Product Management efficiencies to drive Digital Transformation
I am currently reading the book “Slow down to Speed up” by Liz Bywater and understand the importance of leading, succeeding and thriving in the fast pacing 24/7 world of Product Management. Sharing my thoughts to help Product Managers on how you can drive business to achieve complete digital transformation around product development and innovation.
I have been in the software industry as a product manager for the last 15+ years. It’s interesting to see how Product Management and Product development is continuously evolving. Now with Cloud computing and SaaS being the main business drivers for software efficiencies, companies need to pay attention to the details around the digital transformation efforts around strategy, decision making and execution to stay innovative. Understanding the current gaps in their product development process and addressing them at the earliest is critical.
I will cover some of the areas that a Product Manager or a Product Owner can make a difference.
Digital Transformation mindset to explore business problems
Everyone is talking about digital transformation on how it is important for every organization. But there is a specific structure that every company needs to follow if they want to be successful. There are a few variables that each company needs to put in place since Product strategy is a continuous process.
- Executives and senior level management need a new mindset that is flexible and open to exploring a business strategy that is a continuous journey. The strategy will have to be based on various different factors that are continuously monitored and fine-tuned.
- Product Managers and Product owners will need to do the following to have help defining a strategy and get buy-in from the executives on a regular basis.
- Gain knowledge about the macro and micro trends in the industry around their business. Understand the pros, and cons and how that would have an effect on the business needs.
- Maintain a continuous and ongoing dialogue and transparency with the customers to understand their pain points, their business needs and the changes that drive their success.
- Monitor the competitive landscape to understand the gaps and the innovation practices.
- Build partnerships that would add value to the business and can help address gaps.
- Design thinking to define and understand the market problems and brainstorming various ideas driven by outcomes on how the market problems could be addressed.
- Drive continuous experimentation on each idea to gather data on the business outcomes.
Decision-Making to build the right things
Decision-making is both an art and science. There are various frameworks that are available to help Product managers and Product owners in the decision-making process https://blog.usejournal.com/top-11-frameworks-every-product-manager-should-know-aad46dd37b62.
Irrespective of the framework that a company adopts, a data-driven decision-making process makes the decisions error proof and provides insights and learning to innovate. Remember data gathering is a continuous process just like strategy. Data helps you to make better decisions that are low risk but high business value.
Here are a few ideas on how to gather data
- Continuous data gathering through experimentation on ideas. Helps to identify the right market fit and defining business outcomes. Thereby helps to add value to your customers.
- Continuous data gathering through customer engagement with your product to enhance customer experience.
- Continuous data gathering from customer interactions and feedback captured as the voice of the customer.
- Continuous data gathering from sales around win/loss analysis.
- Continuous data gathering from customer success on product issues and improvements.
- Continuous data gathering from marketing around product promotions.
- Continuous data gathering from finance around product pricing
Execution to build and launch things right
Once the decision is made to build an idea into a product, the path to execution starts. The steps that are involved to trigger execution is to break down the idea into smaller and lean set of requirements that can be launched and continuously gather data and insights to improve the building process more efficiently. This is a collaborative effort that a Product Owner drives with engineering. Agile is the popular methodology that is quite common across all companies these days when it comes to how software is built.
This would mean that you take time to do the following steps
- Planning: As a product owner, break down the idea into a smaller subset of requirements and define the acceptance criteria that fit into an agile sprint and add that into to the sprint backlog.
- Prioritization: Leverage the data that you have continuously gathered earlier to prioritize the backlog on what to build next sprint and launch.
- Build: As a product owner, work with engineering to make sure the implementation addresses the requirements, meets the acceptance criteria around functionality, performance baselines and data is captured around specific KPIs.
- Launch: As a product owner, work with marketing, sales, and support to get the market positioning and the sales and support enablement right.
- Analyze Data: As a product owner, analyze the data to gain insights after every launch, fine-tune the KPIs to improve the qualitative data that you capture in each build. Based on insights that you have gathered from the data, go back to Step 2 to re-prioritize the backlog
Execution now is a continuous journey where you rinse and repeat to innovate!
Product Management is a continuous journey of the product you manage. Hence you need to “Slow down to Speed up” to stay current and relevant in the digital transformation age.