Why should digital transformation projects focus on product management?

22 September 2020

Over the last decade, we have encountered partners who recognized the urgency and value of digitalization of their business but turned this process into an abyss where time, investments, and efficiency of the company's business processes were lost. Instead of competitive advantage, businesses often got solutions that did not meet the company's demands. It could take years and hundreds of thousands of wasted dollars to eliminate the gaps.

Once a client has made a wrong choice and assessed its consequences, he prefers to use services that have been trusted for years, even if they do not meet his needs and do not provide opportunities for customization. In short, if it is possible to solve a problem in Excel, it is solved in Excel. If you need to store a massive amount of data, those document shelves are ideal. Outdated technologies, as well as herpes - once caught, it is very tough to get rid of it.

Of course, this is a very simple assessment. Meanwhile, the problem almost always does not hide in a client or dev team. Typically, it is two separate worlds. One is the business world, where rapid and practical solutions to business problems are crucial. The second is the world of technology, based on strict compliance with the customer's requirements and terms.

Software developers are a tool that knows HOW to implement a business solution. However, engineers may not realize WHAT to implement. In unclear requirements, blurred tasks, almost any software development company will start to TRY. Every iteration stretched out for hours; days; weeks will cost you a price. Are you ready to pay for the TRYOUTS to get what you need?

It makes sense when you don't know where your project is going. It's a suitable approach for startups and companies discovering new markets and intervening in a new business activity area. You can find the advantages of the currently popular Agile methodology on any publication pages, in a conversation with any developer and IT consultant. Of course, if you are willing to spend time on it. In case your business needs to ensure rapid growth through digital solutions tailored to your company, you need another partner: a high-end business analyst or product manager. 

A business analyst seemed to be a key player in large-scale projects. He is supposed to be the one who defines and forms precise requirements based on data and client’s input. He is aware that a business needs to communicate with software engineers through solutions, not business problems. In the meantime, he realizes that several hundred pages of the specification are not a document that the company management will appreciate. Such a necessary and extensive data sheet will not find a place in a busy schedule of a CEO or COO of the company. Management should have a brief opportunity to see with their own eyes how the business solution will operate and understand the benefits of its implementation.

High-end business analysts are almost absent in the employment market. The major companies, understanding the value of such personnel, have been growing such specialists for years and are not ready to let them go. The shortage of such professionals has become a worldwide challenge.

On the other hand, many software companies currently have a business analyst on board. The problem is that he is only part of the team. Typically, a business analyst does not make key decisions, and therefore his responsibility is diluted. Thus, there is no personal responsibility for the end product quality. However, what happens if a project fails?

Typically, the failure turns out to be the fault of the client. Implicit requirements are attributed to the client, even if the client described the solution vaguely because he had no idea what he really needed.

Several sources reveal each other: while decades ago, the main reason for the failure of most software projects was a weak technical implementation, today the main reason for the failure is untechnical, usually connected with unformulated requirements that are supposed to describe the task in detail.

The Product Manager can address this issue. The product manager makes not only product-related decisions but also bears full responsibility to the client. His primary task and responsibility are a solution that will bring significant business benefits in the long-term and find understanding and approval from the client right now.

In the course of large-scale projects, a third-party product owner with years of experience in running and implementing such projects comes to the fore. The product manager becomes a part of your business, thoroughly analyzes all processes, and offers the solution you really need. He assumes control over implementing the solution, compiles the exact requirements, and matches the appropriate methodology and technologies. He is also responsible for efficiency, performance, and compliance with the updated processes' expectations.

When setting challenging goals, you should always seek a reliable partner with years of experience and capabilities to provide software development and offer your business's most appropriate solution. This approach will reduce the time spent on numerous meetings to clarify the requirements, allow you to get rid of the responsibility to choose technologies and methodologies, the consequences of which you may not realize, and reduce the cost and time to implement even the most complex extensive project. The result should be a smooth development process without nasty surprises for a customer, with clearly defined commitments and constant supervision.

In the next post, we will show how we managed to obtain business processes through digital transformation by the example of one of our leading partners. Stay tuned and sign up for our social media.

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