Why You Should Be Building Product-Oriented Teams

Nov 27, 2019

Many factors contribute to the success of a firm. For instance, knowing what customers want is an important part of running a business. Different teams decide where to put their efforts and what actions to take based on customer demands. But what’s the real focus of those efforts and actions? It’s the product itself, of course!

Building on that, in this post, we’re going to discuss why you should be building product-oriented teams. Firstly, we’ll understand a product-oriented approach. Then, we’ll move on to why and how you can build product-oriented teams.

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Understanding the Product-Oriented Mindset

What do we, as humans tend, to run from the most? Well, it can vary. But if we were to point out something specific, “chaos” would be a viable answer. No one likes a mess. It’s a human tendency to crave order in life.

Imagine that you’re at a beach. To fight the chaos of the random sand grains, we try to build sandcastles to maintain order. But what we fail to realize is that the tide can wash it all away in a single sweep. Even though chaos reduces the castle back to randomness, we keep on building castles in the hopes of restoring confidence.

Now, let’s relate this to product development.

Applying the Product-Oriented Mindset to Current Business Scenarios

Let’s say someone presented a brilliant product idea. The team leaders and project managers make a plan and instruct the team to adhere to it. Then they keep monitoring every step before reaching the end goal. If everything goes well, they can celebrate and move on. But what if the competitive forces and unexpected customer requests change everything? Won’t it knock down the sandcastles before we even finish building them?

Now imagine if there was a better way to develop a product: one that could favor quick and consistent delivery with timely feedback. What if the burden of deadlines didn’t limit the potential of the development team? Instead of sticking to advanced planning, teams directed their energy toward managing the product. They could work in collaboration and eliminate silos. 

When the burden of deadlines isn’t overwhelming, team members can bring forth the most creative ideas, resulting in an innovative product. 

Perhaps you’re thinking such an approach might be disorganized. Well, not necessarily. But they need a product-oriented mindset to do this.

Before moving on to a product-oriented approach, let’s understand a product-oriented mindset first. A product-oriented mindset focuses on realizing a product with minimal effort. You don’t have to spend much time and money while following this mindset. It’s a set of behaviors that makes the realization of products plausible.

What Is a Product-Oriented Approach?

A product-oriented approach focuses on enhancing development abilities. At the same time, this approach maintains the highest possible quality. The approach is design-focused, and it means spending maximum efforts on maintaining product quality.

If you follow this approach, your customers will understand the difference between your company’s products and those of others. When they find something striking about the product, they’re more likely to make a purchase. And that’s exactly what you’ll be focusing on if you’re taking a product-oriented approach.

Why You Should Be Building Product-Oriented Teams

In current business scenarios, a product-oriented approach can offer several benefits. On that note, let’s take a look at why you should be building product-oriented teams.

1. You’ll Have a High-Quality Product

The first factor to consider in any business is the product’s quality. Usually, firms are so engrossed in marketing and boosting sales that they overlook the most important aspect of success. The product quality is what makes or breaks a business in the long haul.

When the focus of the entire team is on the product, its quality increases. On the other hand, if the teams are more worried about deadlines, all the focus goes into bringing things back on track in case of any issue. This can reduce the quality and distract the teams from the main target.

If your teams are product-oriented, all efforts and funding go into creating an impeccable product. If they focus on the product as a single pivot point, teams can work towards an end goal of enhancing the product quality as much as possible. When the quality is better, it will result in more purchases. And we know what that means. More sales equal more revenue and better business!

2. You’ll Have Better Flexibility

Having a product-oriented team makes tasks flexible. To understand this, let’s look at a contrast. In a project-oriented mindset, teams assume in the beginning that they know how to achieve the result. They make a plan, and if everything goes according to it, that’s all well and good. But what if the team discovers that something is wrong with the initial assumption? Moreover, what if the team realizes this at a later stage? In large firms, it’s difficult to pivot and make too many changes at the last moment.

Teams adapt and learn as the product development progresses. Milestones and deadlines don’t take precedence over the product when the teams are product-oriented. Instead of fretting over ruining a plan, teams can continue to work towards the outcome even if everything doesn’t go according to the plan.

3. You’ll Develop Economies of Scale and Efficient Outsourcing

Product-oriented teams help to develop economies of scale, meaning you’ve cut down production costs by developing a product in bulk. By following a product-oriented approach, you can focus on the product only, and you’re able to mass-produce the product. And the best part? The efficiency of tasks increases without compromising on the quality of the product!

When a firm decides to create the best product, it leads to efficient outsourcing. For instance, suppose you own an e-commerce company. You can send shopping cart designs to a vendor to mass-produce multiple online shopping cart components. Once delivered, you can also use those in your app.

Most companies thrive on mass production at a lower rate. A firm with product-oriented teams can collaborate with these companies and increase profits.

How Can I Build Product-Oriented Teams?

Now, we’ve realized the benefits of a product-oriented approach. So, how should firms go about with the implementation of this method? Let’s take a look at how to build product-oriented teams.

1. Eliminate Silos From Product and Design

In most companies, employees in different positions have specific roles. But to make a product-oriented team, a function-separated dynamic—a siloed organization—isn’t the best way to go. Everyone works together and is responsible for the product. In short, all teams and team members share ownership of the product.

As a result, the relationship between employees will improve. This will bring about better teamwork, and it will help development processes move at a faster pace.

2. Have Direct Interactions With Customers

Usually, firms have a separate team or a coordinator to interact with the customer. But when the developers talk directly to customers, it has a positive impact on product direction.

For instance, suppose you’re working on a page and have some doubts regarding a nav-bar. Instead of waiting for the coordinator, what if you talked to the client yourself? You’ll fix the issue in the same day.

3. Understand the Importance of Iterations

Suppose the designer creates a product outline. The developers are on for development. But what if the work done isn’t in line with what the customers want? This is where iterations come into the picture.

With every iteration, product-oriented teams modify the scope of a product. During this time, any team member can come up with creative alternatives. Iterations help the team learn new scenarios and figure out next steps.

If you want to know more about how dividing the work in iterations by following the agile and DevOps approach eases your work, check out Plutora’s post on it.

4. Celebrate Wins After Measuring Outcomes

Project management is about developing everything according to a plan. Often, teams start celebrating as soon as they deliver the product. On the other hand, a product-oriented team waits until they get the measured outcome and receives feedback from users. If these things show increased profits and met expectations, only then is it time to celebrate.

All in all, don’t focus on just releasing the product. Manage the product release efficiently. Making a quality product should be the main target of a product-oriented team.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Experimentation

To keep the quality bar high, you should encourage experimenting with new ideas to build a product-oriented team. Your team members might make mistakes. Remember, each mistake will teach a person a lesson. This might sound disruptive or inefficient at first. But when you provide the freedom to express and experiment, you widen the scope of development. This increases the chances of developing a quality product.

For instance, suppose you’re building a website using Bootstrap 4. What if your team wants to try out another CSS framework? If a sufficient timeline is available, let them experiment. Who knows? Once you deploy the product, the result might be great for the customer.

Make Revolutionary Ideas Come True With Product-Oriented Teams!

The constant evolution of the market calls for an efficient approach towards building products. This makes a product-oriented approach more efficient.

In the end, it all comes down to the idea you had in mind. Remember that your original idea gives rise to the product, not the project. It’s high time product owners stop favoring the project and the processes over the original product.

In fact, the efforts spent on a product itself is the strength of a business. Focusing on quality results in long term positive results. Thus, by working with a product-oriented team, a firm can increase its overall profits.

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