A theme in product management refers to a core objective of a product, specifying how it delivers value to the end-user.
Establishing a clear theme empowers teams with the knowledge to increase a product’s appeal or selling-power to both stakeholders and prospective customers.
A theme may consist of multiple features or initiatives. For example, one theme may be to "maximize client engagement during the journey to a purchase", from which you would then plan in a set of features to achieve this overarching goal.
These features could be video demonstrations of the product, sales-focused copy, and live-chat functions for answering questions in real-time.
Instagram’s creators used themes to stay organized and focused in its early days. One theme was to be the world’s fastest photo-sharing app, and another was presenting users with the highest-quality images on their phones.
The team removed any elements that didn’t align with these themes and stayed true to its original goals. Embracing themes helped Instagram succeed and become one of the biggest social channels in the world.
Themes are crucial when you want to create a product with real value to users, addressing a major or minor pain point.
But you should also have a strategy in place for measuring the product’s progression and success, to identify any issues or delays that may prove disruptive down the line.