Getting the right balance between technological innovation and business acumen is critical for successful product development.
I worked for a company that designed and manufactured niche cutting edge products for the video and film industries. The company was principally engineering led, therefore there was always the temptation to spend a significant amount of time and resources producing products and or product features that would improve the quality of the pictures that were processed by the nth degree i.e. ‘Technical Sense’. The upside of this would be the production of products that would set or raise the standards and be a real break through in the market place.
The downside would be a real challenge for the sales team who would be given the task to sell high value, niche products into a market that may not appreciate or be able to justify (based on ROI) the extra cost for the increase in quality. A phrase I often heard at exhibitions and attending sales calls as I carried out product demos was: “your competitor has a product that’s good enough for the job and is at a very competitive price”.
On the other hand the sales team would frequently request features to be added to existing products or sell something prematurely so that deals could be secured. Good ‘Business Sense’.
The role of Product Management was introduced with the aim of achieving a balance between ‘Business Sense’ and ‘Technical Sense’.
I sometimes see history repeating itself in my current role as a Product Manager for a publishing company. I sit close to the engineers/developers and at the same time work close to the business (the commercial teams that have the task of monetizing our online products). I sometimes get requests for products and/or features that may take a significant amount of time to produce but may not achieve a good ROI in the desired timeframe.
As I mentioned in a previous article we are currently implementing an agile development framework know as Scrum. Scrum aims to bring the business teams close to the development team. Bringing a level of transparency and enabling both the business and the technology teams to get a ‘hands-on-understanding’ of each others issues. Or put another way Scrum aims to make:
Business Sense + Technical Sense = a large ROI surely this is just plain Common Sense.
Has anyone experienced a noticeable increase in ROI as a result of