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Just 3 Things: The Shift to Product Mindset Over Project Mindset

When it comes to driving digital transformation, the journey should have an emphasis on product mindset over project mindset. A product mindset is, first and foremost, value driven with a focus on outcome over output.

1. Why product over project mindset

One of the mistakes many leadership teams make when approaching transformation is treating it like a typical technology project. 

While both project and product may be designed to create value for both the business and its customer, there is a difference. While a project has a finite scope and impact, a product has a life beyond an arbitrary project milestone—greatly increasing the value it can deliver. For maximum value, the scope of a product engagement goes beyond siloed project approaches to include people, process, policy, workspace and technology. Connecting these disparate components drives widespread, repeatable business outcomes—from reducing organizational friction to improving customer experience and increasing flexibility to respond to the market at speed.  

2. Prioritize communication 

We’ve mentioned that transformation touches every area of the business, but many stakeholders aren’t aware of this until their involvement becomes urgently necessary. At this point, they often end up having to discard or delay their own carefully planned projects—causing wasted effort and resentment. 

The best way to avoid this is to start communicating what transformation means for everyone before you get started, focusing on three key areas:

• Time investment -- Make the earliest opportunity to be transparent about the effort stakeholders will need to make to support the transformation process. Engage them in practical conversations about how and when it will impact workload and business as usual (BAU) for their teams.  

• Financial investment -- The transformation process is not funded in the same way as other technology projects, which are typically covered by the IT budget. Every part of your business will have a transformation cost. Most importantly, transformation isn’t a one-and-done activity: You must plan for research, testing and continuous development once your initial MVP is in place.  

• Outcomes -- Communicate upfront what transformation means for the future success of your business. Paint the picture so everyone knows the end goal. 

3. Develop the right relationships

Transformation is a process you cannot undergo alone. In addition to strengthening internal relationships, every leadership team knows the importance of finding the right partner --someone with similar values to help build trust. Great collaborators and communicators, so you feel like you’re in this together. Bringing the skills and experience that you can rely on to get you to your objectives. But more than that, someone who will tell it like it is—and when things go wrong (because they will from time to time), someone who is there beside you to help get back on track.  

One thing many organizations struggle with is maintaining the difference between a partnership and a more transactional relationship. A partner will be fully invested in your success—but they also need open communication, flexibility, transparency, honesty and constructive feedback, too.  

Finally, ask yourself this question: Do you need one partner or many? The larger your organization, the harder it can be to find a single partner able to deliver everything you need from a strategic, product, creative and technology perspective. But managing multiple partners can be tricky and, in some cases, cause tensions that can jeopardise your success. To prevent this, you need to ensure there is no competition between partners, their roles and responsibilities are clear and that regular, transparent communication and collaborative working culture are encouraged and maintained.  

 

 

Bradley Gamage
Bradley Gamage
Senior Client Partner
Melody Johansson
Melody Johansson
Senior Account Director

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