Greg Geracie, Actuation Consulting, Take Charge Product Management

Ten Things that Differentiate Successful Product Development Initiatives from Failed Efforts

In Agile, Business Analysis, Lean, Product Management, Product Management Consulting, Product Management Facts, Product Management Toolkit, Product Management Toolkits, Product Management Training, Product Marketing, Product Owner, Product Teams, Project Management, Scrum, Take Charge Product Management, The Study of Product Team Performance by [email protected]Leave a Comment

Before we get to the top ten list a little bit of history is in order.

In January of this year Enterprise Agility and Actuation Consulting joined together to conduct a global survey of product team performance. The survey enjoyed the support of the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM), the International Project Management Association (IPMA), the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Chicagoland Chapter, Diversified Business Communications (publishers of the ProjectTimes and BusinessAnalystTimes), and Accept Software.

The study also had the support of a variety of other organizations; the Lambert Consulting Group (Lee Lambert and team), Orange County Product Managers, the Chicago Product Management Association, and PCamp Chicago.

Over 607 respondents completed the entire survey and we gleaned a tremendous amount of valuable information. Much of this information is available in the form of a white paper that will be made available to the general public on July 9th. Advance copies are currently available through two of the study’s sponsors; IPMA and AIPMM.

There was so much data that not all of it was incorporated into the twenty page white paper. So I’d like to share some of the findings in this blog post and future posts down the road.

One of the survey findings that did not make the white paper was based on the question “What characteristics do you believe differentiate your organization’s successful product development initiatives from those that have struggled or failed?” The following list of the responses is in descending order.

  1. Strong, committed product teams
  2. Executive buy-in and support
  3. Well defined requirements
  4. Client-centric approach
  5. Dedicated (product team) resources
  6. Strong project management
  7. Shared goals and objectives
  8. Strong planning and funding
  9. Compelling vision
  10. Focus

We’re believers that strong, committed product teams are critical to successful product development initiatives. In fact, the point respondents are making here is that commitment to the team has to be organic and cannot be imposed from the outside. Respondents saw this as the most important aspect of successful product development initiatives. Here’s what one respondent had to say “WHEN we’re successful, it’s because strong teams have gelled – and they support each other, for their own desire to achieve team results.”

The second point around executive buy-in and support is also very important. If the executive team buys-in and actively engages with the product team the odds are that the project will be more successful. In our experience, this breeds increased levels of trust and enables the team to get resources that might otherwise have been withheld.

Respondents also cite well-defined requirements as rounding out the top three factors. No surprise to anyone involved in product development projects. This is clearly a critical aspect of developing a successful product.

How does this list match up to your experience? Would these be your top three?

Let us know. We’d like to hear your opinion!

Source: The Study of Product Team Performance, 2012


Greg Geracie is a recognized thought leader in the field of product management and the President of Actuation Consulting, a global provider of product management consulting, training, 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. He is also an adjunct professor at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on high-tech and digital product management.

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