Happy New Year!  We hope that your holiday season was spent with family and friends and that you were able to reflect on everything you accomplished in 2021 while planning for an outstanding 2022.

As many of you know, I am a football fan and, as such, I spent part of the break watching the numerous college Bowl games that wrap-up the season.  While most of these games are meaningless exhibitions, I enjoy watching different teams play in neutral locations.  Of course, my favorite Bowl game is any that involves my University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.  While they don’t go to Bowl game every year, they’ve been on quite a run recently, making it to a Bowl game for five consecutive years.

A key part of their success is the culture that has been instilled by their coach, P.J. Fleck.  While P.J.’s energy and slogans can grate against some (including yours truly occasionally), I do think that he is authentic – he believes in his program and, as such, gets those in his program to believe.

Mike and PJ Fleck

One of these slogans is “The ball is the program”.  You can view P.J. speaking about the philosophy behind this saying here.  In short, you can’t win a football game without the ball.  The more you have the ball, the more opportunity you have to score.  If you lose the ball, you can’t score and if you can’t score, you can’t win.

There is an analogy to Product Development.  I am not one for slogans, but I would say, “The Product is the company”.  Until you have a product, you can’t get feedback, you can’t inspect and adapt, and, most importantly, you can’t realize any value for your users or customers.  In my experience, a lot of organizations focus on other items that, while product-related, aren’t the product.  For example, does the customer care about your organizational structure? Does a user care about the fact that you are a Python developer?  No – the customer only cares about the product and whether it solves a problem for them.  The Product is the company.

If you or your organization are struggling with your product focus, please give us a shout – we’d be happy to help.  You can view our offerings here.  Happy New Year!