What is an “integrated product team” and should you care?
If you have ever been exposed to complex projects, chances are that you have come across the term – Integrated Product team (IPT) in one form or the other. There are several definitions of Integrated Product team on the web. However, in layman terms, an Integrated Product team boils down to a team of empowered individuals from different disciplines directly impacting the product/project.
The key words for an IPT are – empowered and multi-disciplinary.
- Multi-disciplinary: For a complex project, there are several teams that are involved. For example – marketing, legal, development/engineering, quality control, product management. For any project to succeed, it’s imperative that all these departments are represented in the crucial stages of the project and there’s collaboration and transparency among all the key stakeholders.
- Empowerment: The representatives of the respective departments have to be empowered enough to be able to take critical decisions on their department’s behalf as well as for the overall project mandate.
When are Integrated Product Teams crucial?
While collaboration and transparency across disciplines is important for the success of any project, it’s absolutely critical for complex projects with a significant downstream impact. A quick search of IPTs will show how frequently they are associated with defense (DoD) projects.
Integrated Product Team structure:
IPT formation is dependent on the specific mandate of the project. For example – a project to manage a building project may involve stakeholders like Marketing personnel, Product Managers, Project Managers and Design Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, Quality Engineers and Procurement. Each of these stakeholders may have prominent roles in different phases, but having them involved for the entirety of the project gives you a higher chance of success than the teams working in silos.
Can software help Integrated Product Teams?
It is abundantly clear that IPTs cannot function without collaboration and transparency. Given the varied nature of roles and even locations, it can often be challenging to achieve that in a true sense. That’s where a software can help. Especially a software that lets you collaborate in a way meaningful to the respective parties involved. An example of such a software is OneDesk. OneDesk is an across-the-board collaborative tool to manage your product management, project management, customer service and support needs. Its integrations with websites, product development tools like (JIRA, TFS), google, salesforce, twitter, email help you communicate to the right stakeholder in a most meaningful way.
In conclusion, while IPT might sound like yet another jargon along with lean development, agile etc. such processes increasingly stress the need for a collaboration across teams to build successful products/projects. Collaborative tools like OneDesk help you achieve this collaboration in an effective manner leading to cost savings through waste reduction, increased productivity and higher chances of success.
Photo Credit: “foosball table” / Quami77 / CC BY