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The term product planning is such a broad term with many different aspects that's why it is difficult to define. But your product plan is an outline or roadmap that provides the strategy/strategies that will guide your products, describes the market opportunity, profiles the target customers, specifies pricing, identifies the financial goals, indicates the key priorities for development and enhancement, among others. This means that each product you create must have a specific product plan outlines and how it should be created, launched, stocked, and so on.
Since your product plan is basically a roadmap that points you to the direction where your products should be, a thorough information gathering will help you find the right inputs and information to create a comprehensive plan. You can collect inputs from your target consumers, gain insights and collect information from your key internal and external stakeholders, look into your competitors, and study the cultural landscape and technological trends; doing so will help you build a strong foundation of relevant action plans that you should consider.
After you gather your information and inputs, you can proceed to string the information to create clear objectives. Although objectives can be established for the company as a whole, or the department you're working in, or the product you're involved with, it is important to have specific and attainable objectives especially if you're a startup. Through these objectives, you can dive into meaningful discussions about what projects or releases will help realize those goals.
You should make "outcomes over outputs" your mantra when you begin to create your product plan. Remember that the objectives you have set are only as good as the impact you create on your customers, business, and future. It is best to determine the outcomes to certain actions beforehand so that you can set and prioritize the right objectives. Plus, anticipating outcomes of certain actions will help you create contingency plans that will save you in the process.
After you have executed the strategies in your product plan, it is essential to gather and measure the actual outcomes of your actions. Doing so ensures that you can have updated and relevant inputs to continue the improvement of your plan. You may notice that the product planning has a cyclical nature, this is because you need to continue to adapt and improve in order to keep your products compete in the niche where you belong.
As you know the market frequently changes, this means that you need to continue to adapt to the changes if you want your product to thrive for a long period of time. The longer your product plan timeline spans, the more inaccurate, outdated, or simply irrelevant those plans become. A relative 36% of successful product professionals across various industries perform weekly updates to their plans to ensure that their team is functioning on an informed pace and that the strategic plan still makes sense in accordance with the newly gathered information.