The Project to Product Transformation
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Practical Guidance from Fourteen Enterprise Journeys
The Project to Product Transformation
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Practical Guidance from Fourteen Enterprise Journeys
About this forum paper

Over the last couple of years, the DevOps Enterprise Forum has written guidance on transforming businesses through the understanding and reconciling of value streams with papers like Value Stream Architecture: Creating an Architecture to Connect the Dots in DevOps and Moving from Project to Product: Modernizing Traditional Enterprise Operating Models. These papers provided guidance on product transformation from a theoretical perspective but lacked real-world advice to help practitioners apply the guidance. Instead of another paper on why, what we need now is more guidance on how.

This year, we felt it was important for us to put our money where our mouth is. We used the decades of experience from our authors and peers at the DevOps Enterprise Forum to glean as much as we could about the do’s and don’ts of enterprise product transformation, and we compiled that knowledge into something digestible and applicable to you and your organizational transformation.

The target audience for this paper is leaders at any level of the enterprise who are driving said transformational change—more specifically, transitioning enterprise IT from a traditional project operating model to a product operating model. Transformations that shift from project to product require changes at every level and in every corner of the enterprise. If you are a leader trying to drive a product transformation in your organization, this paper is for you.

To gather information that is both relevant and that has been proven successful, we interviewed industry thought leaders across fourteen large enterprises who successfully drove product and technology transformations. These leaders had amazing insights from their successes and failures in moving organizations from project to product at scale. We took the enlightening moments from those interviews and broke the learnings and recommendations down into exercisable guidance. Through the interview process, we noticed similarities and themes that formed the main structure of this paper. The interviews conducted intentionally spanned a breadth of industries to demonstrate the applicability of the product operating model in any industry.

The companies assessed span the following industries: retail, banking, airline, telecommunications, apparel, accessories, sports equipment, financial services, insurance, technology, food and beverage, and medical software.

In the following sections, there is a distinct hierarchy of relationships within our guidance. The transformation is broken into domains as well as different phases or periods of the transformation, which we call stages. These segments contextualize the struggles and hurdles that occur at different times during the transformation and within each of those stages. We also took the learnings from our interviews and created straightforward guidance we call indicators.

Table of contents
01   Introduction
02   Product Transformation Domains
03   The Seven Domains
04   Transformation Implementation
05   Business & Technology Synchronicity
06   Product Taxonomy
07   Workforce and Talent
08   Funding Model
09   Architecture
10   Culture & Leadership
11   Case Studies
DevOps Enterprise Forum

Since 2015, IT Revolution—founded by author and researcher Gene Kim—has been assembling the DevOps Enterprise Forum in Portland, Oregon, with the goal of identifying and creating written guidance around the top problems facing the community.

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