Project or Product mindset: Which is better Part 2

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Project or Product mindset: Which is better Part 2

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Project vs. Product mindset Part 2
Vikram Asokan
5 min
13 Jul. 2022

In Part 1, we broke down the differences between Product and Project mindsets. A Project mindset tend to put more focus output whereas Product mindset places more emphasis on outcome. In that article, we shared how businesses with a Product mindset tend to have happier, more engaged employees.

In Part 2, we're going to talk about the advantages of a Product mindset, how to shift and cultivate into it and the benefits attached.

Advantages of Product Mindset 

A Product Mindset fosters an environment where the team is focused on creating a right product strategy and vision to achieve customer satisfaction.

This is done through the creation of a product roadmap which helps in effective prioritisation, increasing the value, reducing the risk as well as managing the dependencies when building a customer-centric product.

A team with a Product Mindset is often encouraged to think and investigate the development by approaching things in the perspective of the customer.

It also helps the team to think holistically about the business goals and how they are going to achieve product-centricity.


Cultivating Product Mindset

The product mindset demands a shift in four areas:

  1. Grow using the outside-in approach, rather than inside-out (Market & User feedback) 
  2. Start measuring time to value rather than time to market (Focus on Outcome than output)
  3. Prioritise the Growth of the company over the perfection of the product (Being iterative and incremental)
  4. Move towards Excelling at Change over Welcoming Change (Leveraging change over, reacting to change)

Moving Project based funding to Product based Funding 

Product-based funding allow you to allocate an investment to a product line where you can map investment money to the resources as needed, instead of working on unpredictable features.

The major advantage of product-based funding is it encourages through flexibility and collaboration, for teams to experiment, fail fast and learn to adapt to these changes in order to deliver a customer-centric product.

Shifting from Project focus to Product

The strategy involved in the project is to break down the task and create milestones to track the progress. This project mindset approach focuses more on the work whereas in Product mindset the strategy involved focuses on the objective as defined by the product vision.

They come up with product stories which are user journey and user stories to help the team focus more on the customer impact and the outcome.

Evaluate problem-fit discovery to enable product-fit delivery

Product Mindset helps you to discover the problem fit and helps to validate it before building the actual product.

This problem fit validation involves three steps:

  1. Identifying the problem
  2. Creating a value proposition
  3. Validating the assumptions to understand the product market fit

The problem fit validation is done even before the development; hence it saves a lot of time and heavy investment from building a wrong product.

It is validated multiple times using customer surveys & feedback, prototypes, MVP, Wizard of Oz techniques etc. 

Once validation is completed, the team invests and starts work on building a product toward an ideal market fit as defined by user feedback.

Conclusion 

All companies aim to work on building what their customer wants and needs. To develop a Product Mindset, we need to go beyond measuring simple project matrixes to understand the user first.

We need to test our assumptions and build a product that can add value to our customers.

We also want to build without burning out our team. The real shift that is needed by our team is moving from asking themselves,” Are we building things, right?” to “Are we building the right things?”

When companies and teams are moving towards a Product Mindset, it involves work which demands a lot of mental effort. This move towards customer-centricity brings a shared vision among the teams.


In a Product Mindset approach, we focus on improvement and frequent shippable releases. We measure the cycle time, work in progress and resolution time - areas that focus on improving the outcome.

In the end, having a Product Mindset gives the team clarity on what they are building and how they are going to add value to the customer. 


This article was written by Senior Agile Consultant, Vikram Asokan who is based out of our Hong Kong office. If you are interested in learning more about how to develop a Product Mindset, reach out to us here

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