Why do some companies decide to have more than one product? How do they manage this product portfolio? Why do other companies prefer to focus on a single product? Focus or diversification, which is the most appropriate strategy? How to organize the product development team according to the chosen strategy?
These topics are what I consider to be advanced topics in digital product management, and that’s what we’ll see in this and the following articles!
Did you know that Google has 177 active and 79 discontinued products? These are the statistics from Google just before it announced Alphabet in August 2015.
And how many offices has Google spread around the world? I tried to count on the map below but couldn’t. It looks more like a map of the board game War, with Google conquering the world.
Locaweb, in due proportion, also has a similar strategy. In 2016, we had over 25 products, and we have already discontinued over 10. In addition, Locaweb has offices in Porto Alegre, Marília, and Blumenau.
Another example is Caelum, which has in-house software development consulting and software development classes in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia. It had an on-demand software development service that was discontinued and created an online learning service, and it also became a publisher.
To answer this question, we will need to recall some concepts of the technology adoption curve that we saw in the chapter How does the lifecycle of a software product work?:
Every product goes through 4 or 3 of these phases. In the happy scenario, the product ranges from innovation to growth to maturity at the end of life. And when the product does not cross the abyss, it goes from innovation to the abyss to the end of its life.
Consequently, a single product company will eventually:
To quote the “Queen of Sciences”, the mathematics: Q.E.D.
Quod erat demonstrandum is a Latin expression meaning “as one wanted to demonstrate”. It is usual to appear at the end of a mathematical demonstration with the abbreviation Q.E.D., or in the Portuguese version C.Q.D.
By understanding the technology adoption S curve and the gap concept that exist between this enthusiast and the pragmatic curve, it is easy to see the need for portfolio diversification that companies have. However, some questions remain unanswered:
These questions will be answered in the following articles.
I’ve been helping companies, and their leaders (CPOs, heads of product, CTOs, CEOs, tech founders, and heads of digital transformation) bridge the gap between business and technology through workshops, coaching, and advisory services on product management and digital transformation.
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