Global Study of High Performance Product Teams

For the past three years Actuation Consulting, along with a wide array of sponsors and industry associations, has conducted a global study of product team performance. The findings from our annual study are published in a free white paper available to all. We then hit the road doing podcasts, webcasts, live presentations and video interviews from August to February. The findings of our study are widely cited and incorporated into books and publications.

Our Sponsors

As we kick-off the fourth year of the study I want to take a second and acknowledge this year’s gold level sponsors without whom our efforts would not be possible.

Project Connections provides resources to help project managers, teams, functional groups and organizational leaders drive results whether it is strongly kick-starting a project, improving cross-functional collaboration, providing training and support, or implementing best practices.

 

Sensor Six is a leader in helping organizations prioritize product ideas based upon data, enabling roadmap creation and tracking progress in real-time.

The Authors

Part of what makes this study so unique is that it enjoys such wide support. For instance, the five contributing authors each represent a particular functional point of view.

 

Greg Geracie, President of Actuation Consulting, represents the product management perspective

David Heidt, Principal of Enterprise Agility and former IIBA Chicagoland chapter president, represents the business analyst community

Matt Jackson, President of Jackson Consulting, represents the voice of the project management community

 

Ron Lichty, Principal of Ron Lichty Consulting and co-author of Managing the Unmanageable, represents the engineering community

 

Sean Van Tyne, co-author of the Customer Experience Revolution, represents the user experience community

Our Promotional Partners

We also enjoy the support of a wide array of industry associations and organizations who help to distribute the survey link and provide a platform for us to communicate the findings to executives and product team members world-wide. This year’s list includes:

The Boston Product Management Association (BPMA)

The Chicago Product Management Association (ChiPMA)

Orange County Product Managers (OCPM)

The IIBA Chicagoland

The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA Chicago)

The American Society for the Advancement of Project Management (asapm/IPMA USA)

Engineering Leadership Meetup Group in the San Francisco Bay Area

Silicon Valley Code Camp

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA)

The Output of Our Research Into Product Teams

Each year we ask a standard set of questions that enables us to closely monitor industry trends including product development methodology adoption rates, how product teams perceive the effectiveness of their performance, and a wide range of other topics. Additionally, we have devised a new set of questions based upon what we have learned from previous studies and what we are witnessing in the marketplace in real-time.

If you are interested in seeing last year’s study – to get a sense of the output of our market research – you can download the 2014 study here.

For those of you who don’t enjoy reading white papers (we know you are out there!) there are four pages of infographics summarizing key data points that are very Twitter friendly. You can access them by clicking on this link.

Want to know how your product team(s) compares to others in our database? We have free online assessments you can take which benchmark your team against others in our database so you can see where you stand. There is one for product team members and another for executives.

This year’s new questions focus on user experience trends and reporting relationships, the impact an improving economy is having on product team turnover, backlog ownership and much more. We would love hear your thoughts on these subjects. You can add your voice to hundreds of others by clicking on this link. The survey takes six minutes to fill out and it’s very user friendly. All responses are anonymous. There is an option to self-identify if you decide you would like to participate in future studies or be the first to receive this year’s white paper.

If you provide us with your contact information you will be entered into our random drawing for a new IPad Mini!

We want to hear from you! Your perspective matters.

 

Authors NoteIf you are interested in sponsoring future studies or learning more about this year’s study you can contact us here.

Join us Tuesday, February 24th when Whova.com presents its Whova app for professionals meeting other professionals

Whova mobile app brings big data analytics to help event organizers build successful events and attendees network efficiently with each other. It is used for networking in many business conferences/expos, networking events, corporate and community events. The Whova app provides smart profiles of all the event attendees and discovers the people you might be interested to meet automatically.

Beyond that, you can also scan the business cards of the people you meet at the events and manage their smart profiles with deep information on the whole Internet.

Whova.com Objectives:

  • Develop brand awareness
  • Showcase our products as well as the value our products bring to the consumers

Target Audience:

  • Professionals who receive business cards in meetings or events
  • People who attend business events or conferences

Personas:

Name: John
Age: 30
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Small business owner
Education: Bachelor’s Degree

Background: Daniel is a successful young professional who’s always on the go – meeting prospective clients, networking with different professionals at events or meetups etc. He meets with new people either in the personal meetings or big events. When he’s back home he’s got a deck of business cards from the people he met. He has heard good things about Whova from his friends and with an app store search for Whova. He downloaded the Whova app.

Task: Scan business cards received in a meeting

 

Name: Ria
Age: 40
Occupation: Sales/Marketing professional
Education: Master’s Degree

Background: As a sales and marketing professional, Dana attends lots of conferences and events to showcase the products for her company at the vendor table or booth during the events. There are lots of visitors who check out the products and leave their business cards at the desk. Some of the people are interested in the product and could become their customers down the road. Dana wants to efficiently collect and organize all the visitors’ information and follow up with to build a business channel with them. She found Whova app from google search and downloaded the app to manage all the leads from the event.

Task:

  • Scan business cards received from an event
  • Request e-business cards from the people in the same event

Join us Tuesday, January 27th when Otterbox.com presents their new responsive e-commerce site.

Founded in 1998, OtterBox has evolved into the No. 1-selling case for smartphones in the U.S. and a global leader in mobile device protection. Otterbox.com offers consumers a diverse lineup of protective solutions for handheld technology. In 2014, Otterbox.com went through a complete site redesign, moving to a responsive platform. The Otterbox team will present a consumer journey of purchasing a case on the new site shop.otterbox.com.

Otterbox.com Objectives:
• Develop brand awareness
• Showcase our products as well as the value our products bring to the consumer
• Generate revenue
Target Audience:
Smartphone owners who want rugged protection with a name they can trust (style and functionality are becoming increasingly important as part of the brand).
Personas:
Name: Daniel
Age: 24
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Background:
Daniel is a successful young professional who’s always on the go – meeting prospective clients, attending open houses, scouting properties, etc. His smartphone is his secretary at work, and with a recent upgrade to an iPhone 6, Daniel is looking for a case that offers protection and durability that can protect his important work asset. He has heard good things about Otterbox from his friends and with a google search for Otterbox, he landed on shop.otterbox.com.
Task:
Purchase a protective and durable case for iPhone 6
Name: Dana
Age: 37
Marital Status: Married with 2 kids, age 2 and 5
Occupation: Marketing Manager
Education: Master’s Degree
Background:
Dana has two full time jobs, as a marketing manger and as a mom of two. She enjoys recording and capturing life’s moments and milestones of her two young kids with her smartphone, and sharing those pictures and videos with family and friends. She recently received a Galaxy S5 as Christmas gift from her husband, and is looking for a case that is kid-proof and stylish. With a google search for Galaxy Cases, Dana clicked on the first link and landed on the Galaxy category page on shop.otterbox.com.
Task:
Purchase a kid-proof and stylish case for Galaxy S5

ProductCamp SoCal 2014: Saturday, November 15 in Anaheim

ProductCamp SoCal is a free, user-driven, collaborative “unconference” for product managers and marketers in Southern California. A one-day gathering of product and marketing professionals, to share, present, network, learn, explore and discuss.

Learn

Discover best practices from many industries on state-of-the-art ways to build world-class products. G+

Share

Exchange knowledge and insights with fellow Marketing and Product professionals. Twitter

Connect

Meet with fellow thought leaders for ideas and solutions to your daily challenges.Facebook

What’s Great About ProductCamp?

Put simply, ProductCamp is a bunch of smart, passionate people coming together to learn from, share with, and connect with professionals involved in product management, marketing and development throughout Southern California, and visitors from around the world. At ProductCamp everyone participates: by presenting, engaging in discussions or volunteering to help with logistics.

Everyone interested in improving their ability to conceive, build, manage, and market brands or products is welcome. Everyone brings different experiences and leveraging that collective knowledge is what makes ProductCamp special – and something you can’t get from any other gathering.

Register

Register here now. It’s FREE. A free t-shirt and gift bag will be provided to the first 300 people to check in at the event.

Join us on Tuesday, October 28, at Intuit to provide feedback for the DonationMatch.com’s online self-service platform experience

DonationMatch.com is an online self-service platform streamlining how products reach local charitable events and target audiences. Since their presentation last year, the team has developed automated tools for filtering and approving in-kind donation requests received by companies, reducing handling time to zero while connecting their clients’ goods and gift certificates with more relevant audiences than ever. They would like to solicit feedback on this new feature of their system.

Join us on Tuesday, September 23rd, at Intuit to provide feedback for the Skooltopia landing page and home page experience

Current Project

During this session, Skooltopia co-founders will share the newly redesigned landing page and home page. The pages have been redesigned to increase user engagement, registrations and conversions. This redesign is not yet customer facing, so it will be a great opportunity for Skooltopia to leverage your feedback!

About Skooltopia

Skooltopia (www.skooltopia.com) launched their beta sight one year ago. Skooltopia is a hyperlocal fundraising marketplace that enables members of a school community to buy and sell their goods and services within their community and donate a percentage of revenue back to their schools. The tax-deductible donation to the school is made by the vendor and goes to the school of the buyer.

This three sided marketplace appeals to:

Schools as a fundraising opportunity as well as a way of connecting the community that makes up the school and surrounding local businesses.

Small business owners as a way of promoting their goods and services directly to their school community and beyond. It gives them a way to support local schools, reach their target market and align themselves with the values of shopping small anthe local community they in and those people they see every day and it gives them an opportunity to become a social enterprise supporting local schools.

Consumers as a way of sourcing what they need from a trusted network of friends and community members while supporting their school with each purchase.

The target market is members of a K-12 school community including:

  • Parents and family members with children under the age of 18
  • Male or female – emphasis on the female demographic
  • Small business owners and operators in the school and surrounding local community
  • PTA fundraising chair
  • Stay at home mothers
  • Age 30-50
  • Marital status – married
  • Middle class, average household income of $70K.
  • Residing in USA (primarily San Diego during this phase)
  • College educated
  • Employment status – self-employed professional, stay at home parent, working parent
  • Tech savvy
  • Feels strongly about supporting the local economy, fundraising and community

Join us on Tuesday, August 26th, at Intuit to provide feedback for the Price Patrol mobile shopping experience

About Price Patrol

Price Patrol is a mobile shopping companion that finds you what you want at the price you want it.  By leveraging the users geo-position and aggregating over 22 million products in the LIVE inventories of over 250,000 locations across the country, Price Patrol allows users to buy immediately, and the ability to let the application continually scan the live inventories of stores around them for the product(s) they want to drop in price.

Current Project

During this session, the User Experience + User Interface Team will share the mobile shopping application v1.4 with increased functionality.   Price Patrol is primarily looking to increase user experience as well as test its new check out process for the “Buy it Now” option that is being Beta tested.  This redesign is not yet customer facing, so it will be a great opportunity for Price Patrol to leverage your feedback!

Persona #1:

Male Mid 20’s
College Graduate
Earns $75,000 annually

This individual is always on the go and looking for the best technology.  He is currently in the market for a MacBook Air.  The laptop he currently has is capable of being used for a few more months, so he is able to wait for the cost of his new MacBook to come down

Persona #2:

Female, Late 30’s
Some College
Stay at Home Mother of two

This individual is a full-time parent who needs products instantly and is VERY cost conscious.  She is tech-savvy, uses social media regularly and is always on the move taking care of her children and their myriad activities.  She is currently on vacation and in an area she is not familiar with and forgot her traveling stroller.

Join us on Tuesday, July 22nd, at Intuit to provide feedback for the newly redesigned ProFlowers website checkout experience

Current Project

During this session, the User Experience + User Interface Team will share the newly redesigned checkout process for ProFlowers.  This new experience is a continuation of a project shared last year, only this time we have applied responsive web design principals to deliver a seamless shopping experience for consumers regardless of their chosen device.  ProFlowers is primarily looking to increase conversion with this redesign by making the checkout process fit the available screen space of the user’s device.  This redesign is not yet customer facing, so it will be a great opportunity for ProFlowers to leverage your feedback!

About ProFlowers (www.proflowers.com)

ProFlowers has been connecting consumers with fresh-from-the-field flowers since 1998, starting with a single farm in California.  Fifteen years later, over 50 million bouquets have been sent containing 185 fresh cut varieties from eight different countries around the world.  Depending on the time of year, the target consumer vacillates between the following two profiles:

A male in his late 30s:

  • Married with children
  • College educated, $107K average household income
  • Highly tech and mobile savvy; prefers shopping online and likely to leverage social media for gift information and recommendations
  • Often buys gifts at the last minute; ability to transact quickly and with ease is a top priority

A female in her late 30s:

  • Single
  • $67K average household income
  • Highly tech and mobile savvy; extremely likely to leverage social media for gift information and recommendations
  • Loves giving gifts and puts a lot of thought into the gifts she purchases
  • Gives flowers frequently as a way to show her care and support; feels that flowers are a more personal, intimate gift
  • Presentation of the flowers is of utmost importance

The Customer Experience Revolution – The Trailer

It has been an exciting year for Jeof and I and The Customer Experience Revolution. This month we had a great time as Closing Keynotes at SDL Innovate 2014 in San Francisco, the book went into a third printing, and Brigantine Media just released this trailer.

Join us on Tuesday, June 24th, at Intuit to provide feedback for the newly redesigned Personal Creations site experience

Current Project

During this session, the User Experience + User Interface Team will share the newly redesigned Personal Creations site. This new site was built using responsive web design principals with the goal of delivering a seamless shopping experience for consumers regardless of their chosen device.  The session will focus on the shopping experience up to and including the shopping cart page.

About Personal Creations

Personal Creations helps our customers commemorate life’s events, or strengthen a connection with cherished friends or family through a meaningful gift experience. It delivers unique gifts for any occasion, and personalizes the product through one of our over 20 unique personalization techniques. It is a brand that embodies fun and creativity that is reflected in its wide assortment of market and exclusive products.

The Target Customer

The target customer is a female in her mid 40’s. She’s married, and skews towards middle class. She loves to buy gifts for other people, and takes pride in choosing a gift that are one of a kind, reflect their own personality, and have personal meaning to the recipient. They will shop around in order to find this perfect gift.

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