Today many books and articles are focusing on how to act as Product Managers, what methods to use or what makes them successful. However even the best Product Managers cannot succeed without the basic building blocks of how Product Management should be organized, how sustainable structures support Product Managers in becoming a credible function. This session tells the story of how a sustainable ecosystem of Product management was built bottom up at ABB, and provides inspiration as to what made the change successful.
ABB is a large global company with strong roots in technology. A few years back Product Management was generally organized within R&D or inexistent. The market and customer understanding was not lacking, but was at the same time not reaching its full potential. To fill this gap, the need of a Product Management function was emerging and the seed to a positive global spiral of change had taken its first steps. At the same time local initiatives were taking place to set the ground for a strong new Product Management framework – the PM Star.
A journey of transformation and change had begun to move away from the technical perspectives and replace this with a market driven Product Management organization. The PM Star framework has played a central role. It is now represented in all that ABB does within product management. It is reflected in the definition of Product Management, the Roles & Responsibilities, maturity assessments and in how competences are developed. It is a framework that is strong enough to support all efforts in Product management regardless of business model, whether it is a product, system or service business, or if it is hardware or software development.
The journey to where it is today has not been straight. It has been a bottom up approach with all challenges that comes with driving change in a global company with 135.000 employees organized in 20 plus Business units. Many steps have been taken, decisions and adjustments were made that resonates with the need of the Product Management Community. Common repositories make tools, methods and processes available, internal Social media share ideas. Recently a Global Council with members from all Business units is governing the development of Product management related areas and is directing the focus towards current and relevant areas like Digitalization, Master Data and e-commerce.
The journey of transformation and change continues. A sustainable ecosystem is in place, which supports the Product managers. This enables them to direct more and more of their focus towards the most important aspects – the customer needs.