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I recently wrote an article about why Product Management isn’t embraced everywhere1. In it, I referred to product people as ‘unicorn’ people. Advertising an internal vacancy for an experienced Unicorn might get a few curious looks from your employees, but it probably won’t draw out the candidates you’re searching for to drive your product management agenda. So how might you…

Most organisations acknowledge that change is a strategic imperative to stay ahead of new technological and economic developments. As businesses around the world have struggled to navigate pandemic-induced uncertainty and shifting consumer behaviour, it’s understandable why many have pursued organisational transformation in the hope that it’ll enable the business to operate at a higher level—to become more agile, productive, innovative and profitable.

If you work in or with a team or teams who build things, read on. In my experience as a product manager, consultant, and leader, these are five tried and tested tips for amplifying product management adoption. For those of you who read my previous blog and are wondering how to get product management into your organisation, consider the following “guerilla tactics” that might help lead the charge.

As a former product manager, management consultant, agilist, and self-confessed questioner of all things, I sometimes catch myself thinking about big, hairy questions scraped straight from the very bottom of the “too hard” basket. On sensible days, I catch these thoughts, acknowledge their existence, and move swiftly on to the next shiny thing in my vicinity. On less-than-sensible days, I latch onto them — give them attention, time, space, and explore them.

Active Transport Case Study

During Covid-19, the need to focus on safe transport accelerated. Transport for NSW saw residents looking for safer transport alternatives, increasingly turning to walking and cycling to move around—and the Active Transport branch was born. Headed up by the Director of Active Transport Portfolio, Data & Analytics at Transport for NSW, Active Transport faced a thrilling challenge—to meet the unprecedented demand for active movement, with infrastructure requirements to match.

Outside Context Problem

Ian Banks defined an Outside Context Problem as “a problem that hits you not only because no one saw it coming, but because it was so far outside your context that no one could have possibly predicted it.” In business, we see this all the time, we call it a “disruption”. Disruptions are the primary business model for aggressive tech-focused startups. They hit organisations hard because they just can’t see it coming. Not that they don’t see it coming, but they can’t.

Over the last few posts we have been looking at how to set up and fund business technology teams – teams that are directly linked to business functions and provide the technology component of the business as an integral part of the business rather than something provided by a separate IT group. These teams are funded by the business on an ongoing basis in order to deliver business outcomes.