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Product Org Chart

  • 1.  Product Org Chart

    Posted 04-28-2021 14:26
    To all my fellow peers. I am currently working for a company (a public utility) who is standing up a product and marketing department for the first time in it's 75 years. I know, hard to believe. :)  The company currently has roles that support product development and management, marketing of all kinds and customer experience spread throughout the organization. They are also missing a number of critical roles. I am trying to think through the best way to organize staff for our success. I often find I am drawn to ideas by reviewing what others have done. Could I ask, if you are willing, to share your org charts with me? I would greatly appreciate it!

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    Heather Siebken
    Director, Product Development & Marketing
    OPPD
    Omaha NE
    hbsiebken@oppd.com
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  • 2.  RE: Product Org Chart

    Posted 04-29-2021 04:41
    Hi Heather,

    Our company has an unusual and complex structure so I won't share an org chart - it would be too painful to explain!  We have however implemented a Product Development process over the last five years that involves people from all parts of the business in the way that you describe.  It works well because we have project sponsors who are directly connected to the market and accountable for delivering the final sales and project team members who work with current and future products so they can carry the lessons from one to another.

    We call our process TITLE (Trelleborg Idea-to-Launch-Engine) and we have a portfolio of TITLE projects that run through a Stage/Gate process based on the work of Bob Cooper (http://www.bobcooper.ca/).  The key aspect to the success of TITLE is that our Gate decisions are made by a body consisting of the presidents of all the divisions that are required to commit resources to the projects (Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, Supply Chain).  A few lessons learned:

    • We needed a single TITLE portfolio for the whole organization.  We tried regional portfolios (based on sales in Americas, Europe & Asia-Pacific) but the projects still called on the same resources in R&D and manufacturing and so they found themselves in competition.
    • We needed to make clear to our Gate Review Committee that when they approve a project plan, they are also committing the resources from their division to that plan.
    • We have kept project manager as a distinct and separate role in each team.  It pays to avoid conflicts that arise when the PM is also a sponsor or a team member.  Some of our PMs are full-time professionals and others take this on in addition to their daily work.
    • Because our GRC are senior people, their attention span and availability are limited.  We convene the Gate Review Committee every 6 weeks for just two hours and address as many issues as possible outside the GRC.  They are used only for Gate decisions and major change requests.  AS TITLE portfolio manager, I seek to resolve smaller issues as they arise and convene ad hoc GRC meetings with a limited group if required.
    Best of luck with your implementation - it's very rewarding when it all comes together and you start launching new products out of your pipeline.

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    Colin Macqueen
    Director, Strategic Initiatives
    Trelleborg Sealing Solutions
    Tewkesbury, UK
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  • 3.  RE: Product Org Chart

    Posted 05-02-2021 18:15
    Heather, If you're just gearing up to develop products, I have an approach that you should consider.  I don't exactly have an org chart, but the roles are well enough defined that you could build one quickly based on this approach.  The Rapid Learning Cycles involves clearly defined roles.  RLC's help accelerate hardware product innovation by focusing teams on learning and key decisions,  rather than the typical stage-gate focus on predicting and schedule tracking.  there's a little more information on my web site, www.silverstreakpartners.com .

    Hope this is some help!

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    John Farnbach
    Principal
    Silver Streak Partners LLC
    Boulder CO
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  • 4.  RE: Product Org Chart

    Posted 05-03-2021 06:47
    Hello Heather:
    I've seen organizations successfully grow through new product introductions with many different organization structures.  It starts, however, by looking at product development as a system with several layers including how the firm is organized, how they identify opportunities, how they select which ones to pursue, how they pursue them, and how they get the products to market.
    Most companies develop some sort of matrix organization to support product development.  The day to day operations of the company are typically well suited to some sort of line or functional organizational structure.  Product development is different - it is inherently a cross-functional process.  Hence the matrix to cut across organizational boundaries.  The matrix usually has one axis of the line organization.  It has another axis of the product lines with individual projects a subdivision.  Some companies have a third axis when individual product lines can serve multiple substantially different market segments.
    There are many frameworks (at different flying heights) for executing individual projects and Stage-Gate is a very commonly used high level model for project governance, as Colin mentioned.  There are many methodologies for the detailed execution of projects and the Rapid Learning Cycle model mentioned by John can be very effective for some portions of the Stage-Gate model.

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    Brian Cohn
    Product Development Consultant
    Aspire Innovation
    Lakeville MN
    cohnbd@gmail.com
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  • 5.  RE: Product Org Chart

    Posted 05-03-2021 12:55
      |   view attached
    Hi Heather, I definitely understand what you are going through.  We recently went through a similar process at my company.  We are using the BCG format for role mandates. We started by creating 6 role mandates that cover all of the roles in the product management job family.  Within each role mandate we indicate individual accountabilities and those that are shared with other stakeholders.    This helped up have conversations with all of our stakeholders and build out a RACI chart.  It also includes key metrics and decision authorities.  Now when you look at a product org in a business unit you can easily see the roles and we know quickly where we need to hire.

    We went through the org and put everyone into the correct role mandate and then leveled them and started to see the gaps in people and knowledge/skills to be effective in the role...  Now we are providing training for each role and level.  I would be happy to share with you the process and the tools.

    Rob

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    Robert Goldberg
    Vice President ICS Product Management
    Broadridge Financial Solutions
    Edgewood NY
    631-257-4533
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