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Product Governance Product People

Why product governance is a hot topic right now.

What is product governance?

Product governance refers to the active oversight of ongoing product-led growth strategy, compliance, risk management and protection of product trust. Product oversight requires quick access to reliable data, active monitoring and collaboration across the business.
How can you maximise the benefits? How to put an ideal model in place? And who should be involved? 

My last article –  5 questions Directors should raise with their Chief Product Officer received a great response and requests for more information.

So, we're going to examine the definition of product governance and ideas to ensure compliance so that Boards and Chief Product Officers can deliver two essential needs: the growth of the business and making sure this is done in a robust and compliant manner. 
Key points:
  • What will the future of product governance look like? A new trust-centred definition of product governance will enable organisations to improve how they design, distribute and monitor and review their product strategies.
  • In the day-to-day operations, three functions play the important role of ensuring that diversity of thought feeds into the  strategic lifecycle process:  product management and marketing and also legal and risk teams
  • Using a digital workspace with automated product lifecycle management and governance to reduce the time and cost of implementing a product governance model.  
Who should be involved in the day-to-day business?

Board or Governance meetings receive updates on important product strategy initiatives, but the endless reams of power point decks don’t make it easy.  And then,  updates on product growth strategy, risk management and legal  are all presented separately. Another meeting goes by, and once again, the alignment and transparency you need gets buried. 

So what we have is a clear and strong need for  a new framework for product lifecycle governance.  A trust-centred product framework that puts customer at centre of product lifecycle management. There are 4 important phases in product lifecycle management and governance:  the design phase, the distribution phase and then monitoring and review so you can continuously improve.  See the 4 phases and a short summary of them below:

Product governance leaders can make a significant contribution to the commercial success of the business.  This requires alignment and a shared effort across the business; one that pulls together a collective mindset from your key functional areas,  is  backed by real-time product insights, advanced data analytics and can be implemented quickly and efficiently.  In the day to day operations,  your Chief Product Officer, Chief Risk Officer and Chief Regulatory / Legal Officer each  play an important role.

Its important to involve the right people and collaborate with business stakeholders. We like to start with these clear accountability purpose statements to keep everyone aligned, agile and engaged on product lifecycle governance:

Chief Product Officer Legal Counsel

Compliance Teams

Accountable for product governance including design and monitoring and review each product - end to end - for organic growth, customer engagement and product trust.

Accountable to assign a product owner for each product strategy to ensure effective execution of product governance framework including product design and monitoring distribution obligations for all products.   This is a key role for oversight and implementation of product governance.

Review and sign-off of the product governance framework and TMD templates. 

Any changes to the TMD templates or more broadly the product governance framework require the review and sign-off.

Approval of TMD's for high value or risky products.   

Accountable to evaluate the current and future regulatory & legal obligations that apply to  products including quality, social, environmental and governance obligations.      

Accountable to sign off that product governance framework and Target Market Determination meet internal policies and ensure they cover  non-financial and operational risk into the company risk management framework. 

Review and sign-off of any changes to TMD templates or product governance framework.

Participate in Product Governance and Risk Forum ideally monthly meetings.

An introduction to product governance concepts

A trust-centred product framework puts customers at centre of product lifecycle management and helps to proactively mitigate product related (non-financial) compliance risk.  A framework is a great way to make sense and communicate your product governance. Use the framework below to highlight important areas and develop a common understanding of product governance across your teams. The product governance framework covers the following stages including design, distribution, monitor/review and improvement:

The following diagram shows a pragmatic product governance framework that you can use to get started in your business:

Product Governance FrameworkYou can achieve  product success and compliance with these five principles:

  1. End-to-end life of product oversight from design, distribution, post-sales to sunsetting.
  2. Holistic review of product portfolios covering a 360 degree product view that covers  financial, non-financial and operational health indicators.
  3. Continuous monitoring and auditing of the underlying drivers of product performance and health to find opportunity and emerging risk.
  4. Product managers as the single point of responsibility for a product strategy with connections across the entire organisation to breakdown silos.
  5. Continuous improvement with point-in-time health-checks and risk mitigation plans to assist strategy correction when faced with disruption and business model pivots.

Getting Started

Taking the time to plan and implement a product governance framework sets you up for success.  Here are some steps we recommend you invest time in from day one.  We have broken the phases down into 3 steps that product teams can use to operationalise their product governance.  Most teams start with a focus on step 1 and 2 however best practice includes setting up consistent and ongoing monitoring.



Step: Plan a product governance framework for all life stages. 

Idea: The product governance process should sit across ALL products – both new and existing products. The phases of product governance are design phase, distribution phase and monitoring and review phase.

Step:  Monitor non-financial risk in new and existing products. 

Idea: Agile has a continuous improvement cycle for new product development and managing a product backlog. Complement that with two steps: 

1. Use a Product Design workspace to set your product design and Target Market Determination.  The TMD is emerging tool to specify your regulatory conditions for product design and distribution. 

2. After setting the TMD you are then ready to monitor the TMD and product.   This monitoring and review puts the customer at the centre by monitoring your target market determination (TMD).  A TMD is a concise document that describes your target market, distribution obligations and triggers that alert you that your product is not fit for purpose.

Step: Make customer trust a core metric of your product management team. 

Idea:  Add monitoring customer engagement and trust to your product management job description and result areas -   from design to distribution phases.  The monitoring and review customer outcomes is important including customer engagement, complaints, sales metrics, marketing campaigns and customer success metrics. 


Step: Communicating product health effectively throughout the organisation. 

Idea:  There is a trend towards shorter planning and review cycles strategy correction in 2021.  Product ‘domains and drivers’ are useful to review and assess product health in 90 day product planning.  Use a digital tool like Skyjed which includes an automated product governance scheduler.  You can schedule one off or recurring events to complete an initial review and ongoing product reviews.


Step: Ensure your product management professionals  complete 90-day product health-checks with your risk and regulatory teams. 

Idea:  Start your product team on the journey of annual product strategy plans and with setting a product governance calendar for review cycles.  Effective review cycles will help you be more strategic by conducting a  360 degree product audit and health-check reports with AI-based software like Skyjed.  Skyjed's platform enables product managers to easily monitor and review their products and streamline the workflow of product design, distribution and  monitoring and reporting.


The end result is an automated processes to make product lifecycle management more efficient.  It means faster and better strategic product decisions.   So if you would like to take a more in-depth look and ensure your organisation is refining your existing product management practices here are some of my recent articles on product governance and customer trust. - What is Product Trust?Product Governance Checklist and 12 Tips to Solve Product Governance for your new and existing products, and Product design and distribution obligations.

So if you want to finalise your framework and consider a tool to automate the important functions get in touch. Request a proposal here

 About Skyjed

Skyjed is product lifecycle and governance platform. Skyjed’s Ai-powered end-to-end product platform bring together every data point across the entire product portfolio into a single source of product truth.  Skyjed was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. For more information visit Skyjed