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Building products quickly to meet customer needs is more important than ever, especially as customer expectations continue to evolve. It’s not enough to simply focus on building things right, companies must focus more on building the right thing in the first place with a customer-centric product development process.
At its heart, product development is about discovering what customers really need, then bringing that valuable product to market. In an ideal world, products are developed incrementally and iteratively, with fast feedback loops to improve product quality and rapid experimentation to validate that the product is actually fulfilling customer needs.
However, many traditional product development processes and approaches have become so bureaucratic that what the customer values is no longer even a central factor in product development. And in turn, companies end up releasing products long past their relevancy, over-budget, or worse yet, products that simply don’t meet customer needs. Ouch.
Organizations need a better way to think about delivering value that embraces customer-centricity with iterative and incremental development cycles, fast and frequent customer feedback, and experimentation to keep product quality high. And it all starts with changing your mindset from project management toward product management.
Customer-centric product development
Leaders who successfully embrace a customer-centric product development process think differently about delivering value and we see these differences in five strategic organizational shifts:
- Organizing by
function and departmentproducts and value streams
Prioritize work that delivers the most value to customers by understanding how your company delivers value throughout the organization
short-term projectscapability for the long-term
Prioritize building enduring key capabilities by arming teams with budgets to maintain the continuous development of the product
- Competing for
Prioritize focusing on where value exists and how product teams might validate it throughout an experimental development process
- Governing for
Prioritize continual product evaluation and validation to gain insight into what’s working and enable increased agility in building the right thing
- Cultivating a culture of
Prioritize ensuring that your team has the information they need to do the best job possible, and is empowered to experiment and learn from mistakes
Dig deeper into these five shifts in your product development process and how you can implement them in your organization in our Moving from projects to products thought paper.