5 Stages of Product Culture Maturity. What stage are you at? Quiz yourself!
Assess your company product culture maturity with a 10-minute quiz, which measures five stages of maturity, including your strategy, practices, structure, and innovation levels.
👋 Hey! My name is Piotr, and welcome to my newsletter on the building blocks needed for a successful tech product company.
The Product Culture Maturity Model evaluates your company's product culture maturity by determining its current maturity out of 5 stages.
The 5 stages of product culture maturity are:
🔴 Missing - Good product practices are not existing or are being ignored.
🟠 Limited - Good product practices are uncommon and often done carelessly without considering their significance.
🟡 Emerging - The company has embraced an agile mindset, appointed product leaders, and increased release frequency.
🔵 Integrated - Companies have the right roles, structure, and process. Positive outcomes are happening, but there is no consistency.
🟣Consistently delivering value - Companies innovate on behalf of the customers and achieve consistent and exceptional product outcomes.
Factors in Product Culture Maturity
Improving product culture maturity requires increasing maturity across several different factors, including:
Practices and processes
People & Structure
Companies must progress in all these dimensions to reach high levels of product culture maturity.
Five Stages of Product Culture Maturity
Here’s a more detailed listing of all stages:
Stage 1 - Missing 🔴
At this stage, the company either isn't aware of good product practices or thinks they don't matter. The strategic context is missing, teams release features rarely (every couple of months), and product metrics are not moving in the right direction (if measured).
👉 To progress from this stage, organizations should focus on the following:
Understand the benefits of shaping mature product culture (in short - better products = more happy customers = better business results)
Understand the principles and best practices used by the most successful product companies (here are more than a hundred best practices I recommend)
Stage 2 - Limited 🟠
At this stage, the company most likely adopted an agile framework like Scrum to their development teams. It still runs like a feature factory. There is no cohesive strategy. Stakeholders are still running the product roadmap, while teams are responsible for releasing features and moving to the next thing on the roadmap.
👉 To progress from this stage, organizations should work on the following:
hiring and establishing product leaders (product management, engineering, product design)
changing the way teams deliver (more frequent, smaller increments)
Stage 3 - Emerging 🟡
At this stage, the company most likely adopted an agile mindset, hired leaders of the product organization (product management, engineering, product design), and switched to more frequent release cycles.
👉 To progress from this stage, companies should:
bring product trio to all teams and assign them product goals
empower product teams (giving them autonomy limited only by goals and strategy)
Stage 4 - Integrated 🔵
At this stage, the company has made good progress on most of the building blocks of the right product culture:
Strategic Context is defined
Teams have solid foundations for doing discovery and delivery
Teams are staffed with the right roles
Teams are empowered and are assigned product metrics to move
Teams start to deliver positive outcomes, but there needs to be more consistency, and innovation levels are not quite there.
👉 To progress from this stage, companies should:
work out the shared values and operating principles
Increase cross-functional alignment between product and other departments
Stage 5 - Consistently delivering value🟣
Companies consistently innovate on behalf of the customers and achieve exceptional product outcomes. The organization is aligned and can quickly validate ideas with customers and deliver solutions to customers consistently. There is a handful of top companies that operate at that stage.
Progressing Through Each Stage
A realistic goal, regardless of your current level, is to advance to the next level. Don’t try to jump through a few stages. It takes at least a few quarters (often years) to progress from one stage to another. It also takes effort to stay at the current stage because; you can go back to a lower maturity stage as your company scales up.
Evaluating Your Company’s Product Culture Maturity
It's essential to assess a company’s product culture maturity from all angles. This means checking work practices, talking with the people involved, understanding their operating principles, and reviewing processes, structure, and deliverables.
👉 Self-assessment quiz
A good first step for assessing the stage your company is in is to take a 10-minute quiz. I find it an excellent way to spark some conversations.
Knowing where your organization stands regarding product culture maturity is vital. You'll be able to see what you're doing right, what you need to work on, and what improvements you can make. This knowledge helps turn product culture into a part of your organization's DNA so that good practices stick around.
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