Product Management 101: How to Get Started On a New Product

Lisa Mo Wagner
10 min readApr 12, 2019


You have been tasked with building a new product. Now what? Don’t just jump to solution mode, you might miss out on some great ideas. One of the most important pieces of advice: Collaborate! Involve your customers, your stakeholders and your team, they all have unique knowledge that can help you with every step you need to take to build an amazing new product or optimize an existing one.

A new product doesn’t have to be intimidating: 6 steps for a smooth start

There are several scenarios when you’re assigned to build a new product, two of the more common ones:

  • There’s a strategic goal that your company wants to reach based on overarching business goals. This means you can build any product to reach it. Personally, I like this one more, more freedom to explore and experiment.
  • Even more common: Someone had an idea. Someone can be from the marketing or sales team, a customer success agent or one of your team members. A lot of the time, these ideas are based on some rough market research, conversations with customers, competitors’ products, emerging technologies or really just a hunch.

No matter the situation, you need to get into the details: What specifically do users need so that they’ll try your product and then love it so much they stay? To answer this question, we need to loop through these steps: Discover, Ideate, Prototype and Validate, Build and Ship.

Does that sound familiar? It is based on design thinking, lean and agile methodologies. I’ve found that quite often they end up being separated from each other, this leads to a disconnect. Design uses design thinking, development delivers based on agile methods and the business side of things is supposed to be lean. Well, since product managers supposedly sit in the middle of all of those disciplines, we should facilitate a conversation and use the best of all worlds.

Methodologies Overview

This will give you a basic overview of methodologies the steps are based on and how they work together. If you are familiar with them, feel free to skip ahead.



Lisa Mo Wagner

Product strategist, decision facilitator, team enabler, problem solver, design sprinter, agile enthusiast, intersectional feminist.