Moving from Projects to Digital Product Teams

Background Reading

For starters, please read my experience report on why it makes sense to move away from projects for funding and organizing digital product development. The report has become a de-facto industry reference ever since I wrote it in early 2018 based on my experience of helping clients with the transition. For the most up-to-date version of the opportunities and challenges of making this transition, please get in touch.

Getting Started

If you’re already sold on the concept and can’t wait to begin, start by aligning key stakeholders on the measure of success for the transition. If measures of success are agreed, do you have baseline measures and measurement infrastructure in place to track actual benefits? Get in touch for expert assistance.

At the next level of detail, define and align on what a product means in the context of your organization, how to demarcate budgets for such products, and how to delineate areas of ownership for teams. It is crucial to get this right and it easy to assume that you need a team per product that your business sells. Get in touch to set up your transition for success.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Some analysts and consultants have cast this transition merely as a shift from temporary project teams to durable or persistent teams. Planning it that way might provide very limited benefit at great cost. Read why.

Others have cast the transition from projects to product teams as a milestone along the way to the final destination of platform teams. Here's why that's a bit of a red-herring.

Planning the change for appdev teams versus infrastructure & operations teams

Planning this transition for application development teams does not automatically mean the same thing for your infrastructure & operations (I&O) teams. Neither it is enough to simply re-classify your as platform teams or SRE teams.

Dealing with Post-Rollout Challenges

If you’re facing challenges midway through the transition, you’re not alone. This is a big change and many organizations have jumped in enthusiastically only to run into new problems. Get in touch to address problems such as:

- Semi-autonomous product teams or squads not collaborating well with each other.

- Challenges in planning and coordinating multi-team initiatives. Read more.

- Inability to form end-to-end teams that can cater to all the needs of a product.

- End-to-end teams duplicating efforts.

- Challenges with who does what kind of progress reporting.

- Challenges with people management in the new setup.

I touched upon some of the above in a CTO-Roundtable session.