Apply product management in your internal systems

In November 2015, ThoughtWorks, a software development consulting firm well known for being always one step ahead of the software industry, has suggested in its Technology Radar, a periodic report with its vision on techniques, languages, platforms and tools related to development of software, the concept of “Products over Projects” already classified as adopt. In short, they see that software development should not be viewed as a project with a beginning and an end, but rather as a product that supports processes of the company that owns the software, and which requires maintenance throughout its lifecycle, which will be as long as the lifecycle of the business process supported by this software. This is something I have been advocating for a long time, almost since the beginning of my career, and I was very pleased to see ThoughtWorks agreeing, supporting and advocating for this technique.

For some time now I have also seen that product management could be useful not only for software with external customers, but also for internal systems developed and implemented to be used by company employees rather than by their customers. So much so that I wrote an article on the topic where I proposed a job description for this function. At the same time we created this function for Locaweb’s Central Systems team which, as the name says, took care of systems that were central to Locaweb and had customer registration, product catalog, customer-product relationship and collection. Having this function in the team, the relationship of the other areas with this team has improved a lot. When I joined ContaAzul in August last year, there was also a team with those same goals and the team was creating this product management function to help interface with the other areas.

I’m again very pleased to see that once again a technique I have used for some time to help create better software is mapped out by the ThoughtWorks team! In the latest edition of their Technology Radar, they suggest “applying product management to internal platforms”:

We’ve seen a steep increase in interest in the topic of digital platforms over the past 12 months. Companies looking to roll out new digital solutions quickly and efficiently are building internal platforms, which offer teams self-service access to the business APIs, tools, knowledge and support necessary to build and operate their own solutions. We find that these platforms are most effective when they’re given the same respect as an external product offering. Applying product management to internal platforms means establishing empathy with internal consumers (read: developers) and collaborating with them on the design. Platform product managers establish roadmaps and ensure the platform delivers value to the business and enhances the developer experience. Some owners even create a brand identity for the internal platform and use that to market the benefits to their colleagues. Platform product managers look after the quality of the platform, gather usage metrics, and continuously improve it over time. Treating the platform as a product helps to create a thriving ecosystem and avoids the pitfall of building yet another stagnant, underutilized service-oriented architecture.

This will certainly help us get develop better software, including internal systems, that meet the needs of your users while helping the software owner achieve its goals.

This is very good for the software industry. This is very good for managing software products! \o/

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