silos

Products are often managed by disconnected and non-integrated silos. Once we identified this, we wanted to develop a way to bring siloed teams together through a user experience that reflects the simplicity, ease of use and social connectedness of consumer apps, the depth and integration of an enterprise suite.

5 gaps that we identified in the product development process:

1. The Innovation Team Problem
The innovation process includes gathering ideas for new products and features, analyzing them, running polls and turning them into requirements to present to the executives. The gap exists here because of the number people involved in generating and capturing ideas, numerous locations, having information spread out within a variety of tools such as notes, emails, spreadsheets and documents.

2. The Product Management Problem
Following the innovation and ideas stage, product managers need to translate and propose requirements for the next release, and find a way to still maintain ownership. As in the innovation team gap, product managers also need to go through their own idea and requirements gathering stage, vet them, analyze the results and create proposals based on those. The variety of tools used for each process is as varied and disconnected as in gap #1.

3. The Engineering Management Problem
Product engineers need to ensure they have all the necessary requirements to plan and assign tasks to their team members. They are also responsible to making sure that all issues, defects, and tickets are tracked. A typical process for the product engineer includes the technical review of requirements, task planning/assigning, gathering issues and putting them in an issue tracking tool, and delivering user stories. Typically, they will use a different tool for each stage – a requirements management and analysis appl, spreadsheets, and product management apps.

4. The Helpdesk Team Problem
Once the helpdesk team receives issues and tickets, they need to gather them into a help desk application, export them into spreadsheets and communicate priorities and status to engineering via email. They then need to import updated items into the issue tracker so that engineering can be aware of them. However, in order to clarify the issues and tickets, chains of emails between all departments must be maintained.

5. The Project Management Problem
Project managers often need to account for problems such as late projects and going over budget due to unforeseen issues and scope creep. Again, the challenge lies within having to use disconnected tools while reviewing requirements in the product management app, validating assignments by email, running forecasts in spreadsheets and finalizing reports.

silos

We want to know: What gaps have you identified in your organization, and how did you bridge them?

Related blog posts:
Managing Innovation: Now What?
Co-creators: Shaping product development

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