It’s Prime Time for Software Product Management: Are You Ready?
It’s Prime Time for Software Product Management: Are You Ready?
Aug 25, 2023 |
Production management software has been getting a lot of attention in the world of software development.
While the increasing pace of digital transformation ensured skilled software product managers were in high demand before COVID-19, the global pandemic has powered up the need for critical product expertise.
The pandemic shockwave forced businesses to reassess what they do and how they do it, including whether they have the right technical capabilities to pivot as needed.
Technological innovations that were scarcely imaginable just a few years ago are now crucial for companies to adapt and to do so at speed and scale. The challenges are huge, but so too are the opportunities for those who are able to quickly develop software strategies and products that keep them relevant and competitive.
Bridging the gap between challenge and opportunity is production management software. Technical product managers and teams are the drivers of an organization’s future innovation opportunities. As a result, there’s never been a more important time to make sure you have the right product management expertise to develop state-of-the-art software applications quickly.
Why Production Management Software Is So Important
Digital transformation was already a big story before the disruption of COVID-19 dramatically accelerated the trend. According to an analysis by research company McKinsey, the pandemic has seen digital adoption by major businesses advance by as much as five years.
As Gartner analystand senior director Emil Berthelsen says, “Technology product management leaders must look to improve and transform product management processes, tools, and people to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving market.”
I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and have seen product management software evolve from a time when it wasn’t even a dedicated discipline to the crucial role it plays today. I have spent ten years as a software engineer and ten years in the management of software engineering. Within that time, I have seen various permutations of agile and product management. I’ve been on teams where the gathering of requirements, product design (UX/UI) and product MVP, and roadmap were all done by the engineers.
That scrappy approach doesn’t work for most product teams anymore.
The days are gone when a team could be pulled together from client services, tech, and design departments to help develop a new product, while also being able to keep up with their other responsibilities. One of the many pitfalls of this old approach is that it didn’t allow for ownership of the project or a full understanding and overview of the software being developed.
Today, product managers are involved right from the concept phase. They need to know exactly what the business needs, what the competition is offering, and where the market is heading, as well as integrate across the design, engineering, marketing, operations, finance, and legal sides. This eliminates the guesswork and allows everyone to play their roles to the best of their ability, working collaboratively to achieve product goals.
In the past, performance was measured largely on whether a product was delivered on time. Now, product managers juggle all the balls that go into enterprise software development, becoming the glue that binds engineering teams with all other parts of the organization. No surprise, then, that McKinsey sees the role as a new training ground for future CEOs.
Software product managers operate at the intersection of business, technical design, and project management expertise. They’re also masterful orchestrators, ensuring the integration of all key capabilities needed to produce an on-target software product.
In this period of rapid innovation, business leaders need to ask themselves this fundamental question: Is my production management software ready for the step up to prime time?
The Problem: Demand for product managers far outstrips supply. Companies are scrambling to find cost-effective product management talent to meet the moment.
The Opportunity: With businesses more dependent than ever on technical innovation, access to a highly-skilled, deeper bench of software product managers will provide companies in need with incredible opportunities.
The Solution: Enterprise software development outsourcing is a fast, scalable way to build or enhance a product management team with the skills needed to capture the opportunity.
How Outsourcing Can Help
It’s natural for your team to get excited about extending an existing product to emerging platforms or the opportunity to build something new. It’s also natural for company leaders to want to be at the helm. Often, that’s not the best option. When you’re focused on ensuring your current operation is running well, it’s hard to successfully dedicate enough time and effectively manage the strategic and tactical areas of a project.
Outsourcing to an offshore or nearshore software development partner is a cost-effective way to streamline the product management process, fill gaps, and build in focused oversight of your project – ensuring it stays on time, on track, and on budget. You gain access to a much wider and more affordable pool of talent than what’s available on the domestic market, removing the need to have all the required product management expertise in-house.
Case in Point: How It Works AdRoll is a leading digital advertising platform serving more than 500,000 active direct-to-consumer advertisers worldwide.
AdRoll sought to create a hybrid in-sourced and outsourced product development capability that could easily be ramped up over time without sacrificing quality. However, they had no prior experience with outsourcing and needed guidance in finding a partner to collaborate with their organization to manage product development and form a long-term partnership, not a project-based team.
We introduced them to a partner in Argentina from Accelerance’s premium global network, who quickly integrated and grew the company’s software product development team from five to 40 in the first year. Our client was able to realize their goal of gaining enhanced, high-quality, affordable, and flexible enterprise software development capability that was a seamless extension of their existing operation.
Outsourcing for Product Management Software Success
Here are six key reasons why outsourcing your next software product development may be the right way to go:
1. Find the specialized expertise you need. Not every business has experience in developing the software capability they need. If your project falls outside the knowledge and expertise of your in-house team, outsourcing to a specialist will save time and money. This is also an opportunity to invest in your in-house team by allowing them to be coached and mentored by an offshore or nearshore software development team with deep expertise in the product management process. Ensure the quality of your project management software and leave your in-house talent to focus on internal tasks.
2. Meet that tight timeframe. Failing to reach a deadline is a common problem. According to Medium, leaders in technology and services companies underestimate the time or effort needed to complete a project, and deadlines are constantly pushed back as a result. Not only are these projects already pricey, but more money must also be funneled in to get it over the last stretch that was not originally accounted for.
It's time-consuming (and expensive) to recruit top web and mobile developers, then you have to onboard them as a team. The past year has increased opportunities for software engineers, and it's still harder than ever to retain talent. Outsourcing to the right partner lets you access subject-matter experts who already have experience working together as a team. They'll get more done in the first few weeks than a new in-house team could over several months. It also allows you to focus on something other than recruitment and interviewing.
3. Stay within a limited budget. It takes three to five months more to develop software in the US compared to offshore outsourcing alternatives, with senior product managers earning an average salary of around $190,000 according to Glassdoor. This price does not even account for the time and cost of onboarding just to get them on the same page as your in-house teams.
A tight budget means you have a stark choice: reduce the scope of your product or reduce the hourly engineering rate by looking beyond your borders. The money you save can go towards building more features into your product and/or expanding over multiple platforms.
4. Beat the product management skills shortage. High demand for product managers is being driven by the proliferation of technical products in industries such as logistics, finance, insurance, and healthcare. Two steady trends here are the growth of e-commerce as companies move from in-person to online operations and the rapid growth of technology giants such as Amazon.
Big tech has responded to the pandemic by allowing many staff to work from home long-term. As of 2023, over a quarter of US employees work remotely. That acceptance of remote workers means top talent can be cherry-picked from all over the country, which makes it even harder for small-to-medium companies to find (and afford) the talent they need onshore.
5. Drive innovation at a faster pace. Funding innovation pays dividends: Organizations that invested in innovation saw a 30% increase in their growth rate, according to McKinsey research. Strategic outsourcing makes it possible to keep pace through greater use of advanced technologies you may not be able to find or afford onshore.
6. Counter lack of bandwidth. Oftentimes, businesses are fully committed to running their IT program and don't have the resources to engineer new products or adapt existing ones. Working with an outsourced partner allows you to quickly ramp up your software project as needed. Once you have chosen a partner with the core competency in the technology stack you're looking for, they'll have a pipeline of engineers with the right skills and experience to utilize as needed.
Once the project is done or goes into a different phase, it's also much easier to scale down the commitment with an outsourcing partner than it is with permanent staff. Some of our clients took advantage of this flexibility, cutting back their offshore or nearshore software development teams as they grappled with the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19.
Outsourcing to Power Your Production Management Software
A great outsourcing software product management team can bring the focus needed to help you avoid the traps. Too often, companies don’t have a clear understanding of the business requirements they need to meet and end up wasting their development budget.
Continuing to move forward on a tight timeline with limited project management capability will lead to disappointing results. You may end up with something that falls well short of an optimal functional product. It’s like building a house without the input of an architect.
Without the right product management process and tactical guidance of a good team, companies end up with something that’s a mismatch with customer (end-user) needs. Often, it’s the unforeseen issues that trip up projects. How can strong product management software help? It clearly evaluates the challenges and risks in critical areas such as prioritization, backlog management, rework, and project delays.
Becoming Best-in-Class with Accelerance
Accelerance has a proven track record of troubleshooting and pivoting software product development. We can provide you with experienced product management teams that can take on the operation of the product function for a time, implement best practices, train your team, and then transition responsibilities to your in-house function.
We can determine the optimal path, advise whether a remodel or rebuild of in-process products is needed, coach the internal team on how to fix the root causes of issues, help scope and plan the implementation phase, and assemble the team needed to deliver it.
Strategic product management will be critical as digital innovation drives your business into the future. To stay ahead of the game – and find out more about Accelerance’s product management services and solutions – get in touch.
As Chief Customer Success Officer, Rich oversees Accelerance marketing and sales operations globally with a focus on helping customers make the best decisions for choosing a software development team and working together. Prior to joining Accelerance, Rich has worked in management consulting, IT advisory and outsourcing for over 25 years with Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Logica, Computer Sciences Corp. and Tech Mahindra.
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