If you are interested in product management, you would have heard of Lean and Agile methodologies. They are new when compared to the traditional method of Product Development and Management. The adoption of Lean and Agile methodologies (in different forms) is widespread, as they are necessary correctives to the current shortcomings of making products that suit the needs of the modern market.
So what are Lean and Agile methodologies? Below is a quick refresher.
Lean Product Development Process involves the following key elements:
Driving waste out of the product development process
Improving the way projects are executed
Visualizing the product development process
Agile Manifesto describes the following values:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
The core values and principles of both methodologies are meaningful, progressive and valid even today. However, organizations that have adopted either of the two corrective methods in their new product development process are unlikely to be completely satisfied with the results, as they deprecate innovation and result in inflexibility.
This has resulted in the finest product planning teams leveraging the best of both worlds to promote better practices in the product management function. It combines the flexibility of Agile in team work with the insights of Lean in customer development.
Ideal adoption of both methodologies in product management would deal with each fundamental principle as follows:
Risks – In the traditional method, risks would be tackled later in the process, as customer validation would take place in the end. However, in a project management framework that combines both Lean and Agile, risks are tackled upfront. Tackling of risks addresses questions like – Will people buy the product? Is the product easy to use? Do we have the resources to build the product? Does this product work for our business?
Collaboration – The best in the business ensure that their teams work side-by-side. With the product, design and engineering teams working alongside each other as part of the product management process, they can come up with feasible & innovative solutions that build a better product.
Solving problems – The focus in this dual adoption has shifted from the output, to solving customer problems. In the traditional method, each team’s job was to implement. This resulted in a lack of interest and motivation. With the shift in focus, this is tackled by having teams work together, in an empowered and dynamic environment, thus eliminating overlapping problems and constraints.
Motivation plays an important role in the attitudes of the team and individuals involved in the product management system. Adopting the best of Lean and Agile creates a strong and dynamic product management process with empowered teams that are fully invested in building a successful product.