Blog Product ManagementThe Only 15 Product Management Frameworks PMs Need

The Only 15 Product Management Frameworks PMs Need

Looking for product management frameworks to help you prioritize your roadmap? In this post, we've listed the 15 best frameworks that all PMs should know. Let's dive in!

Product Management
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15 product management frameworks for Product Managers.

Frameworks bring order to disorganized processes. And product management can definitely get disorganized sometimes.

As you’re probably well aware, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to product management.

Every team, every project, and every company is different. That’s why we’re outlining a bunch of different product management frameworks in this guide.

That way, you can pick and choose frameworks that best fit your situation. 👇


TL;DR - The 15 Product Management Frameworks

Product management frameworks:
1.
North Star Framework
2. Working Backwards
3. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
4. Storytelling
5. AARRR
6. Jobs To Be Done (JTBD)

Product prioritization frameworks:
7.
Feature Voting
8. Value vs Effort
9. RICE Score
10. MoSCoW
11. Kano Model

Innovation & ideation frameworks:
12.
Double Diamond
13. Customer Journey Mapping
14. Cirlces method
15. Scrum


What is a product management framework?

Product management frameworks are collections of guidelines and best practices. They give you an organized way to approach different challenges, tasks, and decisions in product management. Rather than relying on trial and error, you can rely on a framework… to an extent.

Since product management is so versatile, there aren’t any unified frameworks that cover all aspects of the job. Agile is probably the closest we have, but even Agile doesn’t have answers for things like prioritization. 

Instead, there are multiple frameworks that focus on different areas, like: 

  • Strategizing and planning
  • Prioritizing work
  • Ideating solutions

It’s best to have frameworks you can rely on for each of these areas.

How do product management frameworks benefit product teams?

The short answer is that product management frameworks help you stay organized. They remove some of the doubt PMs face by offering (relatively) clear answers to questions like:

  • What is the best decision to make here?
  • What should we do next?
  • What should we focus on?
  • How do we measure success?

…you get the idea.

The best frameworks input product data and output actionable steps that teams can follow to make informed decisions and move forward efficiently. Data points like customer feedback, KPIs and metrics, and market trends can all be incorporated into your decision-making process. 

Product management frameworks show you how.


15 product management frameworks for PMs

Product management frameworks

1. North Star Framework

North Star Framework illustration.

The North Star Framework isn’t technically a product management framework. It works for any business, whether it has a product or not. The idea is pretty simple: Find one metric (a North Star Metric, or NSM) that captures the entire essence of what you’re trying to achieve. Then, follow that metric relentlessly.

There are a few criteria for a North Star Metric:

  1. It is easy to understand and communicate
  2. It aligns with the company’s overall goals and vision
  3. It captures the core value that your product delivers to customers

For example, Slack uses “daily active users.”

Easy to understand? Yes. Aligns with overall goals and vision? Yup. Slack aims to be the go-to communication tool for teams. Captures core value? Absolutely. People get value from Slack when they open the app. So, the more people that open the app, the more people get value.

Useful for:

  • Aligning a company’s efforts towards a common goal.
  • Making sure teams are focusing on the right priorities.

2. Working Backwards

Amazons working backwards method.

Amazon’s “Working Backwards” framework starts with the solution—how do you want customers to experience your product? Then, you work backward to figure out the exact steps needed to achieve that experience.

Imagine you want to ship the world’s simplest calendar app. Using the working backward framework, the process would be: define the final product → identify features of the final product → create a roadmap → define a timeline → create a plan working backward from launch to development → execute.

Useful for

  • Keeping your work customer-focused and organized.

3. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

MVPs are a very common development strategy. You create a product with enough features to satisfy early adopters. Then you ship it, gather valuable early feedback quickly, and iterate to build a product that has wider appeal.

Featurebase's public feedback portal.
Featurebase's feedback collection portal.

A user feedback management tool like Featurebase is super helpful here. We make it easy for early adopters to give you feedback via widgets and a seamless feedback portal. We also help you to mine that feedback for insights with prioritization frameworks (more on those later).

Useful for:

  • Launching quickly with minimal upfront costs.
  • Building user-centric products.
  • Generating revenue as quickly as possible.

4. Storytelling

User storytelling illustration.

The Storytelling framework uses gripping stories to engage audiences. It makes your product the hero in a story where your ICP is struggling with some challenges, and your product comes to the rescue.

Useful for

  • Helping you connect emotionally with customer needs.
  • Getting your team invested in solutions.

5. AARRR

AARRR illustration.

The AARRR framework, also known as Pirate Metrics, has five key stages: 

  1. Acquisition 
  2. Activation 
  3. Retention 
  4. Referral
  5. Revenue 

Startups and marketing use it to track and optimize customer behavior. They do this throughout the customer lifecycle, then use the data to guide decisions and drive growth.

  • Useful for: AARRR helps focus on key stages of the customer journey. It helps optimize the funnel and drive growth.
  • Example: Dropbox uses AARRR well. They incentivize users to refer others by offering more storage space. This turns users into evangelists and expands their user base while lowering acquisition costs.

6. Jobs to Be Done (JTBD)

Jobs to be done illustration.

The Jobs to Be Done framework is a conceptual model. It focuses on understanding the specific needs and tasks that lead customers to pay for your product. 

For example, Intercom uses this framework to get specific about customer needs and desires. They focus on the "jobs" that customers need to complete—like answering customer questions or incorporating feedback. Then, they create features and marketing materials around them.

Useful for

  • Getting specific about customer needs. 
  • Understanding what motivates customers to take action.
  • Creating marketing assets that resonate.

Product prioritization frameworks

7. Feature Voting

Feature voting is a user engagement strategy. Users can vote on suggested features or improvements to make their voices heard. This one is a win-win because it also gives you valuable insights into what your users want.

Feature voting illustration.

Tools like Featurebase offer a quick, seamless way for users to request and vote on features. You even connect your customers' data with the feedback to sort ideas based on total upvoter revenue contribution:

Illustration of sorting feedback by uvpoter revenue contribution in Featurebase.
Sorting feature requests by upvoters' revenue contribution.

We also automatically update users when you start working on a feature or ship it.

Useful for

8. Value-Effort Matrix

Featurebase's value/effort prioritization matrix.
Value/Effort Prioritization Matrix (made with Featurebase)

A value/effort matrix is a prioritization framework where you plot feature ideas on a matrix defined by two important factors—how much effort it would take to implement and how much value it would bring to your users.

The quadrants are defined as:

  • Easy wins (low-effort, high-value)
  • Big bets (high-effort, high-value)
  • Incremental improvements (low-effort, low-value)
  • Avoid (high-effort, low-value)

Generally, you prioritize “easy wins” before moving onto “big bets” and “incremental improvements” (depending on what you have the capacity for). The "avoid" quadrant is a last resort.

In Featurebase, you can define effort and value for every feature idea that gets submitted. Then, you can automatically visualize your own value-effort matrix in the app and add work directly to your roadmap.

Useful for:

  • Quickly plotting the best course forward.
  • Avoiding time and money sinks.
  • Maximizing UX.

9. RICE Score

Rice score forumla

RICE is an acronym that stands for

  1. Reach
  2. Impact
  3. Confidence
  4. Effort

This framework has product owners quantify each factor on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest. Multiply the numbers for each factor to get a final RICE score, and prioritize tasks that score the highest. It’s a simple, fairly reliable way to prioritize work.

Value/effort prioritization in Featurebase.
Value/effort prioritization in Featurebase.

Product management tools like Featurebase makes this framework very simple by adding extra customer data to your effort and impact calculations. This gives you more data points for a better decision.

Useful for:

  • Systematizing your prioritization process.
  • Identifying quick wins with high impact.

10. MoSCoW

Moscow prioritization illustration

MoSCoW is also an acronym. This one stands for: 

  1. Must have
  2. Should have
  3. Could have
  4. Won’t have

To use this framework, all you need to do is sort features into one of these four buckets. Must-haves are your top priority, followed by should-haves. Could-haves are aspirational, and won’t-haves are not a priority.

For example, Atlassian has had a lot of success with this framework.

Useful for:

  • Focusing on key features.
  • Finding alignment on what’s important.

11. Kano Model

Kano model illustration

With the Kano Model, you categorize features into five categories:

  1. Basic Needs: These are baseline, must-haves (e.g., a screen on a smartphone).
  2. Performance Needs: These directly correlate with satisfaction (e.g., battery life).
  3. Excitement Needs: These are unessential crowd-pleasers (e.g., portrait mode).
  4. Indifferent Needs: These are features that don’t impact satisfaction (e.g., different color options).
  5. Reverse Features: These actually decrease satisfaction (e.g., bloatware apps).

Thinking in this way helps you be more strategic as you chase user satisfaction.

Useful for:

  • Chasing user satisfaction and prioritizing features.

Innovation & ideation frameworks

12. Double Diamond

Double Diamond framework.

The Double Diamond framework is a design thinking process model that guides teams through four phases that alternate from divergent to convergent thinking:

  1. Discover: Identify the problem or challenge, gather information and insights.
  2. Define: Reframe the problem or challenge in a human-centered way.
  3. Develop: Ideate and generate potential solutions.
  4. Deliver: Prototype, test, and implement the chosen solution.

It allows teams to explore and refine ideas.

Useful for

  • Organizing disorganized creative work.
  • Arriving at reliable solutions.

13. Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping illustration.

Customer journey mapping creates a visual story that captures an average user’s experience with your product. It involves stages (i.e., different mindsets of the user during usage), touchpoints (i.e., points of interaction between the user and the product), and emotions (i.e., how the user feels at each stage).

Creating this map gives you an easy way to identify pain points and areas for improvement in the user experience. 

Useful for

  • Fine-tuning your product, marketing, and support processes.
  • Building empathy for the user and understanding their needs.

14. CIRCLES Method

Circles method illiustration.

The CIRCLES Method is a problem-solving framework. It is meant to help product managers give thorough responses to design questions. 

They do this by following a process with seven steps:

  1. Clarify the situation
  2. Identify the customer
  3. Report the customer’s needs
  4. Cut through prioritization
  5. List solutions
  6. Evaluate tradeoffs and
  7. Summarize recommendations

Netflix actually uses this method. They use segmentation to divide customers into groups based on similar needs and behaviors. This method helps them understand the different needs of their diverse customer base and tailor their content and user experience accordingly.

This approach is a key to Netflix’s success. It helps them understand and address customer preferences.

Useful for:

  • Solving product design problems.
  • Making decisions on product features.
  • Understanding customer needs and behaviors.

15. Scrum

The scrum framework.

The Scrum framework is a practical application of Agile. It’s all about breaking down complex projects into smaller, manageable tasks that can be completed in short time frames called “sprints.” 

The process starts with a backlog. This is where you store all the tasks that need to be completed for the project. Before each sprint, each Scrum Team chooses an item from the backlog that they can realistically complete in the set time frame.

In the end, they have a functional, tested product component that’s ready to ship.

Useful for

  • Managing complex projects with lots of moving pieces.
  • Being realistic about product goals.
  • Keeping teams focused on what’s important.

Conclusion

The right framework can be the difference between order and chaos for PMs and product teams. 

Each of the frameworks discussed here has the potential to catalyze your product management process. But remember, these frameworks are not prescriptive rules—use them as powerful guides they are, and stay flexible enough to adapt when things change.

Ready to take your product to the next level?

Featurebase helps PMs and product teams collect, analyze, and action user feedback. With seamless feedback widgets, portals, changelogs, and road mapping tools, we help you make the best product decisions using real user data.

Start prioritizing your product backlog with Featurebase for free →