Successful software development needs Product management, not Project management
In real-world only thing that is constant is change. Also in real-world the success is never perfect but it is messy. Processes are imperfect & greedy human efforts to repeat one-time messy success to attract attention, fame, fans & funding.
Early days to adopt technology large initiatives were driven by project management approach using methodologies such as waterfall, V model etc. Agile & DevOps transformed project mindset to product mindset to aim to create business value for business & customers instead of unrealistic milestones that project management focused. Successful release without defects was focus than religious adherence to specification shared by clients typically found in project management. With product mindset, quality assurance & quality control focused on customer experience and business results.
"In a project mindset, the assumption is that work is predictable and repeatable enough that it can be broken down into a series of steps with milestones, each allocated to resources and tracked with a timeline and budget," said Mik Kersten, author of a book called project to product.
The project-centric approach is suitable for construction and data center builds, but it falls short in measuring the business value that software products must deliver to customers. It fails completely for software innovation, which is overly complex, dynamic and changing,"
Product centric approach teams create customer centric, stable business value and measure outcomes than activities.
Apple has applied both project and product approaches. Apple's iPhone innovation enabled it to grow into one of the largest companies in the world. But, Apple has been criticized of releasing a nearly copy paste of iPhone each year. According to critics, product quality for these phones has stagnated, as Apple finishes projects with little or no consideration on the product side. Because of this reliance on project-oriented thinking, the next innovation in mobile phone might not come from outside Apple loosing market dominance.
DevOps is designed to release software faster. DevOps adopters prioritize the product, while listening for disruptions in the market. If one take too long, the product it created might already be obsolete by the time the software is available to the consumer. With a product approach, the business stays adaptable. The product team constantly takes direct feedback from the target user and adopt.
Benefits of Product approach
Digital-first companies like Uber and Airbnb disrupt long-standing industries, recognizing the value of a product mindset. Adopting product mindset is key to survival so as to get rid of top-down, command-control approaches. A product mindset puts the focus on customer and business value, instead of proxy metrics and activities.
Product approach helps as follow
1. Flow - prioritize SYSTEM performance than individual segment.
2. Feedback - which organizations use to improve the product
3. Continuous learning - which encourages innovation, risk and experimentation
Organizations must concentrate on how software development affects the business and the customer. Business & Technology alignment is the key
Product mindset transform IT start producing like what business produces.
With product mindset, teams deliver secure, reliable and valuable software. To support the product, they build a long-term strategy, deliver incremental business value quickly and apply innovation and creativity. The product mindset directly tie work or investment to positive business outcomes. DevOps is natural to Product thinking.
The ability to reliably and quickly release incremental new features to customers allows the product-focused team to deliver value in short cycles, measure success, optimize and improve, then repeat.
The product mindset aligns the software delivery team toward several DevOps tasks
1. Customer collaboration
2. Continuous delivery
4. Elegant technical architecture
6 steps to acquire Product mindset
1. Clarity of role with detailing responsibilities, accountabilities & authority
2. Design for customer
3. Big picture thinking
4. Invest in continuous organizational change
5. Build right feature for today
6. Always fix the root cause
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