BBC Online - Adopting Product Management

Monday 25 October 2010, 11:51

Erik Huggers Erik Huggers Director of Future Media & Technology

Last week, the BBC Academy launched its Product Management Development Programme to give staff an overview of the discipline and the skills it entails. At the same time, the BBC Academy published a specially-commissioned report into the state of product management in 2010. I'm delighted that the BBC as a best practice leader is playing such an important part in the adoption of a discipline which is rapidly gaining prominence in the UK media industry.

Why do we need Product Management? In March of this year the BBC announced a new strategy - Putting Quality First. I have blogged previously about the significance of this for BBC Online. Putting Quality First recognised the importance of BBC Online within the BBC's overarching strategy, and proposed we focus on doing 'fewer things better'. BBC Online started life as a flat text-publishing medium via which static web pages were delivered, before the web began to mature and the offering grew. To help us to rationalise this, we'll be introducing modern management processes to bring it all together.

By 2012 it's estimated that around 90% of UK homes will have access to our services via the web so it's important that we get this right. Product management will enable us to think more strategically about developing our online presence, and deliver a better quality and more innovative service for audiences. The pursuit of quality will be supported by better ways of working together. The report published yesterday defines the product management role as 'a multi-disciplined person who operates at the intersection of technology, design and editorial and is able to bring all of these elements together' to deliver products whose lifecycle is managed. We'll no longer build websites which are published and which sit unattended and slowly degrade; products will be managed within a life cycle. This could mean gradual addition of new features, new content, new releases, but also includes the ultimate decommissioning of a product.

How will we make this change happen? The UK is currently behind the US in its adoption of the discipline, but the BBC is lucky to have a small but solid foundation to build on. Some recent hires of practiced, multi-discipline product management experts will help us lead the charge. On top of this, I'm proud that the BBC Academy is investing in professional development to prepare existing staff for cultural change, and more broadly, our contribution to the development of a new generation of world-class product managers and an important industry standard.

I've no doubt that product management will soon be embraced by many other European media companies. In the meantime, I'd urge you to take a look at the report published last week which provides a great insight into the state of product management in 2010 via various case studies and testimonials. It concludes that we've reached a tipping point where media companies are beginning to understand the value of a product-led approach, but also that there's a skills gap in the industry, something which we hope our training initiative will begin to address.

Erik Huggers is Director of BBC Future Media & Technology

You can read more about how the BBC spotlights the role of Product Manager in the media in the press release.


Jump to comments pagination

Comments 5 of 11


This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Celebrating BBC Partnerships in Bristol

Friday 22 October 2010, 12:45

Radio Blog - Sir Michael Lyons on new licence fee settlement

Monday 25 October 2010, 11:22

About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

Follow About the BBC on Twitter

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

External links about the BBC

Doctor Who, Andrew Scott and Sir Ian McKellen up for BBC Audio Drama Awards 2015 (Radio Times)
"Maxine Peake, Marcus Brigstocke and Toby Jones also scoop nominations for their work in audio drama"

Kay Benbow named acting director of BBC Children’s (Prolific North)
"CBeebies controller Kay Benbow is to become the acting director of BBC Children’s while the broadcaster searches for a permanent replacement for Joe Godwin."

Six reasons why Desert Island Discs is the perfect radio programme (Guardian)
"The BBC programme this week celebrated its 3,000th episode, so here’s to a great British institution"

Panorama’s ‘fake sheikh’ documentary watched by 2.5 million people (Guardian)
"compelling investigative journalism"

Bernard Cribbins honoured with JM Barrie award (The Stage)
“one of the greats of children’s television...a brilliant storyteller who has inspired millions of people”

Lancashire’s John Gillmore attempts world record (Radio Today)

BBC tackles MPs for Children in Need (Ariel)

BBC gets four gongs at Creative Diversity Network Awards (Ariel)

One Direction to become EastEnders stars (Yahoo news) 
"The chart-topping band will sing from the set of EastEnders for this year’s BBC Children In Need Appeal show."

Detectorists to return to BBC Four for second series (Digital Spy)
"I'm so pleased that we're going to be able to bring the Detectorists back - it was a perfect slice of BBC Four comedy"

'Winkle' becomes 3,000th Desert Island Discs castaway (Western Morning News)
"What is thrilling for me is to see this Radio 4 jewel of a programme take on new life in the digital world"

BBC Worldwide hires Jonathan Green as head of Store ahead of 2015 launch and iPlayer integration (The Drum)

BBC returns to FA Cup after six-year absence promising a great show (Guardian)

‘Dark’ Doctor Who storyline defended by BBC (Guardian)
"We were mindful of the themes explored in Dark Water and are confident that they are appropriate in the context of the heightened sci-fi world of the show"

Melvyn Bragg: Arts are more popular than football and must not be marginalised (Telegraph)
"The BBC is doing very well…but why don’t they do more?"

BBC One's The Missing tops Tuesday with 5.6 million (Digital Spy)

BBC now has more staff outside London than in the capital (Guardian)
“The saving we are making mean more of the licence fee than ever is going on producing the best quality shows,”

Hancock's Half Hour revived 60 years on (Ariel)

Green Party considering legal action against BBC after being left out of election debates (Independent)
"obviously we would wish to settle this by an amicable route and lines of communication are open with the broadcasters"

The 10 best quotes from the #100Women event (Cosmopolitan)

Panorama doc inspires lifesaver kit (Ariel)
"A Panorama programme has inspired the design of a piece of medical kit with the potential to save thousands of lives."

BBC plan special week of programmes dedicated to Gerry Anderson (Mirror)
"Radio legend to be celebrated with tribute shows and a live two-hour concert"

Strictly extends lead over X Factor (Guardian)
"BBC1 show widens gap over ITV talent competition to 2 million, despite return of Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini"

Last updated Wednesday 19 November 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

Who said bears can't fly? [CiN]
Interstellar Contact [Kermode Uncut]
A smartphone, a good story and a social media plan: #BBC [Academy]
My Pet and Me: Meet the Presenters [CBeebies Grown-Ups]
Christmas Special Line-Up Revealed [Strictly]

MatOf ThDay At 50: onic theme even has a banjo [TV]