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As we continue our poll series to understand the priorities and challenges that product executives face, I wanted to share the results from our latest poll keeping with the Halloween theme: what is the scariest product innovation mishap you’ve experienced?
There were again over 200 responses representing a solid cross-section of product management, sales, marketing and development roles across all types of industries and geographies.
40% of the respondents believe their scariest innovation mishaps occurred when they let engineers determine the market needs.
Pretty consistent with findings from a recent study Accept did in conjunction with AIPMM to determine the Product Innovation Priorities for 2011 - about 46% of executives say more than 50% of engineering resources are focused on developing the wrong products and features.
Before we start pointing fingers and jump to any further conclusions, lets settle on one thing first: These statistics shows there’s a high probability that companies are spending valuable resources developing the wrong products and features regardless of where the misalignment originates. Agreed?
Next, the question is where do these bad product decisions start? Before we put the full blame on our engineering colleagues for working on the wrong priorities, let’s think about how the right priorities that are aligned with corporate strategy are handed down in the first place. Most companies are struggling when it comes to ensuring that their product strategies and business objectives are aligned with execution. And driving business objectives down to market requirements and product features is easier said than done.
So maybe the first order of duty is for all of us to understand where is the “impermeable membrane” within our organizations that causes this disconnect between company strategy and product execution.
The next big reason for product mishaps mentioned is ‘building something nobody would buy’, according to 23% of the respondents.
Again not a big surprise, when you consider the fact that how few companies actually incorporate the Voice of the Customer into what they build. According to the same study, Product Innovation Priorities for 2011- sharing and collaborating on new ideas was the biggest challenge for most companies and less than 25% of those surveyed are using web-based methods for idea capture and engaging key stakeholders. No wonder, many companies are building products that nobody wants to buy.
Any other interpretations on the above findings? What am I missing? Thoughts, comments?