Scrum was created based on the legendary paper here titled “The New New Product Development Game”. Notice that the word “new” is repeated twice emphasizing the target is for NPD. In our fast turnaround market, an NPD should not last more than 6 months and I suggest to have break-even within maximum of 6 months from completing the development.A product should have a vision which is shared with management for what finally we hope to realize from embarking in its development. The vision does not only dictate product features but more than that it establishes management and communication practices. For example, if the vision is to sell the product as value-add on our client’s existing offerings to its users, then this would establish the need to create agreement with clients.
I digressed!! but a bit. Back to the purpose of this post. How to decide if the software development team does product development vs professional services? My answer is If we can’t begin investing in development unless we have client request, then, I suggest it’s professional services otherwise we have product development. This understanding came from observing various teams who produce software and all of them used Kanban or Scrum.
If the company strategy is to become professional services, it can have the following traits:
- Empowering PMO
- No product licensing agreement
- Increase the count of coordination and project management roles
- Invest in client software services
- Software development can become low profile function within client services
- Embark in extensive agreements with clients and vendors
- Product road map and release plan are non meaningful, and if they exist they are always bypassed by ad-hoc client requests.
If the company strategy is to become product development, it can have the following traits:
- Empowering technology, product management and software teams.
- Company have clear product licensing agreement and professional service policy.
- Coordination functions become secondary to facilitate client servicing.
- Product road map and release plan are powerful organizational tools.
- Ad-hoc requests are addressed under maintenance using appropriate approach (e.g. Kanban)
Product managers don’t have place in professional services companies, they can be replaced by implementation consultants.