Here are 10 key points to help those who are transitioning from projects to products
1) In projects, we deliver to one client, where as products get delivered to a market segment.
2) Inorder to build great products, we need people of the highest technical capabilities, where as in projects, the technical capabilities of people may not be the highest. This difference is very clear when we compare product companies to project delivery organizations.
3) Product teams, very often have to deal with millions of lines of legacy code, if they are working in very large established products. In startups, the challenges are different.
4) In project based organizations, very often the teams may be following waterfall model for software development, where as most of the product companies have either transitioned or transitioning to agile.
5) In waterfall models, the predominant managerial style is command and control, and at the same time the desired managerial style in product based organizations is that of a servant leader. Some product companies promote ‘manager as a host’ styles, where everyone else is trated as a guest, and the manager ensures that they are comfortable. A variant of servant leadership.
6) Since the quality of engineering talent is the best in product companies, it is absurd to tell tell them how to do things. Explain the scope of work, and give them the freedom to choose the best approach to accomplish it. It is a kind of leading from behind, whereas in project based organizations, the predominant style is leading from the front.
7) In product companies, the requirements evolve over a peiod of time. Requirements are allowed to grow. In project based organizations, the focus is on freezing the requirements.
8) In majority of the product based organizations, test automation is in a higly matured state. Without test automation it is very difficult to achieve the desired quality levels, especially with voluminous code base.
9) In project based organizations, it is very difficult to justify the investment on test automation, becuase projects are unique and very often sigle time assignments. The predominant testing style is manual testing.
10) In product teams, the manager is only as good as his team. In project based organizations, the managers tend to position them as better than the rest.