<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=443149619225659&ev=PageView&noscript=1"> Product as a Linchpin Part 1

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Product as a Linchpin Part 1

Product as a Linchpin Part 1

The Product Management role is the facilitating resource between customers and tech resources for the development of products. This role may lead cross functional teams to drive product strategy; support design driven options; or, be something in between. Often seen as a bridge that connects the beginning and end, product management can be more - much more. Regardless of how a Product Manager is utilized, this role is important for the on-time delivery of a quality good.

If supported, this role can be your tour guide on an exciting development journey, identifying ways to increase value; drive innovation; and, improve brand perception. As a Product Manager, I’ve had the opportunity to work on amazing projects with great customers over the years. I’ve learned a lot of methods to drive increased value to any project by not focusing on the work but how I assess the work.

Here’s the three questions I ask (myself and others) to help promote the product role as a linchpin: 

What does the future look like?

When working with a customer, I first ask about the current needs and the overall problem that we’re trying to solve. Then, I ask about the strategic next steps for the company. Of course the immediate/short-term goal is to identify a solution that solves the existing problem while driving efficiency. But, as people evolve and needs change, it’s important to not solely focus on short-term needs. After all, a product will surely die if it is short-sighted or only appeals to a specific population that is not growing.

Are we trying too hard?

Often times, we want to show up the best by pushing for a lot of work to be completed in a sprint and/or introducing complex solution intent into the backlog. Many take this path because it can be a big win if the team can deliver. But, if the team cannot follow thru, we risk negatively impacting product quality; misusing (what may already be limited) resources; create a negative customer experience; and, harm the brand and reputation of both you and your organization. The end goal of any product development project should be to deliver a great product that meets the needs of the end-user and elevates the customer’s brand. Keeping the end goal in mind is a way for me to consistently look for balance between innovation, quality and efficacy. It’s also important for me to remember that products, digital ones in particular, are consistently evolving. So, it’s okay to shoot for the stars, just not always right out of the gate.

Is this option a “Hell yeah!”?

When a feature or functionality is floated for inclusion into a development project, I assess the idea by considering what it takes to incorporate it into development. Specifically, I ask about the following: value proposition; opportunity costs; and, impact to customer brand. This assessment helps me get to a place where I can work with the stakeholder(s) and consistently arrive at an answer that’s in the best interest of the project and the company.  If my answer is not “Hell yeah! Let’s add this new idea to the scope of the project.” then my answer is “no”. This practice helps me to ensure that I’m engaging with and listening to the team but also being efficient with time.

In next week’s blog, I will bring these questions into context as I explore all three through a real-life example with a client. Ultimately, if product is the linchpin then the client is the vehicle that makes everything go.


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About the author

Tracy's digital career began in the finance industry for a top 10 bank where she held several roles leading corporate-wide efforts to implement new in-house technology across the organization's domestic retail footprint. She uses her professional experiences along with her Lean and Product Owner certifications to help efficiently implement high quality digital solutions. Known as a problem-solver, Tracy utilizes innovation efforts to drive change and shift culture. In her spare time, Tracy enjoys traveling to foreign countries and soaking up the culture. She also enjoys participating in wellness conferences. Tracy then utilizes learned wellness practices to ensure team balance in the fast-paced technology environment.
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