if you choose innovation, you can't outsource

Johanna Rothman reminds us that development doesn't follow a formula. Creating great products is still an art, not a science. Throwing coders at it won't do the job.

She writes, "You can choose to turn your products into commodities or you can innovate. If you choose commodity, then select the cheapest labor market--because it doesn't matter. But if you choose innovation, you can't outsource. You can't define all the requirements and hand them off to anyone in a highly innovative product--requirements definition and product development have to be a joint exploration--and you can't do that when the definers and the developers (and testers) don't sit near each other. You can't wait for a product to be done--you need to see the product unfold and adjust the product (or the project) to accommodate the things you forgot."

Innovative products require collaboration between the members of the product team: architect, developers, product manager, QA, doc, and others. Everyone on the product team has to understand your discipline and the industries that you serve. If you just want a "me too" product, then outsourcing may be for you.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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