Project to Product the move for every successful executive leader
Project to Product is a movement to help executive leaders to adapt from a traditional project-oriented company toward a product-centric company. Traditionally project-oriented companies are focused on delivery while product-centric companies are focused on business and customer impact.
ADAPT Methodology® is a unique Digital Product Development framework to change traditional project-centric companies toward product-led companies!
Society changed and leaders need support in the way how they lead and design their digital product organizations, that is the reason why the ADAPT Methodology® was created, but now let’s get a deep dive into the Project To Product Framework.
100 years ago, when the industrial era started, companies were built for manufacturing. They were optimized and built in a different way with a different purpose than we, today, build them. When you are building a manufacturing company, you want to optimize the company to produce as much as you can in the cheapest way you can, therefore you have a company that is optimized for cost reduction.
Today, in the digital era, you want to build different types of companies. You want to build a company that is optimized for speed. You want to put your product out into the market, receive feedback, and improve it, right? The paradigm shifted completely, instead of building a company for cost reduction, you are building a company for speed.
And that changed completely everything, we are in the digital era, but we still build companies using industrial principles, and that’s a problem. In other words, we are designing companies that are optimized for Project Delivery instead of Product Delivery! So the first step to creating successful Digital Product Companies is to adapt them from Project to Product.
In his book Project To Product “Mik Kersten” mentions:
Organizations can focus on building IT products that delight and engage users and deliver desired business outcomes rather than bog themselves down in traditional project-oriented success metrics.
With this statement, I believe there is a lot to be understood, the changes that companies must perform are not only related to IT products, from my point of view this lacks a complete overarching vision of what is required to build a digital product company.
You as a leader will not succeed if you think only about “IT Products” you need to think about your entire organisation as a Product company, which requires a complete change in the way how you build your entire company.
From my point of view, there are five major pillars, with five sub pillars in each pillar that you must have in your organisation in order to make the transformation from project to product, these pillars can be seen below.
The Approach pillar exists to solve one of the most important problems that leaders face: a complete approach end to end to create awareness and generate sales for their Digital Product!
The Data pillar exists to help leaders to organise and have a better understanding of customer habits and reactions to their digital products. In the Digital Era, a company cannot exist without taking into account a good strategy for how the data will be used.
The Agility Pillar exists to transform software development organisations into agile, flexible and fast digital operational companies, resulting in improved time-to-market
The Product pillar exists to Improve the odds of success by learning to design a winning product strategy, develop viable business models, and discover the right product for the right audience.
The Transform pillar exists to help you to restructure your organisation in order to create an organisation that is optimised for speed and product-centric. You will be able to change direction quickly, break the necessary hierarchies and create coalitions between executives and the operational layer.
7 MAJORS PROJECT TO PRODUCT DIFFERENCES
As you saw from the previous picture, there are 5 different pillars (with 5 sub pillars in each pillar) that you need to have in place to make your transformation from project to product company but below we will present 5 of the most impactful ones.
Organisational Design Around Functional Departments
Most of our organisations are based in Matrix organisations meaning that we have several departments and we need to bring people from different departments to produce something, typically you have a Software Development Department, User Experience Department, Product Management department, etc.
The matrix organisational design was a valid design for companies that wanted to create projects but in today’s world, you need to create teams around products and not departments.
So the question that I have for you: Is your company designed around departments or value streams? Are you ready to make the transformation from project to product?
Organisation Is Concerned With Deliveries Instead Of Impact
Traditional project organisations are concerned about deliveries instead of creating real impact, and please let me explain. If you think about the traditional triangle you have: on time, on budget with quality. The funny thing is that you can deliver something on time, on budget with quality and does not solve a customer problem leading to a complete failure but from the project delivery point of view was a complete success.
Instead of thinking about deliveries truly Digital Product Companies should think about business impact, this can be achieved by integrating Digital Product Discovery into your product development process and translating those needs into the form of OKRs using the OKR Framework.
So the question that I have for you is: Is your company concerned about delivering stuff or having a business impact? Are you ready to make the transformation from project to product?
Organisation Applies Traditional Budgeting Process
How many of you work in companies where once a year everyone spends weeks making stupid excel sheets trying to guess how much money they will need in the upcoming year? And how many of you found this exercise completely useless because after a couple of months everything is completely outdated?
Even worse, how many of you were trapped in political fights to see who would pay what because no one would like to spend money from his/her own budget?
The traditional budgeting process is completely useless and outdated, instead, you should move to lean budgeting where you sponsor your value streams every three allowing you to be much more flexible than the traditional budgeting process.
If you want to know more about lean budgeting check our article on the topic: of lean budgeting.
So the question that I have for you is: Is your company applying old complete outdated budgeting procedures? Are you ready to make the transformation from project to product?
Organisation Applies Agility Only On The Development Part
Thanks to Agile and DevOps companies have been able to develop the capability of continuously delivering quality software to production. However, the success rates of products and innovations are still depressing. The reason lies in how many companies still operate in a siloed and waterfall way regardless of how agile they say they are.
In order to have a true product company, you must break this line of thought and think about the product from the beginning by integrating the product discovery part into the development part.
So the question that I have for you is: Is your company applying an old project mindset for your product development? Are you ready to make the transformation from project to product?
Organisation Does Not Care With Product Discovery
This is a continuation of the previous topic, Modern product organizations must learn to integrate Digital Product Discovery and product delivery to build the right thing and to build it right.
Real business agility comes from enabling continuous discovery all the way down from strategy to operations: strategy, business model, goal setting, product roadmaps, digital product discovery and product delivery.
Digital Product Discovery is the learning process which connects a company’s strategy with product delivery.
So the question that I have for you is: Is your company integrating Product Discovery into your product development? Are you ready to make the transformation from project to product?
Organisation Is Re-Assigning People To Different Projects
It’s very common to see project-oriented companies re-assigning people over and over again, project-centric companies build an organisation where they have specialists with a high level of knowledge within a certain area, these specialists will be assigned based on the needs of the different projects.
Instead, you should build a company around products or value streams, inside of that product or value stream you will have the entire skillset required to deliver that product, these specialists are assigned to one of the value streams and always working on that value stream ending the need of re-assigning them over and over again.
So the question that I have for you is: Are you re-assigning your entire workforce over and over again? Are you ready to make the transformation from project to product?
IT Is The One Driving Your Product Development
For many years, the CTO/CIO/IT Director had the responsibility to drive the entire software development of the company, requirements were collected (usually) by the sales persons and were passed to the IT department.
The IT Department then were responsible to prioritise everything and saying what was possible or not to be implemented, most of the time without a big understanding of how their choices impacted the business.
In truly product companies, the product development is driven by the product people, usually, these are people that came from Sales or Marketing, persons that understand quite well what the market needs, this change forces the IT Department to become more of a business enabler than a business driver.
So the question that I have for you is: Who is driving your product development? Are you ready to make the transformation from project to product?
Did you like this article?
We enable leaders to become highly valued and recognized by adapting their project-centric company into a product-led company, society changed and leaders need support to adapt their companies to the digital era, that is the reason why the ADAPT Methodology® was created!
If you are interested in knowing if your company is a project-centric or a product-led company simply take our Project To Product Scorecard.
If you want to know how we can help you to start your transformation please check out our: Project To Product Training.
If you are interested in doing a transformation in your company please check out our: Project To Product Consulting.