What is a Product Governance Framework?
by Helen Tsaganos
Why product governance is a hot topic right now.
For many product leaders, there is a sense of reality that the workload is never-ending. There are many reasons for that. The nature of the product role itself - wearing many hats, and the fact that product managers need to be detailed and strategic. Despite being high achieving product leaders - the tools for product lifecycle management and governance have not changed in many years.
There is no ignoring the reality that with increasing regulatory scrutiny and growing product regulations there is even a greater responsibility on product leaders to manage how they respond to these requirements for their products. By adopting a modern product governance framework product leaders can be at the forefront.
Product-led governance is the active oversight of your products or product portfolio. A product governance framework is the process, tools and mindsets that set the standard for your company's product oversight.
Governments all over the world have passed product governance legislation to collectively improve consumer outcomes and, more broadly, in response to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals and other emerging and environment social and governance (ESG) frameworks.
In more than 20 countries around the world, legislations have now been put in place requiring organisations in highly regulated industries such as finance, to implement a comprehensive product governance framework and conduct annual product reviews. The need for regular product monitoring and reviews also enables organisations an opportunity to be more strategic and give their products a competitive edge and drive product growth and success with the customer front and centre.
The biggest challenge we are seeing for product leaders and organisations is how to operationalise their product governance framework and product reviews in a manner that makes them compliant, whilst helping them deliver product growth effectively.
Recent industry example use cases that this applies to is the Design and Distribution Obligations (DDO) in Australia or PROD 4 in the United Kingdom where financial services or insurance organisations have mandated obligations around how they distribute and market their products. Other examples include monitoring modern slavery in your product's supply chain and climate-related risks for a product.
Best practice product-led governance deals with how you can use it in the day-to-day decisions in your product process. This includes new product development and monitoring the lifecycle of in-market products.
Skyjed’s product management and governance platform is an easy-to-use, all-in-one intuitive tool that’s specifically designed to meet the needs of product managers and product governance frameworks.
In this article, we share a modern product framework approach and Skyjed’s automation solution that enables product teams to focus on delivering better outcomes, meeting obligations and focussed on driving growth and product success for the customer and an organisation.
What is product-led governance?
Product governance refers to the active oversight of a product’s ongoing growth strategy, compliance, risk management and protection of product trust.
Product active oversight as the result of an implemented product governance framework encompasses three key ingredients:
- access to reliable and accurate data
- active monitoring and improvement
- collaboration across the business.
Instilling a trust-centred product governance framework enables organisations to improve how they design, distribute, monitor and review their product strategies.
A trust-centred product governance framework puts the customer at the centre of each product and helps to proactively mitigate product related (non-financial) compliance risk. The framework highlights important areas and assists in developing a common understanding of what product governance is across teams.
What is in a product-led governance framework?
Product Governance Framework
Product governance is not a one size fits all, and each product portfolio organisation is different. No process is linear, however generally a modern product governance framework includes four key phases: design, distribute, monitor, and continuous improvement.
In this phase, you'll learn how to better understand customer needs and address pain points. You'll move through discovery, experimentation, shaping a product and ultimately defining your products design and distribution.
The design phase is about ideation and shaping new products, finding new possibilities for existing products, which will evolve into a commercial solution if successful.
In this phase you will start to build your team, get smart on your regulatory challenges and obligations, and make choices about distribution strategy and conditions. You will also identify what review triggers will be needed to monitor the financial and non-financial risks or obligations for your product when in market.
Here you'll prepare and execute to get your idea to market and how to maximise its impact – this is across your selected distribution channels to maximise the commercial success and delivering customer value.
You will also finalise any mapping and implementation requirements including data collection of your distribution conditions and review triggers and ensure they are in place when in market.
In the monitoring phase, you'll oversee your product strategy with your team, make sense of the customer and product data and insights collected, and identify opportunities for improvement and early warning of risks.
You'll monitor review trigger thresholds, review your product design such as your target market determination for example and product performance. Then, you will identify and document ongoing improvement action plans until such time that you're ready to exit the product from the market.
Now, this is where you execute the action plans and continually iterate and improve. You'll figure out how to plan and re-plan to meet your performance metrics and refine your product design and strategy and the business model. You will keep the customer at the heart of the process and spend adequate time monitoring review triggers and your product design and distribution obligations.
A Product Governance working example
Product governance is imperative and indispensable, but no one enjoys the hours of preparation required for regular monitoring reviews. Whether its lite regular monthly or quarterly product reviews or detailed annual product reviews or monthly updates to a Product Governance Forum it’s hard to find the time to down tools for a few weeks and late nights to do all the preparation required plus manage the BAU of being a product leader and product owner.
Using a modern product lifecycle management and governance platform such as Skyjed, you can implement and benefit from an automated AI solution. This automates as much as possible and reduces time spent on mundane or time-consuming manual processes.
Skyjed Drivers & Templates with Guidance Notes Example
The Skyjed platform delivers a complete 360-degree view of a product’s health and performance. With our no-code setup Skyjeds platform is flexible to meet different business goals or governance framework’s.
With Skyjed you can replace all those spreadsheets, email trails and shared drives with different documents with a tool that records and manages the entire history of the product and its lifecycle management and governance all in one place.
By choosing from Skyjed’s prebuilt drivers and design or review templates (or you can easily create your own in minutes) you are ready to start. When you commence a product monitoring review, you are presented with a comprehensive set of information input drivers that guide you through the process.
One of the benefits is when you commence the following review the information and data is automatically populated from the previous review. This means you are only looking for what has changed since the previous review and therefore the process gets faster and faster over time. As a result product leaders will recognise insights and changes easily and make faster strategic decisions to address opportunities or risks.
How to create a modern governance framework using templates and an AI-powered platform
You can implement a governance framework and get going by leveraging the unique features of Skyjed’s platform including:
- pre-built product design, product monitoring and review templates or easily build your own in minutes
- automated workflows to set product triggers so you can identify risks before they take hold or opportunities as they emerge
- notifications so you never miss a risk or action with your team
- AI-powered real-time access to monitoring insights and product health check
- access boardroom-ready product governance & insight reports /dashboards
- team collaboration with review and approval workflows, actions & comments management, version control and record keeping
- integrated workspace with product planning and scheduler capability to schedule your once-off or regular product reviews
Download our Product Monitoring & Reviews Playbook to learn how to effectively conduct product monitoring and governance reviews utilising automation and artificial intelligence to win back time so you can focus on growth.
The top features of a product governance framework are:
Stages – it doesn't matter what you call them; the critical point is to ensure the settings are end to end.
Checkpoints - between each stage, you need a checkpoint. The checkpoint provides you with go, no go and/or holds comments and actions / decisions.
Governance Forum – often led by Head of Product, ideally meets monthly and collaborates with marketing, risk and legal teams.
Review Cadence - setting product monitoring and review timeframes for each stage of your product governance gives product managers a goal to aim for and helps you improve your governance framework. We recommend an annual review of the governance framework.
Product Owner/Leader/Manager - the most crucial role to lead and champion the product design, product strategy and ongoing monitoring at every stage of the product lifecycle.
Watch our 2-minute explainer video to learn more.
What our customers say?
Barbara O'Connor Nash, Head of Product, Great Southern Bank
As product management in financial services has become more complex and regulated, investing in technology to support the product lifecycle has increased. As product managers are responsible not only for the decisions, they make today but are required to understand and, in some instances, remediate decisions made in the past. Skyjed provides us with a platform where we can now record, track, and monitor these decisions and leaves us with strong record-keeping for future product management teams.
Additionally, Skyjed has a built-in tool to create your templates without coding - if you have already made your TMD - don't panic - you can simply upload them. As a practical example, we uploaded over 60 TMDs that had been created in a word document into Skyjed workspace in less than 2 hours with complete version control and record keeping.
Hugh Stodart, Head of Product & Engineering, Cipherpoint
I have not previously come across a tool which brings the elements of product management together like Skyjed does - particularly for ongoing management as distinct from development.
Michael McCormick, former Head of Product & Strategy, LUCRF Super
Skyjed has reduced the amount of time spent on manual processes and implementation by 50%. They make ongoing management and monitoring of the Product Governance Lifecycle Framework and DDO very easy. The Skyjed solution will do most of the work for us.
Skyjed is an AI-powered digital product lifecycle management and governance SaaS platform that acts as the single source of truth for product design, health, performance, and governance.
Skyjed is an ISO-27001 accredited solution.
It is designed to drive growth and enable product teams to strategically design and monitor products with automation smarts and faster insights to make data-driven decisions with confidence.
Skyjed’s commitment to innovation and our customers has been rewarded with several industry recognitions including Technology of Year – Finalist in the UK Tech & Innovation Awards 2022, Finalist in the AFR Most Innovative Company 2022 and AFR Sustainability Awards 2022 and Regtech Female Founder of the Year 2021.
If you would like to experience how Skyjed can help your team build for product success, contact us for a demo or a start a free trial today.
Experience the unique features of Skyjed:
- AI-powered modern product lifecycle management and governance solution
- Flexible to achieve different business goals
- Pre-built design, monitoring and review templates or easily build your own
- Automated workflow triggers so you can identify opportunities as they emerge or monitor risks before they take hold
- Access boardroom-ready product governance and product insight reports and dashboards
- Team collaboration with review and approval workflows, actions & comments management, version control and record keeping
- Integrated workspace with product planning and scheduler capability