Evolution of services 2020 

I'm happy to announce that Devbridge is now offering business strategy and organizational change services as part of our capabilities. These services have been tested and delivered results for select clients over the course of the past few years; we're excited to make them available to our whole portfolio in addition to our core services shown below. Continue reading to learn how they integrate into product development. 

The only thing constant in technology is change. To quote John Maeda, "When technology is the thing you want, you don't need design because you want better technology. When technology matures, design comes into the foreground." The enterprise today is satiated with technology and has been for a while now if legacy software is evidence of anything. Technology alone is not enough to compete. Additional megapixels do little to improve photography skills, just as new data storage technologies do little to drive business strategy. 

The desired state is technology-enabled change with customer-centricity, the ability to respond to market needs, and data-driven investment in meaningful outcomes for the business. 

Product at the core 

We built our business on a core capability of shipping great products to market in record time. At one point, we called them websites, then apps, then products. Fundamentally it has always been an improvement of our client's business through technology, a customer-centric way to research, design, and ship.  

To achieve speed and industrial-grade quality, we established three separate practices: software engineering, product management, and product design. Dedicated, cross-functional product teams could rapidly identify what would make the most impact, build, learn, further improve, and finally ship impactful software to market. 

So impactful, in fact, that the new way of transacting made our clients reconsider how their business could work, reconsidering classic organizational structures of IT vs. business, funding techniques, and delivery methodologies. 

Business strategy services 

In context of Devbridge services, business strategy includes discovery, research, definition, service design, and roadmap management.

In other words, we're primarily interested in: 

  • discovering opportunities that are enabled via technology, 
  • validating opportunities through research and testing, 
  • defining the metrics to gauge whether an investment in a particular product is a worthwhile endeavor,  
  • and managing the go-to-market strategy of this new technology in a way that is mindful of the customer and the objectives of the business. 

The underlying principle of a successful business (product) strategy is the build-measure-learn loop.  

The loop illustrates a process that allows the individuals responsible for the product to self-govern and self-inform using the customer (internal or external) as a data point. Unlike a traditional hierarchical management structure, a cross-functional team reduces bias, makes faster decisions, and demonstrates resilience to failure. 

Organizational change services 

Technology-enabled change requires continuous work. Products (or software if you prefer) require specific techniques and continued investment to retain the desired evergreen state that's read as a) maintainable, b) easy to release to, and c) scalable. Allow technical and product debt to accumulate, and you will soon find yourself with an unruly, monolithic legacy system on your hands. Back to square one. 

This happens in our relationships all the time. A meaningful new product enters the market and our client is thrilled with the immediate impact the product drives. The next version is justified based on the specific, achievable, and measurable KPIs used to track progress. Ah, but we need a business case to fund V2. That'll take another six months, but the window of opportunity is slowly creeping shut. 

To maximize returns from technology-enabled change, an organization must adopt a product-centric skillset.  

Change is necessary for: 

  • Organizational structure, the introduction of a Chief Product Officer 
  • Role definition, responsibility matrix 
  • Funding, measurement techniques 
  • Management, communication principles 

Historical evidence from our accounts shows that organizational change is easier when a successful blueprint is used as the foundation of the future state. Specifically, a pilot product team should demonstrate rapid, meaningful wins to the leadership and front-line teams. The process, tools, and values demonstrated by the team are used as the seed of change. Supporting activities such as training, practice development, code reviews help fortify the target future state. 

Last but not least, specific tooling reinforces the values and behaviors necessary for successful change. Devbridge uses the PowerUp application to aggregate product metrics across the portfolio and manages to the desired behavior. 

Next steps 

As I wrote in my previous update, even during a challenging 2020, we continue to expand and are hiring 30+ across all offices. Technology-enabled change is often an antidote to an unpredictable market. Efficiency, automation, self-service for customers are all strategies that help sail through choppy economic waters. Please reach out to me directly with questions on how the above services can help you drive meaningful change.