
Define relevant metrics that will enable you to analyze your product performance. Use the data to check what works and what does not (both success and retention). Analyze the data, understand what the market is telling you, and use the insights to improve the product.
Tip 4: Do not lose contact with customers
Having usage data available, it is tempting to focus on these metrics and assume that they provide all the information you need. They do not. You have to engage with customers in order to understand their day-in-a-life, understand the value beyond the metrics. Allocate time to speak with customers and bring the insights to the product in addition to the metrics.
Tip 5: Do not lose the big picture
When dealing with many small changes, there is a risk of losing focus. As a Product Manager your job is to add significant value to the product and make it better for the customers. Keep the big picture in mind and make sure the result of the many small updates add up to greater customer value, improved user experience and more satisfied users.