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Implementing Processes in Organizations that Don't Like Processes


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Slides Michael Robinson recently used in his discussion w/ mentees of The Product Mentor.

Synopsis: "We need a product manager!” said the small innovative company. You get the job. “Not sure about these processes you are talking about” they say after you start “processes stop us being innovative…"

The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Mentors and Mentees from around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Throughout the program, each mentor leads a conversation in an area of their expertise that is live streamed and available to both mentee and the broader product community.

Published in: Business
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Implementing Processes in Organizations that Don't Like Processes

  1. 1. Michael Robinson Implementing a process in an organisation that doesn't like processes A personal view 1
  2. 2. Michael Robinson Setting the scene... • Start-up company • Growth from success of initial product • However with new products... 2
  3. 3. Michael Robinson Second Product Syndrome 3
  4. 4. Michael Robinson We need a product manager! 4
  5. 5. Michael Robinson ... and you get the job 5
  6. 6. Michael Robinson Who you may encounter • The Hippo • The Zebra • The Prophet of Doom • The Goldfish • The Lemming • The Bad Pirate • Jeremy Clarkson 6
  7. 7. Michael Robinson The Hippo Highest Paid Person's Opinion 7
  8. 8. Michael Robinson The Zebra Zero Evidence But Really Arrogant 8
  9. 9. Michael Robinson The Prophet of Doom The world will come to an end if we don't implement <insert feature here> immediately 9
  10. 10. Michael Robinson The Goldfish Opinion on product strategy comes from last customer meeting 10
  11. 11. Michael Robinson The Lemming <Competitor name> has this feature, we must have it too! 11
  12. 12. Michael Robinson The Bad Pirate Inspired by Steve Jobs "It's better to be a pirate than join the navy" Hasn't found much treasure recently but has almost sunk the company's ship... 12
  13. 13. Michael Robinson Jeremy Clarkson How hard can it be? 13
  14. 14. Michael Robinson ...and none of them are that keen on process 14
  15. 15. Michael Robinson Culture eats strategy 
 (and process) 
 for breakfast Understand culture and people before worrying about process 15
  16. 16. Michael Robinson For example... • A Hippo (company CEO) thinks process slows everything down... • ... but is more worried about: • lack of visibility and control • being too reliant on a few key individuals 16
  17. 17. Michael Robinson Techniques • Fight opinions with data • Transparent prioritisation • Deflection • Build Allies 17
  18. 18. Michael Robinson Fight Opinions with Data • Search out and make friends with the people who can provide you data • Get perspective from multiple customers • Even if information is qualitative, quantify it • Use stories and pretty pictures as well 18
  19. 19. Michael Robinson Transparent Prioritisation • "Democratic" contributions to backlog / ideas list • Maintain backlog / roadmap with rational approach to prioritisation and resource allocation 19
  20. 20. Michael Robinson Deflection • Choose your battles • Buy time to do your job • Allows considered response based upon data and rational impact to roadmap 20
  21. 21. Michael Robinson Build Allies • Culture beats strategy • Leverage others' expertise to shape priorities 21
  22. 22. Michael Robinson And now to process... 22
  23. 23. Michael Robinson Pick a process, any process, there are lots to choose from… Source: 280 group 23
  24. 24. Michael Robinson The Reality • Strip the process down and focus on the essentials • Minimal set of checklists & simple templates • Decision makers and decision making forum • You'll need tools to manage the process... but don't expect anyone else to use them! 24
  25. 25. Michael Robinson Summary • Understand people and culture before worrying about process • Transparent and rational decision making • Simplify everything Need to find suitable graphic 25