Disruption. It happens in every industry. It could manifest itself in the form of new competition, or new market trends, or more likely with new technology. Part of the role we serve as Product Management leaders is to monitor what is happening externally to understand how these changes factor in to our worlds.
Ultimately two things contributed to this post this morning. First, I heard a speaker use the phrase that became the title of this post … uncertainty is a certainty. Or in a more familiar lingo … nothing is certain except change. Second, I finally circled back to an article I noticed a few weeks ago on the Strategy & Business website titled a Strategists Guide to Blockchain. The reality is the change disruption brings contributes to uncertainty. So as Product Managers, what should our response be?
Back in the fall of 2014 I posted an article titled Adapt or Die. In it, I made three points about the nature of a disruptive/high risk initiative:
- It is going to stretch you (and your organization) beyond your comfort zone.
- It will force you to change the way you have done things in the past.
- Embracing the changes will make it fun!
The topic of Blockchain certainly validates these points. What I really appreciated about this article was the objective stance the authors took … neither endorsing nor condemning it. In situations where trust is at a premium, they not only acknowledge the potential of distributed ledgers, but also the uncertainty.
I concur, and honestly I don’t yet know enough to argue for or against the Blockchain movement. I’ve read both sides of the debate … on the PRO side – more efficient, more secure, more reliable, and faster. On the CON side – so new, so complex, so prone to change, and risky because it isn’t regulated. But I would be remiss not to acknowledge it could become a game changing force in the industry I serve.
So I owe it to the role I serve to be informed. And if you are in Product Management, so do you. I like the advice the authors give, as well as the 4 step strategy guide towards the end of the article.
Strategists take note: Proceed deliberately. Don’t try to convert existing systems to blockchain initiatives right away. Rather, explore how others might try to disrupt your business with distributed ledger technology, and how your company could use it to leap ahead instead. Put one or two pilot projects into place. In all cases, link your investments to your value proposition, and give your business partners and your customers what they want most: speed, convenience, and control over their transactions. Develop a robust strategy, one in which your company thrives whether blockchain is transformative or not.
- Step 1: Find specific opportunities.
- Step 2: Explore feasibility and readiness.
- Step 3: Put your prototypes to work.
- Step 4: Scale your efforts appropriately.
Uncertainty and disruption are coming … it may be in the form of Blockchain … it may take another form. What is your response?