Executive Involvement with the Product Team – What is the Best Approach?
Earlier this year we surveyed a wide variety of global organizations to learn more about what differentiates high performance product teams from those that are less successful. We defined high performance, for the purposes of the study, as the ability to consistently deliver on all three aspects of a product development project – scope, schedule, and cost,
The study findings are detailed in a 21 page white paper that fully explores the factors that empower high performance product teams, as well as the landmines that undermine successful performance.
Our survey approach focuses on three principles. The first is to build on the findings from the prior year’s regression analysis and to flesh out key findings in ever greater levels of detail. The second is to have a core set of questions that remain the same year-over-year so that we can trend the data. Our third principle is to introduce new questions that uncover an aspect of product team performance that we did not delve into in the previous year’s study. For example, this year we added a question about which product development method product team members perceive as leading to the increased profitability of their product (ex. Agile, Waterfall, Blended Methods, etc.).
One of the questions we asked in this years survey was “Does your (product) team engage with a single executive stakeholder or more broadly with a wide variety of executives?” This question builds on one of our key findings the prior year’s study. Here is what this year’s respondents told us.
The reason we asked this question is that in the 2012 study we found that product teams that engaged more broadly with a team of executives, rather than a single executive stakeholder, were more likely to be high performing. No surprise as teams that have direct involvement with a wider swath of executives are more likely to have access to needed resources, an increased understanding of the company’s strategy and direction, and garner more trust with the wider executive team.
The good news in this year’s findings is that 53% of organizations are operating in a manner that bodes well for fostering a high performance product team. An additional 23% of respondents seem to indicate that they are also headed down this path but have not yet fully adopted the executive team approach. Finally, 21% of organizations engage with a single executive stakeholder which our data suggests increases the odds for lower levels of performance.
Our research clearly shows that product teams that have increased levels of engagement with the executive team (as opposed to a single executive stakeholder) are significantly more likely to attain higher levels of performance.
How does your product team stack up?
If you want to know which executive stakeholders product team members are most actively engaging with you can download a free copy of this year’s study here.
Greg Geracie is a recognized thought leader in the field of product management and the President of Actuation Consulting, a global provider of product management consulting, training, and advisory services to some of the world’s most well-known organizations. Greg is also the author of the global best seller Take Charge Product Management. He is also an adjunct professor at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on high-tech and digital product management.