Business Agility – the challenge of converting Projects to Products #noprojects and #whenprojects

Most large transformations struggle to figure out how to reorganize themselves. Existing technology-specific teams should likely be dismantled and reformed into cross-functional, customer/solution centric durable product teams. We talked about how one healthy behavior is to have a top-down lead strategy to identify the organization’s customer journey and big picture value stream, then identify the products that align under each stage of the value stream. We also discussed how there will absolutely be a long period of time where both waterfall or older style projects going in parallel to newly formed product teams. Part of the struggle is identifying when to still use a project construct due to budgeting or other constraints vs when to embrace the product-centric durable team approach.

Much of the challenge associated with the switch from projects to products is related to the financial strategies and budgeting constraints. A focus on portfolio management can help ease that transition. Using a centralized approval process for all new product and product ideas can help. Drawn above is a concept that can help encourage a culture of experimentation and avoid the big funding up front strategies that most organizations still use. Fund hypotheses instead for new ideas. Maybe even dedicate teams to exploring these prototypes to prove or disprove whether the project or product idea is viable and solves the customer related outcomes as intended. New product ideas need to be farmed out to available teams while big new product features make sense to be added to existing team backlogs (and whether new, big product feature ideas need to be approved or not before allowing teams to pursue is clearly a cultural thing).