What is Product Lifecycle

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If you are new to product management, product lifecycle or product lifecycle management, might sound tricky. 

It is also referred as PLM.

In this post, we are going to learn about product lifecycle. 

In short, product lifecycle is the life of the product

Cycle simply refers to the different phases. 

So if we were to combined earlier statements, product lifecycle refers to various phases through which every product goes though during its existance. 

To make it simpler, first understand human lifecycle. We all go through following phases;

  1. Birth 
  2. Childhood
  3. Teens
  4. Adulthood
  5. Old age
  6. Death

Out of these 6 phases, we can combine first 3 into introduction and development where we are first introduced to this world through Birth and then development.

Childhood + teens, when we go to school, college, learn skills and build our career. So this phase is development. 

After graduating from college, we build our career and we grow. We grow in terms of our impact, responsibilities etc. 

Old age simply refers to decline in physical and intellectual capacity but I don’t intend to disrespect old age, here I am simply using it metaphorically to show that we are not as active as we were in adulthood. 

Then off course, all human die, so death of the person. 

Now let’s map these with product lifecycle. 

  1. Birth and development
  2. Growth 
  3. Maturity
  4. Decline 
  5. Death or termination
product life cycle

Just to highlight, PLM or product life cycle is different than PDLC or product development life cycle. PDLC is like SDLC, if you are coming from software dev background and it refers to the development of product. 

PLM is the overall life of a product. 

So as mentioned earlier, product lifecycle starts from its birth or introduction in the market and continues till it is removed from market or you can say death of the product. 

For product managers, it is imperative to understand the product life cycle, especially in what particular stage their product is. 

Let me explain, if you are a product manager for a product which has just been launched, something like ChatGPT, you need to focus on customer acquistion. You will focus on marketing and GTM. 

But if you are product manager for a mature product, something like Google, you are more interested in keeping your product alive and avoid decline. 

And if your product is already in decline stage, question is should you invest in it to revive or let it die, like Google did with Google plus. After a while, they just terminated it.  

So it is very important for product managers to be aware of the stages through which their product is going through.

Product lifecycle Management

Introduction Phase

if you are preparing for a product manager interviews, you will definitely be asked about launching products. And you need to know product lifecycle in order to answer this question efficiently.

Because your answer should be aligned with the stage of the product. Introduction phase in product life cycle refer to initial launch stage.

For example, chatGPT was launched few months back. If you are its product manager, you need to think about GTM and product strategy etc. You need to focus on marketing, access etc. 

This is the phase when marketing and distribution needs to be handled very carefully. 

Growth Phase 

This is the second phase when product is growing. For example, Google came in early 2000 and it picked up pace around 2005. It is still recording annual growth but the next 10 years of 2005 to 2015 can be considered as growth phase. 

Tiktok is a good example of  product which is in growth phase. 

In this phase, you will see higher demand for the product. This is when company need to focus on engaging the users to retain them. And in this phase, competitors start noticing you. But still you will be able to witness growth if you have got the product market fit. 

Therefore it's important to focus on product market fit. 


This is the third stage in product lifecycle where product reaches its prime like Google or Facebook. They dominate the market. In this stage, product may face heat from increased competition or saturation in market. Growth will slow down or stagnate. In this stage, as a product manager you need to focus on differentiator. You need to come up with features to add edge to your products. 

In maturity stage, engaging your users or maintaining your position is the biggest challenge. 


This is the final stage when a product is in decline stage. For example, after launch of smartphones like iPhone, sales of blackberry started to fall. RIM kept trying, they also launched smartphones but couldn’t compete. 

More or less all products will go through this phase, even if they are very popular or dominant player in the market.

Decline is usually associated with major shift in technology or change in consumer behavior. 

Company or product manager, need to decide if they should continue with the product or not. In this stage if a product is beyond redemption, company decide to terminate the product. 

Google plus is a very good example of it. Google tried to make way in social space with Google plus, but after trying for few years with it, Google decided to sunset it. 

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About akhilendra

Hi, I’m Akhilendra and I write about Product management, Business Analysis, Data Science, IT & Web. Join me on Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin

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