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Product Team Performance Study - #6

  • 1.  Product Team Performance Study - #6

    Posted 06-11-2019 12:44

    Last week, I posted the top 6 traits of successful product teams from the lastest PDMA/Actuation Consulting annual Study of Product Team Performance.  As promised, here is the first installment expanding on those 6 items as published in the complete report:


    Product Teams that Believe Their Effectiveness Would Be Improved by the Use of Tools and Automation Are Likely to Be High-Performance Teams in Companies that Achieve Their Financial Goals and Objectives

    It is worth noting that just over 50% of survey respondents are members of technology development teams. This finding is particularly meaningful to technology development organizations.

    The sixth indicator of high performance is the desire for improved tools and increased automation. Organizations that have implemented effective team processes often seek out ways to further improve efficiency.

    This result points to the rapid uptake of DevOps and the Extreme Programming (XP) practices that underpin it, particularly: test automation of every kind starting from the practice of test-driven development; refactoring (and tools that automate refactoring); and continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment (and the automated build tools and application release tools that support these practices).

    The up-swell of enthusiasm for test-and-build automation has driven strong tool development and rapid tool advancement, with check-ins kicking off build scripts that not only compile binaries, but also generate documentation, tests, and statistics; kick off test automation; and generate and deploy distribution media, website pages, and program logic to servers.

    Additionally, on the operations side, tooling like continuous configuration automation enables the automated rollout of both physical and virtual infrastructure. With the result that teams with effective team processes find themselves incessantly looking with longing for the latest – and the latest is rapidly evolving.


    So what did I learn from this?  I learned that the data support what I've seen in my personal experiences.  Groups that I've worked with that embrace tools and automation are more successful.  In one instance, I joined a group to assist with the launch of a new platform.  They had been working on the new offering for more than two years and had not delivered it, even for internal testing.  Within 6 months of adopting simple new product development processes tracked and reported on by simple tools in Google Sheets, they went from no end in sight to a predictable launch date and a reproducible dev and testing cycle.

    How many of you out there don't have a clearly defined set of tools and processes?

    Ernie Harris
    Interesting Blazer
    Saint Petersburg FL

  • 2.  RE: Product Team Performance Study - #6

    Posted 06-11-2019 15:34
    Very interesting, Ernie, and when you hear it summarised like that, it makes intuitive sense. If you invest in the means by which you develop capability, the benefit is many-fold, as all subsequent activity benefits from that investment. The alternative is manually producing the effort each time. But sometimes it can be hard to gain support for that perspective under the pressure of immediate deadlines.

    Regarding processes, in my experience of introducing NPD processes in organisations that have none, what I see is a common understanding of the some unarticulated recognition of the need to put in place repeatable processes, however a reluctance sometimes to stick to the process when a new idea lands, especially if it belongs to the CEO! Overcoming this resistance to investing time in order to save time appears to be one of the keys to success, as the research is indicating.

    Brian Martin