Much has been written about using Lean methods to bring products to market.
It has proven to be a very effective technique for getting ideas off of the ground. Whether it is using Lean Startup techniques to get a company or concept going or a Lean approach to developing innovative new products internally at a company, Lean has it merits. There are a variety of reasons for this. It’s been shown to work well with small teams that are able to move fast and it is also appealing to those whose personality tends towards generating lots of new ideas rapidly yet being averse to process.
That said, Lean has also been a bit overblown and many people view it as something that should be used everywhere and by everyone.
This is definitely not the case. The reality is that there are certain situations where lean approaches won’t work and will not lead to success. As a company grows it has to put in an Optimal Product Process or else it simply won’t scale.
Here are just a few examples of where Lean won’t work well:
- There are a large number of people or groups that must be depended on for success
- A large investment must be made early, such as the costs of turning on a hardware manufacturing assembly line
- Company culture doesn’t support rapid change and/or requires extensive involvement from executives and other stakeholders
So how do you achieve the goal of moving forward rapidly with products in these types of environments if you can’t use Lean?
The answer is that you need a process that can scale to exactly what you need. Ideally your process should allow for consistency across all types of projects so that everyone isn’t doing things differently, yet also allow for very lightweight documentation and signoff (or none at all) as well as more formalized signoff and official documents.
The 280 Group’s Optimal Product Process was designed to do just that. Covering the entire Product Lifecycle from Conceive to End of Life, it ensures that you are answering all of the most critical questions at the right time to give your products the best possible chance for success. It was designed to allow for Agile, Waterfall or Hybrid development environments, and it give teams the insights they need to make sure that things are thought through and communicated at the right time.
The Optimal Product Process is based on the content in nine templates (these are available in the Product Management LifeCycle Toolkit™). These can be used in a lightweight manner by just making sure that the most important questions in them are answered at the right time, or they can be filled out completely and signed off as part of a more formal process. So whether you are a startup that wants to make sure you do things right or a multi-billion dollar company that needs a streamlined process, the Optimal Product Process can be used.
Here’s a description of each of the nine templates and their purpose:
If you are suffering from product failures, too much or too little process or the growing pains of scaling, consider adopting the Optimal Product Process. You can download the free Optimal Product Process book to assist you with implementation.