Lean Product Managers

Modern digital companies are changing the way they are organized so that value can flow rapidly to the market. In addition, new products and services have a great acceptance in the market, which allows for constant waves of growth.

In this context, there is a key role in digital product organizations’ success: The Lean product manager.

From the idea to the execution, they are responsible for providing excellent customer experiences and sustained business growth by inspiring a visiondefining a successful strategy, and leading the implementation and market launch.

Lean product managers require basic skills such as:

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Negotiation

  • Leadership without authority

  • Communication

  • Public speaking

Many people take these elements for granted. However, there is a set of skills and practices that great product managers must master to lead successful modern product teams towards business growth and customer satisfaction. This idea outlines what this guide is about.

Lean Product Management is a modern product management methodology that helps you become a highly effective product manager in a complex 21st century.


Lean Product Management is a methodology covering the entire product life cycle from the idea to the withdrawal while providing the necessary practices, techniques, and tools to build successful products.

In essence, Lean Product Management is the traditional function of the product manager adapted to current times thanks to:

  • The principles

  • Practices

  • Techniques

  • Tools of Lean, Lean Startup, and Behavioral Economics

These aspects help continuously deliver products that customers love to the market.

Lean Product Management is about doing the right thing, to the right extent, and at the right time. To do this, you must be clear about the business model, the objectives, and the indicators that establish that you are making progress.

Agile Software Development

What is Agile Development?

In the last 20 years, thanks to the progressive adoption of agile software development methodologies (Scrum, XP, etc.), the quality and efficiency in developing digital products has greatly improved. However, its improvement has not been enough to also improve the success rate in innovation or new products.

Agile has caused a revolution in the corporate world but is not the solution to all problems especially creating products nobody wants.

Agile does not have a mechanism to determine if your business model is viable, what the market opportunity is, or if you are creating the right functionality. Therefore, the consequential result is that companies quickly and efficiently execute something that nobody wants.

Agile helps you execute correctly but to execute the right ideas and projects, you need Lean Startup as a guiding methodology that is combined with practices and techniques such as strategyOKRsbehavioral economicsproduct metrics frameworks, and outcome-based roadmaps.

The figure of the product owner is not enough, and the figure of the traditional product manager requires a modern mentality and tools. Instead, you need a Lean product manager that can translate a product strategy to a value proposition and iteratively and incrementally evolve a business model. In addition, the product manager should competently develop the product with the help of agile methodologies.

What is Lean Startup?

It is a movement that emerged in Silicon Valley in the early 20th century. Lean Startup tried to reduce the high failure rate of technology startups. Eric Ries coined the term that went viral. Since then, this methodology has been growing in adherents, practices, and techniques until it eventually crossed the border to big companies.

Steve Blank defines a startup as an organization formed to look for a repeatable and scalable business model.

This definition of startup best captures the essence of the Lean Startup methodology. Although, as you will see in this guide, the principles and practices of Lean Startup do not only apply to new companies but new products or innovations.

Analyze Steve Blank’s definition in detail:

  • An organization can be a group of geeks in a garage, an innovation team, or a product team within a corporation.

  • It is a repeatable business model because you want to sell to many people and not just the initial group of early adopters.

  • It is a scalable business model because you want to create a successful business from it. If your operating costs are too high, the technology you require is too expensive, or you use the wrong distribution channel, you will not succeed.

To succeed in product development, you must change the perspective and move from valuing technology or the product to focusing on the business model. You have to understand that as entrepreneurs or product managers, you are not developing a product but a business model.

A business model is a story about how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.

A business model can be the difference between success or failure for the same product. Therefore, the “product” must be your business model.