Product Management is Really Innovation Management #SVPCAMP

Product Management is Really Innovation Management

Tom Grant

Product managers own the bridge between the business and IT, improving the odds of successful innovation

What is innovation?
– Something new or new way of doing something
– Different
– Better
– Solution to a problem
– Makes doing task fun
– Innovating is using existing things in new way
– There is no right answer and is not clear

Innovation creates value
– Cloud
– IT to BT shift
– Device independence
– Agile/Lean
– Customer experience
– Social Media

Customers want solutions, not inventions
Customers want assurance the adoption will succeed, not hear about how impressive the technology is

Innovation is about mutual value
Challenge – who, what, why, when, how
Examples – We don’t understand our customers or what they value.
We have lots of ideas, but we don’t know how to choose among them.

Innovation is not just invention
FBI Case Study
2001 start project
2005 $100 million spent and nothing 
2006 $170 million and broken
2008 Still not live
2010 Still going

But invention is a key element of success
Moving to an Agile process
Team and stakeholders was not good
Requirement problem needs to be redefined

Even the best inventors don’t always innovate
Focus on invention, not adoption
HP Touchscreen
MS Kin phone 
Apple Cube
Google Wave

Academic studies of innovation also have gaps
Everett Rogers theory

Combining invention and adoption
The Innovation Process
Conceive -> Test -> Build -> Deliver -> Adopt -> Assess
Who owns this process from start to finish?
Most companies, it’s nobody

What is Product?
– Something people buy to meet a need
– Solution to a large problem
– Set of features/devices packaged as a solution
There isn’t a clear answer

This is a product, not a service
Wells Fargo is not too different from a SaaS vendor
Chevy Volt has 10 million lines of code, 100 electric controllers, with it’s own IP address
Services are trying to productize what they do and market each service

A simple definition of what product managers manage
A discrete piece of technology designed to make a valuable contribution to one or more large solutions.

Product define a quantum of value
– Compartmentalization
– Simplification
– Design
– Re-usability
– Maintenance
– Performance

Q: Have you seen a frankenstein project and have to make a leap to the next generation?
A: It is in the roadmap. It may not be something that could be easily maintained. 

What is product management’s role in innovation?
Conceive -> Test -> Build -> Deliver -> Adopt -> Assess (strategic job function)
PM’s have to do all of these things equally
– Responsible for the success of a product over the entire life cycle
– Manages product within the larger portfolio
– Collects, analyzes, and prioritizes requirements
– Translates between languages of engineers and business users
– Supports teams responsible for the delivery of the technology
– Rewarded based on adoption of technology

Product Managers shepherd products through innovation
Q: How are executives going to be managed?
A: It will take some risk in the organization. Many execs understand there are opportunities and can be open to it.

And that’s how top-notch PM’s see it
What is the minimum viable product? ->
Case validation -> Make an initial estimate of market potential
Product validation -> Use a particular vertical as a test case
Sales and support validation -> 
Scale-up validation 

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