Step Three: Build a Team
Written By: Peter Connor

Step three in our series “Ten Steps to Drive a Connected Product Program,” looks at how to build a team with shared vision. Experience shows that building a team around business value increases project viability and attracts expert members. Recruit your internal team by using the same value principles you use with an external audience. Across the board, every member of the team should share a vision of how the project will increase efficiency, improve the customer experience, and drive revenue for the business, and have a thorough understanding of the impact on his or her area of responsibility.

  • Recruit a team from R&D, product marketing, sales, corporate marketing, support and finance.
  • Ask team to develop KPIs from their organizational perspective. This will help you measure the program after Launch.
  • Build two essential members into the team —Executive Sponsor (visibility) & Project Manager (momentum). Without exception, teams that made training a priority were able to fast-track adoption.

Your championship team begins with two essential members — the Executive Sponsor and the Project Manager. The degree to which the Executive Sponsor is actively engaged is a leading indicator of the visibility of the project. The Executive Sponsor’s role is to define initial project goals, attend important internal meetings, and events, champion the project across the organization, and communicate directly with employees.

The degree to which the Project Manager is actively engaged is a leading indicator of the success of the project. The lion’s share of the work will fall to the Project Manager, an all-encompassing role that requires a broad range of skills. If someone you know has the interpersonal skills to work across organizational levels, and has leadership traits that unite, inspire, organize, resolve, delegate, mentor and coach…with exemplary technical and communication skills to match…then hire that Project Manager!

To ensure that the effort will be given priority and focus within the organization, recruit a strong core team with members from sales and marketing, research and development, product management, technical support, customer service, and finance. They will help refine project objectives and scope, design internal roadmap and key performance indicators, and help drive training programs and launch. Consider that most organizations use Change Management Programs for project management — check with your Executive Sponsor to determine how this can serve as a springboard for a connected product program.

Consider This:  Many organizations have Change Management Programs (such as Lean Six Sigma) that can help advance your project through the organization. Check with your Executive Sponsor to see if you qualify.

Internal Considerations:

  • When recruiting an internal team, identify your own organization’s unique value perspectives. R&D will appreciate reduced design cycles as a result of first-hand information from customers. Sales will gain a competitive advantage by staying ahead of latest trends. Marketing will bridge the traditional gap with sales by developing a highly vetted program mapped to distinct buying personas and value drivers. Finance will appreciate cost savings from decreased field visits…and so on.
  • A key objective for the team is the development of a detailed training and launch plan, with each member actively participating in its execution. The correlation between employee training and program success is clear.
  • Ask your team for KPIs from their organizational perspective. This will help measure success of the program after launch.

External Considerations:

  • Without exception, teams that make training a priority are able to fast-track adoption. The launch of the program should coincide with the readiness of the service, sales, and marketing channels.
  • Both employees and customers will need multiple layers of communication and marketing support. Customer expectations should coincide with the services offered.
  • Maintain a value focus to ensure the project stays on track and leadership and customers remain engaged. Training and marketing are addressed in Step 5.

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Tags: CAD Retail and Consumer Products Connected Devices
About the Author Peter Connor

Peter has over 25 of years of technical experience in telecommunications and M2M/IOT. He has held technical leadership positions and worked with Fortune 500 clients to design and implement dozens of secure IOT solutions including: usage based insurance, smart connected products and remote service for: Medical, Enterprise storage, and ATM applications, asset tracking, government networks, industrial data analytics. At PTC he is responsible for Thingworx IoT management applications, sales enablement and product management: Peter holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Bridgewater State University, and a Master of Science in Administrative Studies from Boston College.