There are many benefits to having staff focus on a single product development effort, but there can also be some challenges. By educating managers and staff on the benefits of having staff focus on a single product, developing a clear plan for how to implement a focus on a single product, and gaining buy-in from all team members, organizations can overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of a more focused approach.
There are several reasons why staff should focus on a single product vs. being allocated to multiple product development efforts. First, it allows for a greater focus on the product, which can lead to a better outcome. Additionally, it can help to build team cohesion and morale, as team members are working together towards a common goal. Finally, it can help to save time and resources, as team members are not having to switch between multiple projects.
Some of the potential risks of not focusing on a single product include:
• Decreased product quality
• Projects taking longer to complete
• Inefficient use of resources
• Decreased team morale
• Increased likelihood of project failure
The biggest negative impact is likely to come from decreased product quality. When team members are spread thin across multiple projects, they are not able to give their full attention to any one project. This can lead to corners being cut and a decrease in the overall quality of the product.
“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” -Proverb
Some ways that a Product Owner can influence managers who don’t want their staff to focus on a single product are by:
• Explaining the benefits of focusing on a single product
• Sharing success stories of other organizations who have successfully implemented a focus on a single product
• Highlighting the potential risks of not focusing on a single product
• Working with managers to develop a plan that will allow staff to focus on a single product while still meeting other obligations
Some of the typical challenges in organizations trying to get people to focus on a single product development effort include:
• Lack of understanding of the benefits of focusing on a single product
• Resistance from managers who don’t want to give up control of their staff
• Lack of a clear plan for how to implement a focus on a single product
• Lack of buy-in from team members
These challenges can be overcome by:
• Educating managers and staff on the benefits of focusing on a single product
• Developing a clear plan for how to implement a focus on a single product
• Gaining buy-in from managers and team members
• Implementing a pilot program to test the feasibility of a focus on a single product
The steps needed to implement such a pilot program include:
1. Selecting a team to participate in the pilot program
2. Developing clear goals and objectives for the pilot program
3. Creating a plan for how the pilot program will be implemented
4. Executing the pilot program
5. Evaluating the results of the pilot program
Q: One of my managers is a control-freak and isn’t listening to reason. Is there anything else I can do to influence them to let their staff focus on a single product development effort?
A: If you have tried reasoning with your manager and they are still not receptive, you may need to take a more forceful approach. You could:
• Go over their head to their boss or to the CEO
• Share information to other stakeholders about the negative impacts of not focusing on a single product
• Threaten to give the product effort to someone else (effectively resign) if the manager doesn’t allow you to implement a focus on a single product
• Organize a staff “revolt” to demand a change (which only works if the staff see the value in the change)
Q: Which approach is most likely to actually work?
A: The most likely approach to actually work is going over your manager’s head to their boss or to the CEO. This will put pressure on your manager to change their stance, as they will not want to look bad to their superiors. However, it risks creating a bad relationship with the manager.
Q: How can the HR department help support managers to let their staff focus?
A: The HR department can help support managers to let their staff focus by:
• Educating managers on the benefits of focusing on a single product
• Developing clear guidelines for how to implement a focus on a single product
• Creating a plan for how the transition to a focus on a single product will be implemented
• Providing support to managers during the transition period
Overall, there are many benefits to having staff focus on a single product development effort. By taking the time to educate managers and staff on the benefits of this approach, and developing a clear plan for how to implement it, organizations can overcome the challenges and reap the rewards of a more focused approach.
If you want to learn how to win as a manager, sign up for our e-learning or our live, virtual, 3-hour training course. You’ll learn about the benefits of focusing on a single product, how to develop a clear plan for implementing a focus on a single product, and how to gain buy-in from all team members. Register now and start winning today!
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