In the digital age, companies need to rapidly move from idea to market, meeting the needs of their customers as quickly as possible to maximise value opportunities. This requires mature capabilities across 6 core product management and software development areas. An example of what great looks like for each capability area is given below.
Product Strategy and Roadmap: Focus On Needs
A product strategy exists that is continually updated based upon competitive insights, customer feedback and actual usage data.
Customer needs are fully understood and continually researched to provide voice of the customer insights. The company communicates and collaborates with their customers rather than in a formal transactional relationship. They actively monitor competitors and remain vigilant over any competitive advantages they may be gaining. They seek to identify small but fast-growing organisations that might grow into competitors, particularly those with business models that might prove disruptive to their established business model. They keep abreast of changes and trends occurring in political, economic, social, technological and business environment to stay aware of the pressures that might, at some point, require a change in response and product direction.
A product roadmap is in place that is continually reviewed and updated to align with the latest product strategy. The strategy and roadmap are collaboratively produced with other business units e.g. marketing, operations etc. Metrics such as OKRs are in place to track product outcomes against objectives. A central view of all product changes, such as a product backlog, exists that is rapidly validated and prioritised to ensure it always aligns to business needs.
Approach: Rapid Delivery of Ideas
A product-centric, market-driven and data-driven approach is in place with a focus that balances delivering value for customers with operational requirements to avoid technical debt. A framework is in place that provides guidance rather than a mandated methodology typically embracing Agile practices that enable the release of new digital products and features early and often. This approach is iterative and incremental with short and continuous cycles from idea to market adopting a DevOps (or DevSecOps) culture that enables the delivery of better technology and digital solutions more quickly, delivering value within minutes or hours.
Systematic processes are ongoing to innovate products and services with a test and learn mindset, rapid prototyping and testing with customers. A well-defined product management function exists working with cross-functional teams across the business e.g. marketing, with optimised and repeatable practices that are distributed and self-organising. Teams and the investment budget required is connected directly to business goals. UX and UI are positioned as the layer between people and technology, working hand in hand to understand the needs of customers and partners and translate these into a customer experience that increases business growth.
Software is designed for failure, including security breaches, and tested for recovery. Code is continually integrated and deployed several times a day to iron out issues and ensure consistency. Testing is automated and covers functional and non-functional areas including security and load as unit and end-to-end tests.
Tools and Technologies: Enabling and Automating Software Development
Tools have been deployed to centralise the tracking and management of all activities. Software is appropriately instrumented during the development process to enable comprehensive operational management. Software languages are modern, mature and fit for purpose with the skills required to develop and maintain the software readily available globally at reasonable labour rates. Use of libraries and frameworks is managed automatically for dependencies, security issues and compliance to licencing terms. Teams are able to use their tools of choice for development, such as IDE, subject to lightweight internal rules. Tools for code integration, source code management, testing etc are standardised, decoupled and regularly reviewed to identify alternative solutions that bring well-defined business benefits.
Governance and Quality: Enforcing Standards
A variety of on-demand and scheduled reports are made available for consumption at all levels of the business (e.g. board packs, resource efficiency etc). Quality is baked into the end to end life cycle to mitigate the impact of findings issues further downstream. This includes practices such as DevSecOps (thinking about application and infrastructure security from the start), automation, makers/breakers testing, automated/regression/non-functional testing and static code analysis to provide governance of standards and quality and provide evidence of adherence to them.
Intellectual Property, Open Source and Licensing: Asset Protection
The company owns the intellectual property of all of its software and code, keeps of record of this and has appropriate legal and contractual processes in place to ensure this always remains the case. Open-source technologies are used where appropriate, with a well-defined and adopted process to ensure such technologies are reviewed continuously for licence and security changes and potential impact on the business.
At Momentum, we can help you to optimise your product management and software development capabilities. Contact us for a confidential conversation.