Real Life Scenario: Product Roadmap gone sour

Jack’s organization launched a path breaking web based Application a couple of years ago, which took the market by storm, got in many new customers, filled up the coffers and made investors proud.

Over the years, the Product Manager moved on, some people in the Product development team were moved to other products, and few quit. To make matters worse, the demands from customers for enhancements and bug fixes kept coming in, the client environments evolved and the competition more or less caught up. All this caused profits from the product to taper down quarter on quarter. The product sadly transformed from a great one to an average product.

Last year, the organization got one of the marketing folks Krishna to put together a Product requirements document (PRD) based on the demands from customers. Krishna got this PRD reviewed, approved and signed off by the stakeholders after almost a quarter of discussions and negotiations. The Product development team got cracking on it once the requirements were frozen. After toiling for a year, the team released a new version of the product two months ago. The new version met the needs of some customers, fell short of a few others and totally disappointed a sizable percentage of customers who promptly went to the competition.

This aptly jolted the CTO and other influential folks in the organization, who decided that it is now time to rejuvenate the product back to its glorious days and put Jack in charge to make the transformation happen.

The ask is clear.

  • Get a new recharged version of the product out in the market by the end of the next quarter (4 months from now)
  • Follow that with a Release once every 2 months with new version that engages existing customers and entices new ones to get signed on.

To accomplish the above, Jack decides to get a dedicated Product Manager and also switch to Agile methodologies for Product Development.

Jack feels that the below are the immediate high level tasks for him

  1. Hire a strong Product Owner who can dynamically prioritize the Business requirements and internally work closely with the Product Development team.
  2. Transform the Product Development team to a self organized Scrum team by means of a Scrum training.
  3. Hire a Scrum Master who understands the processes and tools, can step up as coach when the team strays off course and works with the Product Manager and the team to resolve impediments.

What according to YOU is the right set of tasks and the right sequence to get the product back on track? Is something important missing in the list above?

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