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TRIGGERS: The 7 Ts of Product-Led Transformation

By Adrienne Tan

A Product-Led Transformation cannot begin without action. There needs to be a catalyst, event or TRIGGER that fires up sufficient energy in an organisation to activate change. TRIGGERS can come from within the business or from outside of it.

What are some of the definitive market signals that can TRIGGER the organisation to transform its current way of operating?


Transformation is a necessary process in all organisations because technology and marketplaces are moving at an ever-increasing pace. It is no surprise that organisations have to keep up or perish.

As Product People, our role is to pay attention to internal and external triggers that may disrupt the way our organisation competes. More often than not, there are multiple triggers that indicate that we need to make a change in the way we interact and deliver value to the market.

Some of the triggers include:

Internal Triggers

  1. Declining Revenue Streams
    Existing products that are mature with diminishing revenue streams. The organisation needs a new way of creating market-centric products
  2. Founders Dilemma
    A Founder is usually the first product person in the company. When the organisation is on a growth trajectory where the founder needs to reduce or stop participation in the product work, the organisation needs a new way of operating.
  3. A Conscious Strategic Decision
    The organisation is looking to revitalise its business, and actively explores how other successful organisations operate in ambiguous environments to develop new products.
  4. Technical Debt
    The technical debt is making it difficult for the organisation to keep up with market demands, and the organisation needs to redevelop its technology to keep pace.
  5. Employee Retention
    Product people, particularly engineers, are leaving the organisation because they are unable to perform their roles without overcoming multiple hurdles.

External Triggers

  1. Competitor Threats
    More agile competitors are emerging and delivering more attractive products to the market, and the organisation needs a new way of operating to maintain its market position.
  2. New Investment
    The organisation receives new investment from investors, and is required to demonstrate a new way of operating.
  3. Lost Sales
    The organisation’s value proposition loses appeal, and consequently sales declines. It needs a new way of designing differentiated value propositions.
  4. A Pandemic
    The organisation does not have the flexibility to tackle unforeseen external challenges and needs to develop agility in its culture, systems and processes.
  5. Regulatory Changes
    The organisation is forced to change its way of operating because of legislative or regulatory changes.

In reality, there are multiple triggers. We need to pay attention, chart the signals, and work with our Executive Team to formulate a target for change; or be left behind.

It’s our responsibility as market-centred Product people, to stay alert, and prepare our organisations to interpret the triggers and be equipped for change. We have to avoid complacency and formulate a target for the change. When we’ve identified the source of the triggers, transformation requires Product people to be involved and work with others to decide what the future should look like, because the product should be at the core of any transformation process.

Product People and Product Thinking should either be integrated into a company-wide Transformation Program, or they should lead the transformation through a Product-Led Program. With either approach, Product should be central to the change, because without it organisations may build higher quality products, they may build products faster, but they may not necessarily build the right product experience for the right market.

As Product People, once we’ve identified the triggers, we have to deliberately prepare our response with a Portfolio or Product Vision and an implementable strategy, in order to galvanise the organisation with a convincing purpose for the necessary changes.


Want to improve your company’s chances of Transformation success by learning how others transformed their companies and teams using Product-Led techniques? The evidence shows that Product-Led organisations yield better financial results.

LTP DIGITAL 2021 is a one-day conference on May 26, 2021 that is all about how to become one of those organisations.


SPEAKING ON TRIGGERS:

Larry Diamond,
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zip Co Limited

Learn how Larry took Zip from a startup to an ASX200 company with a $6 billion valuation. 

How did Larry pay attention to the “Triggers” in the market that motivated Zip to become more product-led? His story will help you galvanise your organisation with a convincing purpose for change. If Larry can do it, you can too!