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Embracing a value-led approach in IT: Building resilient and thriving organisations

 

I’m sure I’m not alone in repeatedly seeing examples of traditional project-based approaches and mindsets that, whilst familiar, consume bulk capabilities, people and resources, and still fail to realise anything close to the value which was initially predicted. This hurts profitability and constrains an organisation’s ability to adapt to changing conditions.

As many of you no doubt know, this isn’t great news for many leaders, who are charged with navigating through seemingly boundless uncertainty and demands for their organisations to keep up with the relentless pace of the evolving digital landscape (AI anyone?)

So why, in spite of all of this, do we still revere old-school project-centric delivery mindsets and methods‽

Perhaps the concept of fixed-scope, fixed-time and fixed-budget gives decision-makers a comforting sense of control and certainty in an increasingly uncertain world. Experience tells us however that this is merely an illusion (albeit a very powerful one!)

Maybe then, it’s because it’s just what ‘everybody else is doing’?

Whatever the reason for clinging to tradition is, there’s thankfully another tried and trusted alternative – a product-led approach.

 

Value-Led Strategies

I know that some of you might shudder when you hear the term ‘product-led’, but rest assured, it doesn’t mean that your product people make every decision and you’re left to occupy your days as a leader amusing yourself with golf or misappropriating office supplies…

When we talk about being product-led, we don’t mean a specific product. Rather, it is the products, services and entire customer experience offered by a business. Product as a whole, in this context, is the primary driver of customer acquisition, retention and growth. With this in mind then, the term value-led seems closer to describing an organisation’s intent to efficiently create sustainable value for customers.

Here are a handful of reasons why you might want to start thinking about how a more value-led approach might be beneficial for your organisation, if you haven’t already:

  • Customer-Centricity: By focusing on the product as the primary vehicle for value creation, organisations can experiment to ensure that their offerings are closely aligned with market needs and customer pain points. This alignment is crucial where there’s pressure for financial efficiency, where every dollar spent has to yield maximum ROI.
  • Building Security in: Cybersecurity is one of the greatest challenges faced by organisations, so we can’t afford to treat it as an afterthought or ‘box-ticking exercise’ at the end of a project. A value-led approach balances both user and business perspectives throughout product delivery and the product lifecycle, not just at the start or end. By considering security in product governance, user experience and decision-making, trust, usability and reliability become inherent in product offerings which in turn builds and maintains customer confidence, as well as business resilience and sustainability.
  • Innovation as a Culture: Value-led organisations empower their teams to be innovators and problem-solvers, fostering a culture where continuous improvement is the norm. Quickly learning what doesn’t work can protect from significant losses and is seen to be as valuable as learning what does work. This kind of culture is essential for companies’ sustainability as they are more likely able to learn and respond to new technologies, opportunities and market shifts, in a timely way.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: A value-led strategy thrives on analytics and feedback, enabling companies to craft and test intelligent hypotheses, make informed product decisions that benefit both the market and the organisation, and measure the valuable impact of their products and changes. By adopting this approach, businesses can start to reducing the waste and potential neutral-to-negative customer experience impacts associated with building the wrong thing. Remember that building the right thing more slowly is ultimately more efficient (from a value perspective) than building the wrong thing slightly faster.

 

Of course, there is always more to it than the few elements discussed in this article (adaptive leadership and governance to name but two). Nevertheless, technology leaders are in a unique position to champion this shift and begin their organisation’s journey towards a value-led future, where product drives sustainable and efficient value creation for the market, the business and the broader human context. And if you’re not sure where to start, reach out – we’re here to help. Contact us today.