The Secret Truth About Your Methodology and Processes

What are your goals?

A product organization has three overarching goals:

  • Deliver great value to our customers.
  • Do it quickly, efficiently, and with high quality.
  • Do it better over time.

A product organization that achieves those goals is much more likely to be successful.

Your methodology, your process, is a means to an end. It's not the end in itself. If it's not helping you deliver on your goals, then you need to change it. #prodmgmt Click To Tweet

Your methodology must be in service to your goals

What practices are likely to help us achieve those goals? Well, an agile approach to development is often good for this. What do I mean by “agile?” I mean:

  1. Focusing the team on the most important thing they can work on right now, and
  2. Making sure that thing gets finished (“Done Done”) before starting on the next thing.

(How do we decide on the most important thing, by the way? I’ve discussed that before, in “How To Prioritize” and other articles. I’m going to take this as given for this post.)

As a side effect of those two practices, you end up only predicting a short time into the future. This is good because prediction is impossible. But more importantly, the future changes on its way to us and we have to be able to respond to those changes.

And the final thing we need to do, which too often we forget about or just “let it happen,” is:

  1. Continue learning constantly.

Is your methodology helping you achieve your goals?

Our methodologies, our templates, our practices are all just means to an end. So, let’s come to an agreement on what our end goals are – like I did above – and only then talk about the best ways to achieve those goals.

What if you already have a process or a methodology? Well, you have to do the same thing. What are your real goals? Are your processes helping you achieve those goals, or are they hindering you on achieving those goals? If they’re not helping, you need to change them.

Your methodologies and processes are not sacred. If you treat them as sacred, but you’re not achieving your goals, you’re not going to be successful.

(I acknowledge that the opposite practice – changing your process every quarter – is not necessarily the right solution to this problem.)

Three things you can do today

  1. Be sure you articulate your goals as a product organization. (It’s likely they’ll be similar to what I listed above.)
  2. Assess your methodology and process, as it’s practiced. Is it helping you achieve those goals? Or is it hindering you?
  3. If your methodology or process is hindering you, what’s one change you can make immediately to align it better to your goals?

Is your methodology helping you achieve your product team goals?

Let me know in the comments how you really feel about your methodology – as it’s practiced in real life. I’m always amazed at the stories I hear!

If you like this post, please Like it, tweet it, share it! If you don’t like it, leave a comment and tell me why.

 

About the Author

Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

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