At Invillia, every Wednesday at noon, we stop for an hour to nourish ourselves with the tips, how-tos, good practices and trends selected by our specialists in Product, Agile, Back and Front, Mobile, Quality, Security and Data. A vital exchange of experiences for those who love the new. And essential for innovation to never stop. If technology is in the blood. We make sure to keep it circulating more and more_
IN THE VEIN_ Product Culture as a driver for continuous innovation and value delivery_
In today’s article, we share the main lessons learned from the very special edition on Product Culture, presented not by one but by four of our experts in the area ? Aluisio Vanzolin (moderator), Mateus Ignacio, Murilo Lima and Paulo Silva. An enriching panel with those who live on a daily basis the challenges of creating and evolving digital solutions that are revolutionizing their segments.
Innovation as a journey
When we talk about building software, the tendency is to manage initiatives with a beginning, middle and end. However, the effort devoted to a digital product should not be finite. Since it is linked to a value chain within the company and needs constant evolution and adaptation to the consumer’s reality. The Product Culture comes to change the perspective with which results are observed, prioritizing incremental innovation based on quick learning.
What is Product Culture after all?
Like any culture, Product Culture is an intrinsic knowledge that is in the professional himself. It’s something he breathes, it’s part of his daily life. He loves the product and cares about being better. So he studies, practices, talks about the subject, thinks about how to do it, tries to understand what the product is and how to deliver it. Always focusing on the user’s needs. It is for him that the product is developed. He needs to hear him regularly. Putting himself in his shoes. Product Culture involves everything, but mainly the will to live the product. There is the famous Peter Drucker’s quote “Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast” and that’s exactly it. It’s no use making a product strategy if you don’t have a Product Culture.
Before vs After
Remember how software was produced? Requirements were listed, including what would be good for a target audience (it could even be based on research, benchmarking, data), criteria were defined, time was spent developing, and then the product was launched, feedback was collected and we would know if it sells or not. What often went wrong.
“The advent of agile methodologies, lean development, design thinking, started to bring the idea that what it takes to make the best product is deliver it as quickly as possible to the user. To anticipate something super-rich that is his opinion. That’s when the need to generate iterations arose, to make a little available every x time to know where we’re going wrong, what we can improve, and where we’re getting it right and we can explore even more”, highlights Murilo.
Product Culture comes a lot from this thought, from understanding how to identify the user’s needs, discovering what he likes and dislikes, and adjusting, delivering an increasingly aligned product.
Product Culture is not new, but technology has leveraged it
Product Culture has been around since human beings started offering something to solve someone’s problem. Because that’s the basis of a product. Products are made by people for people. What we have experienced is that technology has provided many advances. In the past there was the pulled and pushed chain, products were built and pushed to the market. People bought them because they were on the shelf. Research existed, a process of understanding, but leaner. It wasn’t that simple. Today it is. The market itself began to demand change. And now we are in a chain called a pulled chain. It’s the market that pulls, dictates the rules. It’s another time. With technology, we have many more opportunities and channels to talk to the customer. Listening to him became easy and fast. And the Product Culture got stronger. To validate his opinion at all times and see if we are delivering the intended value and building the right solution.
Even to enter the desirable “blue ocean”. A process of innovating where we look for or create niches that are not served by any other company. Like many start-ups and game-changers do so well. This is only possible because technology enables it. It has opened up a wide range of research, to understand the customer, to conquer new markets. Technology has democratized what was previously only accessible to large corporations. And even when it’s not feasible to collect inputs from real customers before launch, we always have the personas. People who represent the same characteristics as potential users and who can provide valuable insights until the product is made available on a large scale.
Benefits are clear
The shorter the time between creating and testing, the greater the chances of success and the lower the costs. Operating costs, people costs, opportunity costs. Being able to improve at the right time and to not lose momentum. Testing both from a technical point of view and with the user, delivering something that he can give feedback, means gains across the board. Prototyping as much as possible, making MVP. Lean Inception can be a valuable help here. The important thing is to have a business vision, understand the timing, the product’s life cycle. Innovation and leadership depend on that. The competition is always there. Bringing an agile mentality, delivering fast, validating frequently, listening to the customer brings many benefits, not just financial.
Agility and Product Culture
There are a number of methodologies and tools to make product management more transparent. Some are focused on value, others on cost and they all have different moments to apply and help in some way to build the best product. Like Kanban. That allows to connect and embark the team in the context of agility, interacting, contributing and taking inputs end-to-end. The goal is that the various members are involved in a common purpose, feel excited and product owners, live the Product Culture.
Mateus points out that “Agility is the foundation. It is the people of agility who will build an environment for us to be able to deliver iteratively, to be able to share the sense of belonging, the sense of team. So there is no digital product without agility, just as there is no digital product without business, without technology, without user experience. It’s a mix of all of this.”
Leadership in Product Culture
The role of the PO is fundamental here. He has to share the product vision with the team, sell the idea of what is being built, what is the strategy, the objective, who is the end-user, the problem that is being solved. A vision can be a sentence placed on a Board to always remind people. That’s where, together, we want to go. A good product manager is responsible for the team commitment, getting them to work for that product, breathing that product in a calm way. That’s a leadership role. Influencing others without oppression.
“He needs to study a lot about people management, how to engage the team, get to know each person’s motivators. It uses the product vision, the leadership knowledge because he has a mission: to solve a customer’s pain. I usually say that a high-performance team is engaged to the point where it realizes what needs to be done without the manager asking for it. If the manager just gives orders, without sharing, without showing the value, the why, I believe he is not working well. You have to be concerned with the team, ensure that all members clearly understand the context, are on the same page”, concludes Paulo.
It is this Product Culture that represents the essence of Invillia, the genesis of its Global Growth Framework. The way we work daily to increase and accelerate in scale, performance and quality the creation and development of digital solutions_ Game-changers’ continuous innovation missions. With customer-focus, incremental delivery and ecosystem mindset. Combining Data, People and Action_