Product Management Frameworks: What Your Startup Needs To Know

May 12, 2022Mikenzi Ross

Developing a new product is overwhelming—especially if you’re a startup with a fantastic idea but don’t know where to start. You want your product to be successful and development to run smoothly despite the many working parts involved.

And that’s where Product Management Frameworks come in.

Though numerous Product Management Frameworks exist, all methods offer startups a clear blueprint to maximize efficiency throughout the development process. This article will explain:

  • What Product Management Frameworks are
  • An overview of the Product Life Cycle
  • And some of our favorite Product Management Framework methods

Ready to ensure your product development has the best chance of success? Then this post is for you.

What is a Product Management Framework?

Implementing a clear and consistent PMF (Product Management Framework) has a considerable impact on the overall success of a product. Sometimes known as Feature Prioritization Frameworks, PMFs allow companies to draft a product development roadmap and define what elements/features take the highest priority.

From initial conception to end-user testing, Product Management Frameworks fuel productivity via a figurative wireframe that allows everyone to identify the best means of tackling objectives and work together efficiently.

Product Management Frameworks and The Product Life Cycle

It’s helpful to understand the Product Life Cycle when considering Product Management Frameworks. All products, apps, etc., have a life cycle—a model broken down into five specific stages.

Most PMFs focus on the first stage: “development.” However, we’ll outline the entire lifecycle to ensure you can get the most out of this article and find the right Product Management Framework for your startup.


This stage is when the product is malleable, and hope, excitement, and creativity run rampant. However, because it’s yet to generate revenue, the development stage also requires tons of testing, pitching, proposals, etc.

This stage is innate to startups especially. Development is all about planning, planning, and more planning. It’s the opportunity to research market viability and identify possible friction before release. Sometimes, the development stage can even be where a product begins and ends.


This is the stage where the product goes live on the market. It’s time to invest in advertising and expect a loss at this early stage due to marketing. To mitigate losses due to distribution costs, product costs, etc., define and prioritize a clear target audience.


Here’s where sales grow/scale, and profit is made against the cost of marketing, producing, and maintaining the product. We like Neil Patel’s take on having some patience in this stage, so have a look at his post that focuses entirely on a Product Life Cycle for more details.


A product reaches its ultimate potential (revenue generation and awareness.) The product cannot/will not continue to grow. At this point, brands now face the obstacle of maintaining the product’s profit margin. It’s crucial to stay relevant and preserve your place in the market.


This stage is self-explanatory. Here’s where a product declines and eventually ends. Brands will study and recognize the end through KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and possibly create a new product to take the dying one’s place.

And thus, the cycle begins once more.

Product Management Framework Examples

Product Management Frameworks come in all shapes and sizes, and many interweave with the life cycle of a product. With so many to choose from, different types of designers and companies will need to find the one that works best for their team.

The selections we’ve compiled below are flexible and minimal, making them an excellent starting point for anyone new to implementing a Product Management Framework—or even the product life cycle concept in general.

Minimum Viable Product (Build>Measure>Learn)

The MVP (Minimal Viable Product) method is a fantastic product management framework for feedback nerds like us. It focuses on learning and researching the potential of a new product by prioritizing simplicity in the initial design.

After a company defines a specific problem, they develop a minimal solution (product), distributing it to obtain real-life feedback from the target users.

This allows teams to quickly recognize friction points in the UX and hear firsthand feedback regarding what features should take priority in future development.

Job To Be Done (JTBD)

Focuses on customer needs—ya know, that thing we think is the ultimate and most important element of any product ever. JTBD builds upon use cases/scenarios over ICA/personas and helps teams define the multiple problems that the product can solve for the target customer.

The customer’s thought process is most important with JTBD, allowing teams to identify multiple areas of applicability for a singular persona.

RICE (Reach>Impact>Confidence>Effort)

We are such suckers for acronyms, and RICE is one of our favorites—delicious and productive?

You can’t get much better than that!

We’ve discussed the RICE method before in our Feature Prioritization Framework article—but it’s worth mentioning here because it’s just that great.

RICE helps teams measure the four key metrics that comprise its name: Reach vs. Impact vs. Confidence vs. Effort. Each feature/priority/element of a product’ is ranked/prioritized based on its overall final scores using the RICE scoring method.)

Design Sprint

The Design Sprint method is fun because it emphasizes action. Every step builds momentum upon the last, utilizing verbs that help drive focus, motivation, communication, and progress.

The Designs Sprint product management framework comprises five elements/stages: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

Product Management Framework always backs a successful Product

While most folks assume UX design only focuses on the end-user, the reality is:

Businesses should create effective user experiences for themselves.

Product Management Frameworks are one of the best methods for doing that (aside from giving your team paid “nap breaks.”)

Even if none of the PMFs we’ve shared today are a good fit for you, we strongly encourage you to research the endless number of methods available (seriously, there’s a TON.)

No matter which Product Management Framework you choose, the act of investing the effort into developing a solid plan is the real game-changer worth celebrating.

Subscribe to our email community for a unique spin on UX insight

We guarantee you won’t find a UX newsletter like ours anywhere else—plus, we have cute dogs!

    Similar Blog Posts:

    Mikenzi Ross
    I'm that weird little copywriter your mother warned you about

    Mikenzi Ross

    Let’s build something awesome together!

    Get Started!