The Practice of Product Management

The purpose of a business is to create a customer.

The legendary Management theorist and consultant Peter Drucker believed that Management was a practice.  As per Merriam-Webster, “Practice: The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it. In his seminal book “The Practice of Management,” Drucker, when describing the jobs of management, stated:

“The ultimate test of management is business performance. Achievement rather than knowledge remains, of necessity, both proof and aim. Management, in other words, is a practice, rather than a science or a profession, though containing elements of both.”

Therefore, as we look specifically at the management of a product or offering, we need to be looking through the same lens. Product Management is a Practice, the application of a “method” with the ultimate test being “business performance.” This is an essential belief: there is a method to Product Management that needs to be applied and used.

“The Practice of Management,” and the updated-expanded version “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” are foundational works for the modern-day practice of Product Management, not only in asserting the concept of [product] management as a “practice,” but also in introducing the key concepts around market and customer focus.

“There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.”

It is as simple as that – the purpose of a business is to create a customer.

“It is the customer who determines what a business is. For it is the customer, and he alone, who through being willing to pay for a good or for a service, converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods.”

Drucker continues “because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two—and only these two—basic functions: marketing and innovation.