The product is not a project!

    This imbalance pushed me to this article, which I see in the mass consciousness and the consciousness of the professional community of IT company managers. Alas, there are lots of sites about project management, but a cat wept about product management.

    It is as if there was a sea of ​​books, trainings, whole institutes on how to walk correctly, and not a single brochure on how to choose the direction of the path.

    In books on project management (especially for beginners), authors are very fond of starting with the thesis that the world consists of projects, projects everywhere. Cook food - a project, get a doctor’s treatment - a project, pick your nose or make love, even a vacation - all projects.

    Of course, a musician hears music everywhere in everyday life, a cameraman builds a frame, and a hairdresser recognizes people by their hairstyle. But with design thinking and design terminology, the world went crazy went too far.

    Further I will give some examples of how this might threaten you.

    Starting another adventure, we say that we are starting a project. When telling a friend about a site, we call it a project. At the interview, we talk about the projects that we worked on.

    Projects are called organizations, inventions, houses, steamboats, musical and various groups, artworks, films, software products, documents, illustrations and much more.

    Behind a simple change in the text is often explicitly or implicitly hiding a time bomb, the root of which is the change in meaning and perception .

    Educational program

    What is a project? A project is an activity (process), defined by three main properties:

    1. Time - when the project begins and ends
    2. A predetermined goal - what result should be obtained by the end of the project, why the project is started
    3. Resources - what kind of people, for what money and how they will work to achieve the goal

    If there is not even one of these signs, we are faced with anything but a project.

    What is a product? A product is something (often the result of someone’s labor) that is sold, bought and used.

    Even simpler: a project is a process , a product is a result .

    So what ?!

    We (people, organizations with whom and in whom I worked, whose work I do not know by hearsay) too often give too much attention to the process, and not to the final result. Without a good process, it’s difficult to get a good result, but the result is much more important.

    And that's why.

    1. Live long and prosper or manuscripts do not burn

    Any project always comes to an end. Truly successful products usually outlive their creators (remember Jobs, Disney, pharaohs with their pyramids, Christ with his teachings, and so on up to famous scientists, inventors).

    Thinking in the project space, you involuntarily set yourself up for the fact that all this will end sooner or later. But with the end of one project in real life, everything is just beginning (if you are not a poor outsourcer who needs to quickly get rid of another order).

    Thinking of a product, you push your brain to look a little further, mentally skipping the process of achieving the result. As if he had already passed.

    Something like a boxing technique to aim a blow a little further than the point of contact of an obstacle, as if punching it.

    2. Show me the f * cking money!

    No one today cries over the miserable crowds of slaves who died in the construction of the pyramids and other wonders of the world. No one is trying to figure out what the production efficiency was. But everyone admires the result.

    No one buys tomatoes for a thousand rubles, if the same ones are sold nearby for a hundred. Could not meet the cost price of competitors - you burned out, but these are your problems. A person has always bought and will buy products that are optimal according to his personal criteria price / quality / satisfaction, with little thought about which process led to this result.

    Buy the result.

    Talking about what you do as a product, you often stand on the same bank of the river where your customer stands. And more often you ask yourself key questions (what should the product be? How much should it cost? How do we sell it? Who needs it? Where to develop it?) And adjust your processes to these answers, and not vice versa.

    3. The product is specific

    A project can die as soon as it starts, and it can last forever, it can be good, bad, frozen, confused, drawn out, interesting, dull, heavy, expensive, complex, cheap, and often cheap and interesting at first, and then suddenly dull and expensive ...

    And the product is either there or not.

    A project is an abstraction for a large set of processes; it is a rather subtle and complex matter. It is not easy to objectively and specifically evaluate, describe and manage. For this, there is a separate discipline on the verge of art “project management”, and what do you think!

    And the product is either there or not. It can be bad, good, successful, buggy, irrelevant, blue, idle, magnificent, etc. It is not so simple with it either.

    But the line between “product ready” or “not ready” is much clearer. And this gives a much more accurate understanding and appreciation of the world: how well we do the work, we go to the goal. If our ultimate goal is some kind of product.

    4. A good project does not guarantee the desired result.

    Moreover, sometimes a good result is obtained not because of, but in spite of the process. One of the reasons for this is the creative nature of the software development process: according to internal mechanisms, it is much closer to creating a picture or a movie than to building typical cottages.

    You can take a proven plot, hire cool specialists, invest a lot of money in promotion and get a complete failure (pruflink one and two ), or you can create a masterpiece ( one and two ) from scratch .

    The danger is that the quality of the project can become a criterion for the success of an enterprise - how cool we are to “hide”, how wonderfully we draw diagrams, how beautifully the code is documented and the communication with usabilists is elegantly established.

    This can give a false sense that everything is going well. That we are moving the right path to the right goal. To think about the goal itself, the product itself is already too lazy or once: neither at the strategic nor at the tactical level.

    Illustrative examples (in addition to the Hollywood ones mentioned above): the Third Reich, the USSR, many dot-com bubble startups, etc.

    All this revolves around one simple observation-conclusion: in fact, the world consists of products. Even you, dear reader, a product of the love of your parents.

    Remember that what is more important in your business now is the process or the result.

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