Skillful leadership and mature management processes can have a profound impact on your product development. For many small companies, acquiring world-class product development management and leadership talent full-time is just not feasible. Using outsourcing as a method for gaining access to this talent is often the only option. An analysis of process and leadership leverage should be part of any outsourcing strategy development. When thinking about this part of your strategy development, the following are some things to consider.
‘If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’
To be effective, you must do the right thing very well. Choosing an outsourcing partner because they have the requisite skill in the specific technology you need only works if you are confident that this is the correct technology for the application. Some firms are better at examining a wide variety of technology than others. These firms usually spend a lot of time on formalizing processes and partnering with technology experts – as contrasted with being one themselves. Understanding this aspect of your product development partner is essential.
Product Development vs. Technology Development
Product development is about using technology to solve a business or consumer need. Technology development, including enabling technology development, is about advancing scientific knowledge. Confusing the two can lead to very disappointing results.
Processes are Essential
Product development is sometimes described as “herding cats.” There are thousands of decisions to make. Each decision is linked to the other and dependent on a range of information about markets, customers, technologies, and people. Adhering to a well-proven methodology is the only practical way to manage processes. Understanding the maturity and effectiveness of outsourcing partners’ processes is one of the key drivers for improving the probability of success. Ideally, small companies are leveraging this knowledge by choosing partners who bring these processes known to the relationship.