Top 15 Product Management Frameworks: A Detailed Guide(2021)


For companies whose primary job is to develop new products, whether tangible or intangible,  Product Management is essential. Every company has a different method of product management that suits its needs and requirements. It is important that the company’s product management methods lead to creating great products and ensuring customer satisfaction and overall profitability.

What is a Product Management Framework?

The aforementioned methods that help companies create great products are known as a product management framework. A Product Management Framework is a set of steps that a company follows during the product creation process to optimize the time it takes to develop a quality product. A Product Management Framework helps companies build on previous successful products and apply the same methods to create another potentially successful product.

This article will introduce you to 15 of the top frameworks that have traditionally been used by some of the largest companies that have ever existed. These frameworks consider several different factors, such as the number of employees, product management time, resources and access to them, etc. We will cover the following Product Management frameworks in the article.

Types of Product Management Frameworks and Methodologies 

  1. Storytelling 
  3. AARRR
  4. HEART
  5. 4 Quadrants Time Management
  6. 5 Whys
  7. Prioritization
  8. 4 Ps of Marketing
  9. 5 Cs of Pricing
  10. REAN
  11. AIDA(R)
  12. RFM
  13. 5 Forces
  14. DIGS
  15. 5 Es

1) Storytelling 

The Storytelling framework is the most basic; it is a standard method. Just as a story has a beginning, body, and end, you can divide this framework similarly. In the Storytelling framework, you first need to decide who the story is about – who is your target customer? Next, you need to pinpoint the need for the product and then search for alternatives that can act as a solution. Once you find a solution, you need to put it into practice. The end of the story is primarily the results you get from the activity and can be categorized as your result parameters, such as increased market share, better returns, etc.


The CIRCLES method is a comprehensive set of steps that aims to act as an exhaustive guide to how you must approach product management. These are the steps of this framework:

  • Comprehend the Situation: Understand the environment that leads to a requirement for the product.
  • Identify the Customer: Try to create a persona for your average customer.
  • Report the Need of the Customer: Make a list of the reasons why this customer might need the product.
  • Cut through prioritization: Provide an estimate of the position of your product in the market.
  • List Solutions: List the prospective solutions to the problem.
  • Evaluate the Tradeoffs: Every product will involve trade-offs; understand your priorities and design the product accordingly.
  • Summarize: Provide a summary of your design that includes all of the above points.


The AARRR is an Agile Product Management Framework that includes the following steps.

  • Acquisition: Make a plan for how you will acquire new customers.
  • Activation: How do the customers you acquire have a great initial experience?
  • Retention: Strategize how the users who use your product once will come back.
  • Revenue: Understand how you will make money from your customers.
  • Referral: Design the product in such a manner that your users also refer it to others.


The HEART product management framework was designed by members of the Google Research Team – Xin Fu, Hilary Hutchinson, and Kerry Rodden. The HEART framework is a matrix in which the rows are the steps, and the columns are parameters. The steps are: 

  • Happiness: This measures the attitude of the user.
  • Engagement: How many users use your product or interact with your brand every time?
  • Adoption: This measures the number of new users that you continue to gain. 
  • Retention: Among the users that you have gained, how many are coming back?
  • Task Success: Among the tasks assigned to the user, how many have been completed? 

The parameters are: 

  • Goals: These are the high-level goals that have been considered to make your brand or product. 
  • Signals: These are the user signals that indicate a positive or negative trajectory for your product.
  • Metrics: These are the official, quantitative metrics that you monitor to determine success.

5) 4 Quadrants of Time Management

This is an easy-to-implement framework that you can use for any product. You can divide your tasks into four parts as a quadrant where one axis indicates the time urgency – as urgent and not urgent -, and the other indicates the task importance – as important and not important. The four quadrants will be: 

  • Urgent tasks of high importance 
  • Urgent tasks of low importance
  • Not urgent tasks of high importance
  • Not urgent tasks of low importance

6) 5 Whys

Every product is created as a response to a problem or an issue. You can analyze and potentially solve all problems by asking the same question 5 times. Start by listing down the problem. Ask – why did this problem occur? If the answer you receive seems to have another underlying issue, ask again – why did this occur? In total, asking this question 5 times should be able to help you reach the main issue.

7) Prioritization

The Prioritization framework is not a single framework, but one designed by your product team based on your priorities. You can rate your content based on the parameters that matter to you, and prioritization enables you to consider one or more parameters. You can weigh parameters as per their relative importance, get a total score, create a graph of two parameters, or utilize the Kano model.

8) 4 Ps of Marketing

The 4 Ps of marketing allow you to conduct a comprehensive analysis for not just the product’s design but all the steps until its release. The 4 Ps of marketing are: 

  • Product: This is a complete summary of all the features of the product, from its need and its design to its branding.
  • Price: The price of the product is an important consideration for the customer, and hence it is analyzed separately. The list price, discounts, and depreciation overtime may be considered here.
  • Place: The supply chain of the product, such as where it will be stored, how it will be transported, and in which markets (where) it will be sold, is considered in this part.
  • Promotion: Public relations, online promotions, and offline campaigns are considered here.

9) 5 Cs of Pricing

The 5 Cs of product pricing allow you to determine the price your consumers would be willing to pay for your product or service. The 5 Cs are:

  • Cost: You must know how much the product costs you.
  • Compatibility: The pricing approach you take must be compatible with the overall pricing and sales objectives of the company.
  • Customer: The value the product delivers must correspond to its price.
  • Competitor: How much do other similar products in the market cost?
  • Channel: How much does the transportation and distribution channel inflate your cost?

10) REAN

The REAN framework is meant exclusively as a model for digital marketing. REAN stands for the following.

  • Reach the highest number of people you can.
  • Engage with the people you reach through campaigns, competitions, videos, etc.
  • Activate your consumer base and have them communicate with you.
  • Nurture the customers you have gained through regular communication.

11) AIDA(R)

The AIDA(R) model helps in marketing your product to the highest number of people possible. The following are the components of this model.

  • Awareness: The first step is to create awareness for your brand and what it stands for.
  • Interest: Through your marketing strategy, generate interest in your product and highlight its benefits to your consumers.
  • Desire: Once you determine their interest in your product, create a desire for your product by building an emotional connection with your target audience.
  • Action: Through a call to action, tell your prospective customers what they should do if they want to procure your product.
  • Retention: Once you have your customers locked in, offer them a great experience so that they return to your product. 

12) RFM

The RFM model is one that is particularly popular in the e-commerce industry. It is primarily based on the behavior of consumers when interacting with a brand. Consumers are segmented into three groups according to the recency, frequency, and margin of their transactions. The three questions asked are – how recently, how many, and how much. If the answer to all these questions is large enough, that translates into the ideal, profitable customer. 

13) 5 Forces

Porter’s 5 Forces model allows you to understand how competitive your product will be when it enters the market. Your strategy should be based on the impact of the following five market forces:

  • The Threat of a New Entry: How will the entry of a new, similar product impact your position in the market?
  • The Threat of Substitution: Can the consumer find an alternative product that does what your product does?
  • Supplier Power: To what extent does your supplier determine the cost and availability of your product?
  • Buyer Power: How easy is it for your buyers to bring about a change in the price of your product?
  • Competitive Rivalry: How robust and well-established are competitor products?

14) DIGS

DIGS is very similar to the Storytelling type of framework model and recommends the following four steps to develop a strategy:

  • Dramatise the issue
  • Indicate and outline the alternatives
  • Go through the solution you have come up with
  • Summarise the product you will offer

15) 5 Es

The 5 Es framework attempts to simulate the experience of the user while using your product. It attempts to understand the behaviour of the user and create a strategy that best matches that behaviour, enabling the user to do what is required in the easiest possible manner. The 5 Es are:

  • Entice: Understand the requirement of the customer. Analyze why the customer is coming to you.
  • Enter: How does the customer reach your product?
  • Engage: Understand how easy it is to use your product once the customer is there, and understand whether the steps to use your product are straightforward. 
  • Exit: How easy is it for the customer to accomplish the task that was required? What were the hindrances encountered?
  • Extend: Once the task is complete, how do you follow up with the customer?


Market leaders widely use the product management frameworks listed here to develop their products. Each framework can work well with one or more types of products. However, what is essential is a concrete plan to do well in the free market.

If you wish to learn more about Product Management, our 6-month online PG Certificate Program in Product Management with IIM Indore is the reflect option for you! Check it out today.


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