Improving Product Team Execution

Product Team Effectiveness

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Something I find most valuable about the Global Study of Product Team Performance Survey is how it shines light on team needs. The two questions I review here are a case in point.

Question: Select the top three things you believe would improve the effectiveness of your product team. (Choose three.)

A change in product development methodology29.9%
Increased executive sponsorship24.8%
Highly skilled engineering staff40.2%
Additional testing/QA staff29.1%
Additional user experience staff33.5%
Additional project managers or scrum masters11.0%
Additional product managers or owners18.5%
Improved cross-department communication45.3%
Provide training34.6%
Tools or automation32.4%


What the Answers Reveal About Product Team Effectiveness

Two solutions stood out as having the potential to improve the product team’s effectiveness. These were: Improve cross-department communication (45.3%) and bring on highly skilled engineering staff (40.2%). Also receiving significant levels of response were:

  • Provide training (34.6%)
  • Bring on additional user experience staff (33.5%)
  • Embrace more tools and automation (32.4%)
  • Change product development methodology (29.9%)
  • Bring in additional testing/QA staff (29.1%).


Question: Which of the following methodologies best describes the way your organization develops products?

Blended (Some Waterfall, some Agile)31.9%
Don’t Know6.3%


A Closer Look at Responses

Organizations relying on the Agile/Scrum methodology for product development continued to rise dramatically, a trend line we have seen since 2012. Nearly half (48.0%) of organizations now rely on it. A Blended approach combining some Waterfall and some Agile practices came in a distant second at 31.9%. This is a great decrease from previous years’ responses. But falling off even faster is Waterfall at 8.7%. Waterfall is 25% below the response it received just two years ago.  It is 36% below last year’s tally. Kanban, at 4.3% continues to rise in use, but remains small overall. It is interesting that 6.3% if respondents were not sure what methodology was used in their organization.

Looking Ahead

In my post next week I’ll share further results for the latest Global Study Product Team Performance Survey. We’ll continue considering what these results tell us about the state of product management and development today.


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