Statistical Factors that Contribute to High Performance on Product Teams

performanceContributed by Greg Geracie

Actuation Consulting has been conducting research on what separates high performance product teams from the pack. Over the last five years our surveys, coupled with regression analysis by an independent statistician, have helped us to identify over 25 statistically significant contributors to success on product teams. To learn about our latest findings in-depth, don’t miss the Feb 16 BPMA event on “The Six Key Factors of High-Performance Product Teams”. We’ll discuss from multiple perspectives, as usual, based on rigorous data analysis. Download here.

What do we mean by success? There are two factors that we focus on. The first is the successful delivery of products to market as viewed through the eyes of product teams themselves. The second factor is whether their organizations achieved financial success in a given year.

In this post, let’s look at two crucial areas that help individual product managers’ enable success through their products and in their careers.

In a second post, which will be published on Actuation Consulting’s website, I will take a closer look at what executives can do to help their product teams be successful. Given the large number of factors we have discovered I will focus on a couple for each of these posts.

Factors that Product Team Members Can Focus on to Drive Improved Performance on Their Product Team

  • Aligned Product Strategy – Our research shows that product managers on high-performing teams benefit from understanding the corporate strategy, tethering tactical activities to the corporate strategy via well-defined multi-year product and technology strategies, and leveraging the connection between day-to-day objectives and product, and between product and company goals and mission, to motivate higher performance.

Conversely, product managers who lack knowledge of the corporate strategy have no grounding from which to effectively develop useful multi-year product strategy, nor the tools to motivate their teams. This leads to an inherent market disadvantage, as better aligned organizations capitalize upon clarity of purpose and action.

Additionally, roughly a third of product teams state that they actually have a product strategy and only 37% of organizations report that they are effective at making strategic decisions. However, organizations that are good at making and sticking with strategic decisions outperform the majority of product teams lacking a strategic aptitude and strategic plan.

Developing both strategic skills and multi-year product strategy (linked to your company’s overarching business goals) provides a statistically significant path to higher levels of performance and market differentiation.

  • Tactical Execution – While product strategy is clearly underutilized our data shows that there are simple things that product managers can do at the tactical level to improve product team performance. For instance, our regression analysis indicates that when product owners “define done” product teams report higher levels of success. If the product owner is not defining done the second-best results are posted by a collective team effort to define done.

Product managers and owners should be encouraging their teams to hold stand-ups frequently as there is a high correlation between product teams that meet daily and/or weekly. Unfortunately, only 40% of product teams are currently conducting stand-ups this frequently.

We have accumulated a wealth of statistical information on what separates successful product teams from the pack. These are just a few of the things you can do as a product manager or owner to stack the deck in your favor. Our latest findings are available on our website and you can download a copy here.

Feature from Flickr Commons

208377 greg geracie 10 12Greg Geracie is the President of Actuation Consulting, a global provider of product management training, consulting, and advisory services to some of the world’s most well-known organizations. Actuation Consulting provides popular training courses for product managers as well as product teams. He is the author of the global best seller Take Charge Product Management and the Editor-in-Chief of The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge (ProdBOK), an industry-wide effort to standardize the practice of product management. He is also an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on high-tech product management.

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