Product ownership in the enterprise

Cagan Triangle
Marty Cagan’s product ownership concerns

In his book Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love, Marty Cagan described the three central concerns of product ownership as the need to deliver value to the sponsoring organisation, create services that are usable (and desirable) to users and to ensure the service is feasible to deliver. It’s difficult to disagree with his thinking and those three tenents, valuable, usable and feasible have become a mantra for Product Owners.

Customer Team
Hippo Digital’s customer team model based on the original by Michael Sahota

At Hippo, we’re big believers in Michael Sahota’s ‘customer team’ model, mentioned in the briefest of posts Customer Team Helps Product Owners Survive and have used an amended approach to deliver key services into organisations such as the NHS.

A central idea of digital service design – and possibly not coincidentally, the customer team approach – is that product ownership is client-focussed as well as user-centric. This focus on business and technology and well as the user is also reflected in the value and feasible aspects of Marty’s three central concerns.

Adapting the customer team model slightly, this is easily demonstrated by including the domains of service design and service delivery into the model. We are also able to indicate where the central concerns of value, usability and feasibility map onto the model.

Mapped Concerns
Mapping the product ownership concerns to the customer team model

But there are further concerns that are central to the delivery of enterprise level applications into DevOps environments. This has lead us to build on Marty’s original concerns to include efficiency, security and operability and these too can be mapped.

Efficiency becomes a factor of value and usability, security becomes a factor of value and feasibility and operability becomes a factor of usability and feasibility.

Hippo Triangle
Hippo Digital’s secondary product ownership concerns

Within the enterprise environments we operate in, these six concerns drive our service design thinking through the mechanism of the customer team. This has to be achieved in close cooperation with the stakeholder community on the one hand (particularly, but not exclusively the service users) and the delivery and support mechanism on the other.

This thinking underpins our approach to delivery that is to combine service design and service delivery to ensure that services are not just valuable, usable and feasible, but also efficient, secure and operable. We believe it’s important to know why you are delivering a service as well as what it is you will deliver and how that will be done.

The original sketch used to help us work out our elevator pitch

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