“We’re a Marketing driven company?” “We’re Engineering driven, but we’re trying to change that.” “We’re Sales driven.” I’m sure you’ve heard many of these and more. From the outside looking in, sometimes it can be difficult to tell who is driving the decision making at a company, but here is one sure-fire way to figure it out, before you make the leap.
Pose the question: “When a new product idea is generated, what is the first question that everyone asks?” Is it:
- How does that compare to the competition? Or, What is the pricing? (Sales)
- What is our projected Gross Margin? (Finance)
- What platform does it run on? (Development)
- What is the schedule? (Project Management)
- How will this impact customer sat? (Support)
- What’s the carrying cost for all this new inventory? (Operations)
- What problem does this solve for the customer and are they willing to pay for it to be solved? (Product Management)
All of the questions that the other functional groups ask are necessary but not sufficient to determine if a product idea should be built. Product Management’s question needs to be answered first, then once you’ve determined that the idea solves a real problem you can ask all the other questions to see if it makes good business sense.