Jan. 30, 2023 | Product Management

The 6 differentiators of a product-minded organization

The 6 differentiators of a product-minded organization

IT organizations find themselves in a difficult position. High inflation, industry-wide layoffs, and fears of a recession are converging at a time when customer needs—and the ability to meet them there and provide real value—are constantly evolving.  

Investing in digital technologies and adopting an agile approach to combatting these challenges may have helped—but becoming a truly digital-led business is about much more than simply doing.  

To be digital requires a mindset shift across every facet of the organization to move faster, rely on data, and put the customer at the heart of every decision. At the core of this focus is a product mindset and operating model—one that focuses on building and shipping loveable products and experiences at high velocity. It assigns teams of experts on a problem, pointing them at value and letting them solve it in ways that are most relevant to the end-user and customer.  

Successful transformation to a product mindset means understanding its features—and getting buy-in from the entire organization. Consider these differentiators before making the shift:  

  1. Flexible goal setting: Develop a problem statement and then craft a high-level strategy without setting tight parameters. Learning is incentivized here, and constant iteration and improvement happens when flexibility is allowed.  
  2. Clear definitions from the start: When team members and leadership are referring to a product, are they talking about the same thing?  
  3. Autonomous governance: Decentralize your leadership and prioritize a way of working that empowers individuals to make product decisions as needed. The feeling of ownership and accountability helps with the buy-in process and can spur passion-driven contributions in the process.  
  4. Initiatives that tie back to business value: Connect projects to long-term business outcomes. This provides a North Star for every team member and avoids them getting stuck performing digital busywork—driving value is at the heart of every product management decision.  

  5. Smarter performance metrics: Focus on metrics tied to actionable considerations such as Net Promoter Score, app ratings and reviews, product usage trends, and duration of logins. KPIs are still critical, but feasibility, value generation, and desirability from a consumer perspective are at the heart of what’s most important.   

  6. Dynamic collaboration between individuals: Craft your teams to be multidisciplinary, cross-functional, and persistent—while also being flexible enough to realign their goals when key members change. Your organizational structure should be self-organizing, adaptable, and collaborative to help get a product out to market as quickly as possible, to gather insights from its reception, and iterate based on that feedback.  

Adopting a product mindset can be challenging. But it’s important to understand that your organization doesn’t need to change on the spot — or tackle everything all at once. If you’re spearheading the implementation of several new digital initiatives, you should step back and consider orienting one of those initiatives as a pilot first.  

Read more in my latest piece for CMSWire on what it takes for organizations to shift to a product mindset to help tackle changing consumer demands with speed, creativity and flexibility.  

The Conduit: A Product & Tech Blog

Sharing cutting edge ideas, stories, and solutions shaping design, engineering, product, and beyond. View more idea sparks here.

Kaumil Dalal

Kaumil is a senior partner in West Monroe’s product experience & engineering practice.

Action is everything. We deliver ideas. We move fast. We create for today, tomorrow, and beyond.

Want to get in on the action? Contact us.​