This is a question we have been asking ourselves for some time.
Actuation Consulting has been conducting a worldwide study of product teams for three years and respondents continually tell us that only a minority of product teams are performing at a high level. There are many factors that contribute to lower levels of performance and we have statistically analyzed them for years. So this year we incorporated the following question into our global survey.
“How Effective is Your Product Team in Identifying and Incorporating Industry Best Practices?”
As it turns out the answer is a bit shocking. Only 21.83% of respondents report that their organizations invest significant resources in keeping in tune with industry best practices and that their culture allows the product team to experiment with new ideas.
In other words, an overwhelming 78.17% of respondents are not committed to actively identifying ways to be more effective. This data illustrates that continuous improvement is not a central part of the majority of product teams’ DNA. Organizational resources, focus and culture all contribute to this startling finding.
Passive Monitoring to Completely Ignoring Best Practices
According to the responses, over half of the teams surveyed passively keep an eye on what is going on in their industry and occasionally introduce innovative new ideas into team activities. Nearly one quarter of those surveyed feel they are too busy managing their workload to devote any time to keeping up with new developments in their industry let alone incorporate new practices into their workflow.
Barely a fifth of respondents indicated their organizations actively monitor emerging best practices in their industries and encourage experimentation with new ideas. Just over 2% of respondents hold that best practices are too far afield from their day-to-day challenges and pay no attention to new ways of approaching challenges in their industry.
The Catch 22 Paradigm for Product Teams
Product team members have made it exceptionally clear that only a fifth of product teams aggressively seek continuous improvement and are allowed to do so with the support of their organization. It is no wonder then that the majority of product teams continue to operate at sub-optimal performance levels. In many ways this seems like a catch 22. Organizations that are not investing in their product teams improvement actively or passively will continue to wallow and wonder why their teams are struggling while those that empower their teams to take risks and continuously seek improvement will continue to thrive.
Where does your organization stand?
Greg Geracie is the President of Actuation Consulting, a global provider of product management training, consulting, and advisory services to some of the world’s most well-known organizations. Greg is also the author of the global best seller Take Charge Product Management©and the Editor-in-Chief of The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge© (ProdBOK).