Insight Blog

Journey to a Product Mindset

by Lake Shore Associates

May 19, 2020 | Case Study, Strategic Execution

The Challenge

A large personal liability insurance company was struggling to adopt a nimble, market-oriented approach to developing and managing its products. Such an approach would need to incorporate customer insights and adjust priorities to create customer value and accelerate business benefits. The IT organization had embarked on a journey to utilize “Agile” philosophies for technology delivery.  While the business had not yet started down that path, the belief was that the key to improving customer value delivery was improving the relationship with the IT organization and mutually traveling the “Agile” journey together.

Fundamentally, this organization was suffering from the symptoms of strategic misalignment in its approach to how they managed the majority of their personal liability products. Adding to this misalignment was the absence of clearly articulated strategies for a number of their products. And if that was not enough, the project-oriented approach to product management institutionalized systemic barriers that discouraged innovation and cross-functional collaboration. Capital investment decisions were short-sighted with little regard to a product’s long-term potential with project success measures internally focused on budget and timeline adherence rather than externally focused on customer value.


The Solution

Securing leadership’s buy-in was a key starting point, and LSA utilized Prosci’s ADKAR model to initiate the change journey by creating Awareness and promoting Desire to address the business problem. We provided education, established clarifying definitions, and articulated the case for change for adopting a “Product Mindset”, all of which were instrumental in creating the momentum necessary to productively embark on a Product Mindset Journey. As the LSA team explored the business problem, it became evident that the challenges this client faced were much broader than the need to improve the business and IT working relationship.

Success in this initiative depended upon a transformation of the overall business operating model and a shift in the corporate culture to delegate decision authority further down to empowered product teams. In addition, a comprehensive and new approach to holistically managing the portfolio was required. LSA built out and deployed an integrated set of components and practices to translate the transformation objectives into action. These four (4) components are highlighted below:


1.)   A Product Lifecycle Management Operating Model
A Lifecycle management process to systematically and holistically manage ideas from ideation through retirement.
A Governance process to ensure that priorities, collaboration, and decision making occurs transparently on a regular basis.
Artifacts to record critical information for current and future use.
2.)   Change and Communications Management
Stakeholder action plans to promote leadership engagement and advocacy.
Change impact analysis to capture the organization’s perception of the change, threats to success, and critical inputs from which to build communication and training plans.
Communication campaign designed to establish a message drumbeat and consistent information cascade.
Key communication messages for this initiative to provide consistency and coordination across other strategic initiatives


3.)   A Skills and Transition plan created after analyzing the current and future state operating models in order to establish a transition path to close the skills and behavioral competency gaps


4.)   A Knowledge Management framework for the ongoing and sustainable management of the new Operating Model with the purpose of capturing formal and informal knowledge and providing support for communities of practice.

By taking an integrated approach, we were able to empower the client to continue their Product Mindset journey years into the future. In short, we facilitated the client’s transformation to re-imagine how to manage their products, services, and the capabilities that support them, as well as monitor their overall and ongoing competence in operating the Product Mindset Operating Model.