Tag Archives: Business Strategy

Information Is Energy: Product Management Example

© 2017 Michael A Hill

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As a practical example, consider a couple of issues that often arise in managing product development: time to market and internal team rivalries.

violin

First, remember the familiar story in song about the violin being sold at auction? The bids were low until someone picked it up and played a few strains of beautiful music. Then the bids accelerated higher and higher. A luthier had initiated the value chain through product development and a virtuoso finalized it with marketing. But one part would have no value without the other. The violin’s value was created first and then enhanced by adding information.

Time to Market

Long learning curves and slow adoption of new work methods frustrate nearing time-to-market deadlines. Product managers may complain of worker resistance to project urgencies. Resistance is good, though—it means that work is being done. Resistance makes the light bulb shine, violin strings sing, oysters encase pearls, and workers innovate. The product manager’s challenge is then to balance and channel the team’s creative energies to capitalize on resistance before it generates too much friction or waste heat. On-the-job mentoring can often smooth the work flow.

Team Harmony

Often, development and marketing each consider that their own contributions to product value are more important the other’s. Team disharmony arises from such misinformation, which is like just so much background noise. From an energetic information perspective then, the product manager’s focus is to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. Gerard Holzmann [1] proposes a particularly innovative way to highlight the team’s primary mission: Write the user manual first. This approach provides for better documentation, requirements, design, and testing; but it also focuses the development and marketing team members toward a shared vision of satisfying customer needs at project startup. The desired outcome is, of course, creating the most valuable end product, and recognition is shared among all team members.

Synergy

By accepting the premise that “Information Is Energy,” we discover subtle changes in our perspective, providing us with advantages for recognizing new connections, finding process efficiencies, and identifying technology crossovers. Take this idea one step further—find your own applications for concepts of information flux, entropy, and equilibrium. Information invests our universe with value. It brings synergy to energy.

[1] Holzmann, Gerard J., “Frequently Unanswered Questions,” Computing Edge, vol. 2, no. 7, 2016, pp. 36-38. https://www.computer.org/csdl/mags/so/2016/03/mso2016030010.pdf

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WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR BUSINESS ANALYST? – Part 2

But what, in general, should you expect from a business analyst whom you hire?  You yourself set the overall expectations, of course.  You already know the outcomes you desire, even though you may not understand all the implementation details.  You might also need an objective validation of your business strategy.  Knowing your expectations, the business analyst can then begin activities to meet your expectations.  For convenience, these activities are divided into three areas:  preparation, process and performance.