7 Digital Transformation Traps: #6 Slow Delivery of Digital Products
Should product leaders care about digital transformation? You might feel like it’s not a priority since you and your team are literally building new technology every day.
And when you hear how hard it is to pull off digital transformation — McKinsey estimates that 70% of digital transformation efforts fail — you might really be tempted to put it off indefinitely.
But here’s why that could get you into trouble. The most recent Product Excellence Report revealed some of the main challenges product teams and leaders are facing:
- 57% of respondents are focused on driving innovation and delivering the right products
- 49% are focused on driving efficiencies across the product organization
- 48% of product leaders said identifying bottlenecks, clearing blockers, and helping teams ship faster were their top challenges
It turns out that most of these challenges can be addressed and solved by digital transformation.
We’ll be honest: avoiding digital transformation is not actually an option. Putting it off for too long means you risk losing your competitive edge, falling behind industry disruptors, and missing out on opportunities to grow and innovate. Plus, you’ll find it much harder to attract top talent. To put it bluntly, your choices are either to adapt or face the consequences of stagnation and irrelevance.
But there is a silver lining: You don’t have to face this transformation alone. Productboard has teamed up with Umbrage to combine our expertise in product management and digital transformation strategy to help you navigate the seven most common pitfalls organizations face on their digital transformation journey.
In this post, we’re looking at Trap #6: Slow Delivery of Digital Products.
Trap #6: Slow Delivery of Digital Products
Lengthy mobilization times, lack of consideration for buy/build options, and lack of the right talent can significantly delay the delivery of your digital products, particularly at scale, resulting in missed opportunities and increased costs.
We’ve found that many organizations underestimate the effort required to get a solid data foundation in place and don’t equally prioritize this with new product ideas. This causes problems since new ideas are also dependent on having a strong data foundation. When this happens, you may struggle to gain buy-in and confidence, impeding the overall progress of your digital transformation journey.
Be careful about confusing output with outcomes. Many product teams are constantly working but still failing to make an impact — the classic hamster wheel or feature factory. Alister Sneddon, Head of Product at CMC Invest, describes a common scenario, “The reason we became a feature factory was because we had no other metric of success than output. It was like the hotel star rating system. They’re not rated by how good they are, but instead by facility — having a pool and a gym to be 5-star. We had the must-haves to be a competitor, but we wanted to know: what really makes for an amazing product? What actually matters to our customers to solve their problems?”
To overcome these challenges, embrace agile methodologies and cross-functional digital product and portfolio development transformation teams to accelerate delivery. Start off by taking a look at your roadmap and identifying quick win products and features that can build trust and gain support from key leaders in the business. This approach ensures a well-rounded and impactful product development process.
If you incorporate clear product and portfolio strategies from the start and design right-sized DevOps plans, you’ll facilitate scalability and efficiency. Make sure you closely collaborate with your customers, stakeholders, users, and partners throughout the development process to integrate their needs, extract maximum value from the transformation, and increase buy-in and momentum. A purpose-built product management platform and good documentation can help capture your product teams’ knowledge and make it easier to manage over time as teams and personnel change. In some cases, partnering with digital product development firms can also help you accelerate development.
If you’re concerned you might be lacking the right talent, mindset, or process, digital product studios like Umbrage can help accelerate product development, build in-house capabilities, and define and co-create the right process to help you win at your digital transformation.
How to Get Started
Assess your current product development lifecycle and identify pain points in the delivery process. These pain points might relate to your people, process, and technology. Some of the steps you can expect to undergo include addressing resistance to change, attracting the right talent, reevaluating waterfall approaches, and leveraging appropriate tools. Creating a roadmap to prioritize and tackle these challenges in a strategic manner ensures you’ll have a more efficient and effective transformation.
Describing the impact of the transformation at CMC, Alister says, “Now we can say, ‘here’s a problem state, a view of which customer segments are asking for a solution, and how it fits into business objectives.’ All of a sudden, everyone has visibility into prioritization since we centralized everything in Productboard. It gets them more involved in discovery, iteration, research — autonomous squads that uncover customer needs and deliver.”
Remember: You need to define a clear strategy before organizing your people to move faster.
We’ve just scratched the surface here. If you want to avoid the other traps and set your organization up for success with your digital transformation, download our eBook for even more tips and tricks.