Experienced Product people are a crucial link in the value delivery chain
Product is the most crucial role for any company in an Agile Transformation.
Leading with “why” and a client-centric outcome focus that drives business value is a central product competency, and what provides Agile teams the guidance and leadership they need to focus. This focus is further enhanced when using the Objective- and Key Results (OKR) goal-setting framework.
Unfortunately, managers will miss their OKRs due to these 3 misconceptions:
#1 Putting legacy IT tech managers in the Product role
Managers staffing leadership roles tend to tap their reliable performers.
But turning to people who may have delivered large-scale IT projects in the past doesn’t guarantee these same star performers will succeed in a product leadership capacity. IT system execution relies on reduction of variation and chance, reducing costs, and using pre-defined “Best Practices.” However, these same strengths of cost-reduction and “brute forcing” teams through a plan are ill-suited to the ambiguity faced in designing new client experiences.
Experienced product people shine in reducing risk in ambiguous situations.
#2 Ignoring the importance of client-centric Discovery
Traditional IT “get it done” types have succeeded based on executing to stakeholder requirements without question.
When the focus shifts to delivering completely new client experiences, leaders’ instincts have a poor track record delivering engaging client flows that deliver measurable business impact. The only way to reduce risk is through innovation making the most of the cross-functional (Product, UX, Tech) team engaging in Continuous Discovery.
Only through Discovery can poorly-understood work take shape and align with both client outcomes to deliver business impact.
#3 Thinking of data literacy as a separate specialty
Enterprise leadership has treated analytics as a sub-speciality.
But data literacy is a key product competency. Without being able to pull, synthesize, and understand the data, there’s no way to get strategic and plot a path to moving the necessary numbers. Instead of waiting on someone to get assigned to analyze the data, the product person needs to be able to self-serve necessary data and derive insights on demand.
And once they have that data, can they tell the story and chart a path?
Hire product experience first
Ultimately, it comes down to one thing: instead of putting proven managers in the product role, hire experienced product managers, give them the necessary support, and watch teams exceed expectations. drive innovation, and deliver their OKRs, creating a learning organization in the process.
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