The product world is abuzz with the release of Marty Cagan’s fourth book, Transformed. However, this time his book isn’t meant for product people, it’s meant for CEOs.

As we move into an increasingly digital economy, ‘product’ is emerging as a disruptive competitive advantage. Those who can discover, build, and scale the right digital products will capture market share at an alarming rate.

Most businesses aren’t set up to achieve this yet.   While Agile and SAFe helped us deliver things fast, product success comes from delivering the right things fast.  As the saying goes, outcomes over outputs.

The book describes in Marty’s clearest terms yet a product operating model inspired by successful digital businesses.  We have summarised them as the following:-

Strategise – Decide which problems to solve

  • Skill to identify key insights that drive strategic decisioning
  • Discipline to place bets on strategic focus areas – problems to solve
  • Empowering others to innovate against chosen problems

Innovate – How you solve problems

  • Solving problems for customers vs. building features for stakeholders
  • Using rapid experimentation to quickly establish if product ideas are worth building
  • Proactively addressing product risks – value, usability, viability & feasibility

Deliver – How you build

  • Long-lived teams that improve products over time, vs project teams that disband
  • Building through many small frequent reliable releases
  • Except where you must, prioritising quality and innovation over predictability

Release Early and often

  • Reducing waste by decoupling teams’ respective releases
  • Optimising ‘time to money’ by releasing at least every two weeks
  • Timely production metrics that demonstrate business value beyond development

Signposting how traditional businesses can adapt, the book recommends a transformation approach much like ours.   Like Marty, we have found that a successful pivot to product requires strong senior sponsorship, starting small so you can learn and adapt as you go, and celebrating success along the way.

If you are interested in reading more on the topic of product and product value stream operating models: