Capability Two – Stop firefighting & start strategizing
Effective product management teams are more likely to deliver product in the right time frame – they manage delay and change proactively.
The key to their success is about where they choose to focus. In three simple steps:
- They set a product delivery date that is realistic and visible (so everyone knows and accepts the target)
- They anticipate issues (no product has ever been delivered without issue!), and prioritize all deliverables ready for an issue to hit.
- When problems occur, they don’t try and find more people (it’s not their job) or hide from the facts. They de scope, delivering a product in the right time window with lower priority elements missing.
Teams that don’t perform so well tend to push the date out as they try and build product perfection, with the delivery date staying just out of reach. Their products are always “a couple of months from completion”
The key coaching issue to work through with this particular habit is building perfection; it sounds great but perfection takes too long!
Three coaching tips can help leaders:
- Keep product managers focused on the minimum viable product “what must we deliver to gain traction and remain credible in this market”.
- Push back on perfection – a product is a long way from perfect if it has every feature the market demanded, a superb look and feel, incredible usability, but is 18 months late to market and in the intervening period the competition has sewn the market up.
- Make product managers choose – “which of these two features really makes the difference”, “What really happens if we go to market without that feature”