This IDC Perspective helps CIOs understand why IT organizations need to make the shift to product organizations, what a product organization is and how it works, and how CIOs can make the shift. Leading the IT organizations to work like a digital start-up has become a mantra for many CIOs as they adopt Agile/DevOps, lean start-up, design thinking, and other practices commonly used by digital luminaries. Yet CIOs sometimes overlook the key ingredients of the "product organization": product mindset, culture, and operation. While start-ups and their CEOs are obsessed with creating the best, most competitive, and even disruptive products, IT units, in contrast, often use traditional project thinking and practices to produce their products and then wonder why the results are suboptimal.
"The shift from a project- to product-driven organization is more than just a nomenclature change," says Marc Strohlein, adjunct research advisor with IDC's IT Executive Program (IEP). "It requires new development practices, new IT roles and skill sets, organizational culture changes, customer intelligence and focus, empathy and, above all, product thinking and product mindset."