What Do You Manage When You Are Managing a Product or Service? Outcomes.
Organizations are currently focused on the big three strategies: growth, innovation, and customer experience. Whether they are outlined in annual reports or the result of multiple surveys about what’s top of mind for executives, it’s just about guaranteed to roll up to those three areas. Organizations may break them down into unique initiatives that make sense for their industries, markets, and customers, but by and large, they are all focused on the same strategies.
While executives are outlining these strategies, they aren’t the ones actually planning or executing on them. Strategy is driven by application, product, and service managers who then create programs to plan and manage how to take an existing product to grow a market, innovate on a service, and create applications that improve customer experience. It often starts with products, applications, or services, which Planview has termed outcomes. [Patrick Tickle, recently posted a great blog about how outcomes are one of eight disruptive forces creating real challenges for organizations – read the blog now.]
Whether you call programs “strategic initiatives”, “programs”, or “large projects”, they are often planned and managed by leaders within your organization who can handle the complexity of executing something that is strategic and often spans the organization. Good program managers frequently handle the vision set by product, application, and service managers; they have the ability to break down barriers created by a siloed organization and manage the conflicting priorities that arise as this happens. Ineffective portfolio management results in failed growth, innovation, and improve customer experience strategies.
Why Outcomes Matter: Strategic PPM
We live in a more connected world. I’m not referring to just individual connectivity but rather the enterprise connectivity. The lines between products and applications are blurred. And if they aren’t, they are at least connected. Customer applications and products are connected to back-office systems, resulting in connected processes across what are traditionally considered separate functions. The more connected we become, the more we must break down traditional organizational silos to manage and deliver not just individual projects, programs, but portfolios.
This requires a more “outcome-focused” approach to planning and managing the applications, products, and services. These outcomes are used to not only run daily business operations but will need to be expanded and improved upon to strategically grow and stay competitive in the marketplace.
Outcome roadmaps are the key to driving strategy by creating programs that offer solutions for the organization to grow, innovate, and improve customer experience. Product, application, and service managers need to think strategically about their markets, customers, and processes to create plans accordingly.
The idea of starting with an outcome roadmap allows the key people in the organization to set a vision and start with the “What” – what needs to be done to drive strategy. Program managers can then work across the organization to break that down into the “How” – how it needs to be executed and involving the right people at the right time regardless of methodology or area of the organization.
That was a lot of ground to cover! I think you’ll agree: calling what you manage “outcomes” is not just a semantic change, but a shift to recognize the reality we are all operating in and what’s required to bring what we do to market.
In my next post, I’ll share how this plays out in the real world with an interesting customer use case that illustrates the power of outcome roadmaps.
Until then, please let me know your take: is your enterprise more connected? Are the lines between products and services blurring? How are you managing outcomes today? Share your real-world experiences by leaving a comment below!