Product School

What is Product Lifecycle in Product Management?

The Product Lifecycle describes the five stages a product goes through from conception to retirement. In Product Management, understanding and effectively managing the Product Lifecycle is essential to the success and longevity of any product.

Understanding the Product Lifecycle Product Management

What is the Product Lifecycle?

The Product Lifecycle is a model that describes the stages a product goes through from conception to retirement. The concept was introduced by Raymond Vernon in 1966 and has since become a fundamental concept in Product Management.

The five stages of the Product Lifecycle vary but can broadly be summarized as:

  • Development

  • Introduction

  • Growth

  • Maturity

  • Decline

How is the Product Lifecycle applied?

The different stages of the Product Lifecycle have unique characteristics, challenges, and opportunities. By recognizing which stage your product is in, you can tailor your strategy, goals, and tactics accordingly. 

Here’s what Product Managers should focus on at each stage:

  1. Development: Defining the problem and Jobs-To-Be-Done validating the solution, and conducting market research.

  2. Introduction: Creating awareness, building demand, and establishing early adopters. 

  3. Growth: Scaling your product, expanding your customer base, and building customer loyalty. 

  4. Maturity: Maintaining market share, optimizing profitability, and extending the product's life cycle. 

  5. Decline: Cost reduction, harvesting profits, or retiring the product.

Product Lifecycle glossary

Why does the Product Lifecycle exist?

The Product Lifecycle exists to help Product Managers understand the different stages that products typically go through, anticipate the challenges and opportunities of each stage, and effectively manage their products throughout. 

When to consider utilizing the Product Lifecycle?

The Product Lifecycle is a fundamental concept in Product Management that should be considered throughout a product's development and launch. However, it is especially critical when you're facing challenges such as declining sales, market saturation, or competition. At an earlier stage, the Product Lifecycle can be useful in identifying opportunities for new products, line extensions, or product improvements.

The Product Lifecycle in action

During the Maturity stage of our product’s lifecycle, we focused on optimizing our supply chain, reducing costs, and increasing profitability while maintaining our market share.

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