Brainmates Product Training 2017 – Key Takeaways

By Posted on : 11 Apr 2017 0 Comments

Product Training Workshop – April 2017

Session 1: Addressing the challenges of product road mapping

What is a product road map? Common road map features include:

  • Time line
  • Prioritised activities
  • Milestones, marketing goals and a launch.

A road map is a tool for thinking and assisting with direction and this is often why a road map with no timelines can be difficult and is often not advised.

Why are road maps so challenging? Road maps can be challenging because:

  • They imply commitment
  • They are often out of date by the time we finish them
  • There are changes in what we say we will deliver and what we actually deliver

Stakeholders use road maps in different ways:

  • Sales want to sell future products
  • Technology want to plan for future investments
  • The Executive team want to see how a product will deliver with a strategic goal

As an example, the most light weight road map is the Kanban Road map. This is where you have a backlog of tasks and activities and you move them across the board as you do them.

Backlog → to do → doing → done → cancelled.

The objectives of a product road map are the MOST important aspects of a road map:

  1. Link strategic goals to tactical solutions
  2. Manage the prioritisation of activities and resources
  3. Act as a planning and communications tool

What are the steps to reach your goal?

  1. The path from strategy to execution should be clear. A → B As long as we reach the desired end state.
  2. Managing the prioritisation of activities and resources, i.e. What is crucial? Every road map activity should link to a specific target market benefit (Customer or Business). Ensuring a constant link is important to remember as it is important to remember who it is that you’re building for. Road map activity should demonstrate incremental progress to the strategic goals.
  3. A road map is a planning and communications tool. As we spend so much time on stakeholder management, this is key.

It is also important to share the road map vision and not just the details. Using different versions of the road map for internal and external stakeholders, whilst ensuring it communicates the vision, goals and plan. Remember to add value by focusing on the market and the problem before the features – What is your product solving – What is the gap?


When should you maintain the road map? 

A road map should be maintained regularly with the life cycle of product management, as marketing activities are performed, whenever business strategies are updated or changed, and should follow a product delivery process as product ideas move from phase to phase.


Session 2: The fundamental rules for today’s product management 

You need to be reinventing your product every 3.5 years in order to remain relevant, else your product will become extinct. The problem with this is that change is hard. But why is change hard?

Organisations often find it difficult to transform their:

  • Business Model
  • Products
  • Ways of thinking and working

They have no time to stop and train their teams, let alone evolve new working practices. A solution to this is a simple rule. What is a simple rule? A simple rule is a shortcut strategy that saves time and effort by focusing our attention and simplifying the way we process information.

Why do we need simple rules? The simple rule is the first step towards transforming a corporate mindset and behaviour.

6 Simple Rules to follow:

  1. Put customers first – putting customers first will make it easier to deliver business objectives.
  2. Problem before solution – a problem is a barrier that prevents the customer from achieving his or her goal. A solution has no value if you don’t have a problem and it is easy to over focus on the solution and forget the problem all together.
  3. Leave the building – you won’t find customer problems looking out the window. “Genchi Genbutsu” – A Japanese saying of “go and see for yourself”. Customer validation – ‘How can you test your assumptions quickly, cheaply and easily? Are you on the right track, or do you need to tweak your idea?’ It is always important to speak to customers.
  4. Tie deliverables to strategic intent – it is important to understand your organisation’s intent, objectives and vision. Communication is key, you should always be asking “why”.
  5. Do less more often – smaller goals are easier to achieve and provide faster feedback. Have a plan for productivity, and use agile thinking.
  6. Show & Tell – showing and telling is a good habit, as the feedback will help you move forward. Getting regular feedback enables better outcomes faster.

Recommended read: Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business

By Charles Duhigg.

Session 3: Innovation in today’s product climate 

Innovation is a change that unlocks value and is the creation of a viable new offering. It means solving existing problems in a new way, and to grow with purpose. Innovations need to be something that is significantly better, faster or cheaper than other solutions and help us to stay relevant in the market.

The aim is to:

  • Quickly and efficiently source refine and rank ideas
  • Simple repeatable process for assessing ideas
  • Rank the ideas that are the most attractive to the organisation
  • Decide what you want to explore further.

Many innovation programs fail to reach commercial success, often because they are not integrated into the existing product delivery process. They are overly focused on:

  • Creative new ideas and not enough delivery focus
  • Incremental improvement and insufficient attention to disruptive channels

The innovation challenge:

  • Innovation should not be a separate activity; product managers should be at the heart of innovation and given the resources to achieve goals and success.
  • Product management is the natural owner of innovation. It seeks to deliver value through product differentiation.
  • Product innovation is the engine room for the product success.

The purpose of the innovation phase is all about generating and ranking ideas, validating ideas in the external market place, and determining if the business should invest to develop the idea into a product.

Ways in which you can potentially innovate are:

  1. Creating outstanding features for existing products or develop brand new products;
  2. Revenue model – find new ways to price the product and to extract value from the customer
  3. Service delivery – find new ways to support the customer before, during and/or after the sales process;
  4. Customer engagement – find new ways to delight the customer throughout every transaction;
  5. Business process – find new ways to significantly improve the way the people in the company go about doing their work;
  6. Supplier relationships – find new ways to engage with suppliers or to engage with different types of suppliers;
  7. Channels to market – finding new ways to offer the product to the market.

Ideation is the enabler – it provides an open and creative process where a wide variety of possibilities can be explored. The ideation process:

Ideation trigger → Source ideas → Refine ideas → Rank ideas


For more information about Product Training & Workshops, contact Brainmates on 1800 272 466

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