The 5 Dimensions of Product Management

Once you have a Product Vision and an initial understanding of the customer needs and the opportunity, it’s a good time to look ahead across all 5 Dimensions of great products and begin thinking about the activities to do at each stage of the product development process. As we discussed in several occasions, there is a risk in approaching the product development process as separate, consequential phases (basically, Waterfall). Instead, it’s better to think about your product development process as a whole, look across each Dimension and plan what you expect to do at each stage — even if at this point you don’t have yet a clear idea of the specifics.

For example:

  • If you expect your product to need a training manual to go with it you may want to plan how you can develop it (probably some activities in Discover, Design and Develop) instead of waiting for your product to be ready and then scrambling to put the training manual together.
  • If you plan to Deploy your first release of the product to a specific segment (say “Soccer Moms”), you may want to make sure to identify the user needs and create features that can be useful for that segment (in Discover and Design).
  • If you know that you will need a specific metric to track performance of your product once you Deliver, you may want to incorporate that metric early in your Design and Development activities.

To properly understand customer needs, build a solution, and deliver a customer experience that satisfies those needs, product managers need to have a full vision of their product. This is what we call the “5D vision of great products”.

Much like you see an object in the real world from a variety of different angles, the product’s 5D vision allows you to view a product across a variety of dimensions as it moves from ideation to launch. Each dimension covers a specific stage in the product development process and includes the elements needed to create a product and deliver a great customer experience. Only by covering all five dimensions can product managers plan and launch successful products in the marketplace

Product managers need to consider, plan, and execute in all 5 Dimensions to create great products. None of these dimensions is isolated from each other, and they may not even happen in linear order. In fact, you may return to any dimension at any time, and continue iterating through them, as you move forward in your ideation and development activities.

Use the 5D Canvas to jot down your action plan and describe how you are going to bring your product to life. Having visibility into all the activities you need to do — even if at high level — allows for better planning and prioritization of the overall process.

To learn more about the 5 Dimensions of great products (Discover, Design, Develop, Deploy, Deliver), please read this article, or refer to the book Deliver Great Products That Customers Love.

You can download the 5D Canvas and use it to plan your product development process. Download the 5D Canvas.

The 5 Dimensions of Great Products
The 5 Dimensions of Product Management