How to identify useless products in your portfolio

In the past of my career, I was working on a product team building a product that nobody was using in the end. This is very painful for a product team. After gaining some knowledge becoming more used to the agile way of working I could easily understand where the product failed. Usually, the product team has a product owner and the product owner is the person that needs to add value to the product, and usually, the product owners are senior people. And think they know everything and they don’t accept their ignorance – this is solely the biggets reason.

This is a common trend in product teams. The Product owner appears to do his job right, the user stories are prioritized, a lot of meetings are taking place between PO and stakeholders and PO and product team, the dev team is finishing the sprints on time, they achieve the sprint goal, everything looks fine on the retrospectives, we have a good increment that the stakeholders agree that is fine, but in the end, the product is a failure because after launching it nobody is using it.

Some of my humble advise for the Product Owner and Product Manager that is coming from my little experience with agile teams:

  1. A product owner should behave like a junior professional, always ask and the most important validate your ideas
  2. Misalignment with the real Scrum – this comes mainly from companies which try to be agile and ask from their PO’s stuff that is out of agile
  3. Find more opportunities to learn about new trends.. As scrum guide says “ Scrum is simple to understand, difficult to master”
  4. I know that the Scrum guide is saying “ The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.” But at the same time I have seen PO’s without even a team, or a product to work with. How he can maximize the value of his product and his team? A Product owner should act as an entrepreneur for his product and have the freedom to work with stakeholders. He should constantly search for opportunities and risks and look out for growth.
  5. I have seen many product owners not really cooperating with stakeholders. Real cooperation doesn’t mean to have them on a call, exchange ideas, and everyone is waiting for the call to finish. Good collaboration means that the end-users are real collaborators. Do you share the product backlog with them? Do they have access to write user stories? Are they looking forward to using your product? If not then is a disengagement issue.
  6. Validate. Validating your idea and your hypothesis is what separates product owners from successful product owners. I am sure that most of the product owners think that they are successful, but successful for them might be to build a working product. But does this product sells? Do the final users use it? And this is connected mostly with the components of the portfolio that are connected to the product. A product is not a sole entity that you launch and forget it. A product is a live being that’s why it has a product lifecycle also. The after the launch is the most difficult phase and the only time a Product manager should take a break from managing the product is at the maturity phase. Not all the products achieve the maturity phase at the same speed and some maybe need years for that but again this depends on the success of the previous portfolio components.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *