In a blog published earlier this month, my colleague Jey Ganesh, presented an overview of JumpStart methodology, and indicated how vital it is to have an organizational blueprint aligned with product lifecycle, for establishing a successful software factory. In this blog, I will endeavor to present a broad overview of the various challenges encountered at different stages of the product lifecycle, and how they must be factored in choosing the most appropriate organizational structure.
It is an inescapable fact of nature that everything that is born, grows old and dies in due course. Much like an organism, businesses also have a life-cycle during which they take root as innovative startups pass through a dynamic and fast growth phase, and evolve into a full-fledged successful enterprise with a stable suite of products and services. And more often than not, the growth curve for the business tapers off over a period of time and, unless it manages to reinvent itself, slowly but surely sets into a path of decline, and ultimately demise.
Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum, and their success or failure depends on their core products or services, which also have a lifecycle. As Lex Sisney stated in his influential article, Lifecycle Strategy – Product, Market, Execution Fit
“All lifecycles exist within a dynamic between system development and system stability. When something is born, it’s early in its development and it also has low stability. As it grows, both its development and stability increase until it matures. After that, its ability to develop diminishes over time while its stability keeps increasing over time. Finally, it becomes so stable that it ultimately dies and, at that moment, loses all stability too.”
The constant struggle for businesses is between figuring out the right balance between innovation, development, and stability, and choosing the appropriate organizational structure that fits their business as well as product lifecycle the best. Every product goes through a natural evolutionary lifecycle from evolution, growth, and maturity to decline, and re-invention.
Each stage in the product lifecycle has clearly defined characteristics associated with the product, organization, people, and process. Similarly, each stage has its own opportunities and challenges. The below shown matrix, maps the challenges associated with the different stages of the product lifecycle, which must be considered, while choosing the appropriate organizational structure to execute the company’s technology roadmap and realize the business goals.