Sunday, June 30, 2013

The 2013 Study of Product Team Performance
by Ron Lichty

The 2013 Study of Product Team Performance is out! The results are not quite as across-the-board extraordinary as last year's study - that would have been hard to match - but it offers individual results that are every bit as eye-opening - and overall it's quite revealing.

What startled me in last year's study was that it named just five things that:
    ▪    if you don't do them, you have only a 2% chance of high level team performance
    ▪    if you do all of them, you have a 67% likelihood of high level team performance

I thought that was pretty remarkable. I blogged about the 2012 Study's five factors for success.

I also blogged about how the change 2012 survey respondents most wanted to make in their teams rang true in my experience - and how one team had achieved that challenging leap forward.

But I was struck by the fact that the 2012 Study's then-three authors had product and project and requirements backgrounds - but no developer viewpoint. When I pointed that out, they recruited me to be a fourth coauthor of this year's study.

We targeted this year's study to dig deeper into the factors that affect team performance and product profitability. We partnered with 13 professional associations and companies to recruit and survey almost 1500 members of product teams over 90 days at the beginning of this year. We provided the resulting data to statisticians.

The regression analysis the statisticians delivered deepened or expanded our understanding of four of the five factors of high-performing teams that emerged from last year's study (the fifth had been so strong it needed no clarification):
    ▪    An Aligned Strategy: the significance of the product team aligning with the company’s overall goals and objectives
    ▪    The Importance of Product Launch: successfully staffing and resourcing product launch activities
    ▪    Onboarding Processes: the surprising impact that emphasizing effective product team member onboarding has on the overall performance of the product team
    ▪    Executive Team Support: not only is unwavering executive team support linked with product team success, but so is close connection with the CEO or general manager.

A new factor emerged from the analysis:
    ▪    Product Manager Role Definition: the favorable impact that a well-defined product management role plays in product team success

The study also revealed four landmines: four statistically relevant factors that can undermine a team's ability to achieve high performance.

Remarkably, it also showed that members of teams using agile and lean and blends of waterfall with agile and lean, across the board, associate their methods with increased profits - but members of teams using waterfall believe that approach is costing them profits!

I'll blog about some of these factors (and at least one other intriguing result) in coming weeks, but you may want to read the 2013 Study of Product Team Performance white paper now (and the 2012 Study, as well, if you haven't already!).


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