Employee habit for business limitation

Listening to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldratt about how a product company can be successful, the answer was that the product should be able to remove a business limitation for the customer. For example, a Telco company may use a portal to provide premium services to its client which otherwise it can not.

The challenge is that the existing mode of operation of the client is designed so that the company can survive in the presence of this business limitation. Hence, if we created a product to remove this business limitation, the employees of the company are incapable to achieve the desired benefit. Because, those employees are accustomed to operate under the barrier of this business limitation. This mode of operation becomes a habit ingrained in the business practices of the company. Moreover, these habits could have been developed as company wide policies. The new product, though it does the job, has low return because employees cannot transcend their mode of operation to cope with what is required to achieve the benefits from the product.

The problem really is not with the customer’s employees, it is  with the product features.

The product features should include those features which enable the employees to transcend their regular mode of operation. Limiting product features to the aspects of functionality, technology and performance might lead to a product which removes the business barrier. However, this  product will fail in the implementation  because it neglected those features that allow the employees to  transcend to the new required mode of operation.

As we develop product vision or idea, we should follow the next steps:

  1. Identify and communicate the business limitation that this product will remove.
  2. Develop the product features related to functionality, technology and performance which will remove this business limitation.
  3. Understand the habits which are associated with the existence of this business limitation.
  4. Based on the previous step, identify those critical features which allow the customer’s employees to operate in a mode conducive to get the benefits of the features in step-2.
  5. Develop mock-ups and prototypes that ensure the combined features of steps 2 and 4are aligned well. Refine the features from steps 2 and 4 accordingly.
  6. Build the product iteratively with direct involvement of customer employees to evolve the features from steps 2 and 4.

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