Product Innovation – take the rubbish out

Product Innovation – take the rubbish out

Product Innovation is not that hard! So why is it that many companies take so long to bring innovative product changes to market, let alone new products to the market. Regularly I’ve been brought into a business and given 3 very simple and similar targets;

“save money, make money, and use less money to make money!”

So, how on earth does a product manager evolve the stock-list to sustain growth, and give sales a shoe-in every time, AND in competitive environments AND with a delivery team that hasn’t delivered any value for a long time? Just like moving into a new house, you want to make sure it’s clean and ready to build a home. The first thing is to sweep out the rubbish that’s been left behind. In Lean they call it “eliminate waste”. In Japan they call it “kaikaku” (radical waste). In iChing I rather like the reference to ‘KU’ – ‘work on what has been spoiled.

Which products are rubbish and need cleaning out?

1. Are they inline with the business vision & strategy? Often businesses try to do too much, or staff get great ideas that just aren’t market relevant.

2. Are they making money? Has the been business been holding onto it’s 1970 Sandman for a few die hards for far too long? If the classics aren’t make a decent share it’s time to stop selling. Test the initial response – little kerfuffle, close : lots of kerfuffle, best to investigate.

3. What are you really going to focus on??? First step is to work with the business on building the Product Roadmap – this is your home, so relax and be cosy with it. The best and most efficient way to create a streamlined and Innovative Product Roadmap is using the Scrum Agile Methodology process.

While Scrum Product Owners use the prioritised story creation method for creating a single Product Backlog; there needs to be the step prior to that single backlog to break down the entire catalogue into achievable product delivery streams. Sounds like program management? It is, if you have a sweeping array of ‘epic’ requirements to prioritise do a Product Release Map to identify what is essential and when. To generate Product Innovation the first step is to simply dust off the shelves and start to talk to the business leaders, the market, the customers and the staff to clean up shop. If you still need some inspiration check out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Innovation Review