Why Your Productivity Hacks Don’t Hack It

Markovitz Consulting

You can read that version, with more links to related articles, here.) ———————————————————————————————————————————————————— Leaders in organizations are always seeking to improve employee productivity (including their own). In a related fashion, making downtime visible is equally helpful.

Product Roadmap Explained

Tom Spencer

In the context of project management, a roadmap can span across multiple timelines for continuous product development. Why do you need a product roadmap? A roadmap is crucial for visualizing a product’s strategy that is aligned with your business goals, while incorporating customer insights for future developments. The same goes for creating new products or services. They have designed a product roadmap as below: Components of a Roadmap. Product Goal.


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Productivity Remains Weak; Spotlight on Retail Store and Trucking; Are Productivity Measurements Accurate?


Economists expected bounce in productivity, and got one, but it was a bit weaker than than the Bloomberg Consensus Estimate of 1.6%. A bounce back for output gave first-quarter productivity a lift, up a quarter-to-quarter 1.3 Looking at year-on-year rates, growth in productivity is very slight at only plus 0.3 The average annual rate of productivity growth from 2007 to 2014 was revised down to 1.3% Productivity even dipped below zero for three quarters in 2013.

Crowdsourced Products Sell Better When They’re Marketed That Way

Harvard Business

Companies are increasingly using crowdsourcing to identify promising ideas that they can translate into winning new products. Our past research highlights the promise of this trend: In the case of a major baby products firm, for example, the best user-generated ideas identified were even more innovative and provided better benefits to the consumer than the best ideas generated by the firm’s designers. We then manipulated the POP display as the product was introduced to market.

Profit Sharing Boosts Employee Productivity and Satisfaction

Harvard Business

Until the latter part of the 20th century, firms were organized in a top-down hierarchical fashion using production techniques that broke down job tasks into their smallest components — what came to be known as a Taylorist or Fordist method of production. Why link financial incentives to groups, teams, or organizational performance when production wasn’t set up in that way? And, more specific, does it boost productivity? Juan Díaz-Faes for HBR.

2017’s Top-Performing CEO on Getting Product Right

Harvard Business

Successful fast fashion takes much more than speed, he says. Isla discusses aspects of the company’s business model: source close to headquarters, entrust store managers with product orders, and treat what’s sold in stores and online as one stock. Pablo Isla, the CEO of Inditex, is No. 1 on Harvard Business Review’s “ The Best-Performing CEOs in the World 2017.

Chinese and American Consumers Have Different Ideas About What Makes a Product Creative

Harvard Business

When consumers believe a product is creative, they are more likely to like , share , and buy it. Jeffrey Loewenstein and I recently published a study examining the features that indicate whether a product is creative in the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. We found that the two countries had different views of what made a product creative. For example, the kind of product that an American loves and finds highly creative might seem trivial to a Chinese person.


Harvard Business

Like Apple, most consumer-centric companies deal with the dilemma of how to brand the next- generation of an existing product. Product upgrades make up the majority of corporate research and development activity. “There’s a lot of research about new-product branding, but as best as we could tell, nobody had looked closely at the issue of how to brand a successive generation,” Gourville says. Marketing Innovation Product development Analytics Sponsor Conten

PM Interview Question – What’s Your Favorite Product and Why

Tom Spencer

Like a consulting interview, a product manager (PM) interview consists of multiple parts, including a case study and a behavioral portion, which looks for communication, management, and prioritization skills. But what’s different is that it adds a twist by having product-related questions as well. Unsurprisingly, PMs should love products. They should be able to recognize and respect great products. Thus, it is vital to ask product-related questions in a PM interview.

PM Career Paths

Tom Spencer

Being a product manager requires taking responsibility. You are the ambassador of the product. You’re responsible for it from its first fuzzy idea, to concrete concept, through production, launch, and all the way to maturity stage. There are many paths to gaining these skills and earning the responsibility that come with being a product manager. Stepping into the Product Manager Role. Product Manager Career Paths. Chief Product Officer.

The Ansoff Matrix

Tom Spencer

THE Ansoff Matrix (referred to by some commentators as the Product/Market Expansion Grid) was developed by a Russian-American mathematician named Igor Ansoff , and first explained in his 1957 Harvard Business Review article entitled Strategies for Diversification. The Ansoff Matrix can help a firm devise a product-market growth strategy by focusing on four growth alternatives: Market Penetration, Market Development, Product Development, and Diversification.

How One Clothing Company Blends AI and Human Expertise

Harvard Business

An interface communicates the algorithms’ results along with more-nuanced data, such as the personal notes, to the company’s fashion stylists, who then select five items from a variety of brands to send to the customer. Second, companies can use machines to supercharge the productivity and effectiveness of workers in unprecedented ways. The fashion industry is no stranger to fast cycles of learning.

(Value Stream) Map Your Way to a Better Post-Covid Future

Markovitz Consulting

Value stream maps (VSMs) show both the material and the information flow in any kind of end-to-end process such as order to cash, or new product introduction. In total, the back and forth shipping of samples could add weeks to the product development timeline.

3 Ways to Make Time for the Little Tasks You Never Make Time For

Harvard Business

Yesterday I had to look up how much I had paid my virtual assistant last year in order to get the information to my accountant, so he could issue her tax forms in a timely fashion. No matter how productive we become, we’re never going to permanently rid ourselves of low-value work. Time management Productivity Digital Article

Creating the Diverse Organization: How to Thrive in a Complex World


And in the quest for focus, the conglomerate, with its seemingly cumbersome multidimensional business model, fell out of fashion—at least in developed markets. To do this, companies need to develop ways to serve different customer groups across a variety of regional markets with a multitude of products and services. Perspective Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Build Team Resilience: Work Together (Part 1)

Johanna Rothman

” Or, someone gets pulled off to work on production support issues and is no longer available to the team for weeks. Software product development is about learning , first. Shipping working product to gain more revenue.

When AI Becomes the New Face of Your Brand

Harvard Business

Indeed, Siri seems more persona than product. Humans are now training the Koko algorithm to respond more sympathetically to people who might, for example, be frustrated that their luggage has been lost, that the product they purchased is defective, or that their cable service keeps on going on the blink. Amazon, for example, recently added a camera to its Alexa/Echo platform so the company can use its AI technology to offer personality-driven fashion advice. Cat Yu for HBR.

Transforming Media Core Technology to Meet Digital Demands


Having reshaped the print media and music industries, digital disruption is now sweeping through the rest of media in similar fashion, rendering traditional video distribution models outmoded. Article Tuesday, September 06, 2016. Now, it’s TV’s turn. The industry is rife with talk of “cutters” (consumers who drop pay TV altogether), “thinners” (those who actively manage their cable bills to pay less), and “nevers” (consumers who see no need to sign up for pay TV in the first place).

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Why Coaching is the Secret Sauce of Leadership

Rick Conlow

They found that training alone increased productivity by 22.4%. Training plus coaching increased productivity by 88%! If you learn to coach well or even in an exemplary fashion, you will quickly separate yourself from all others.

Competitive Advantage in Consulting and in Life


Your career will be much more productive and successful if you can find a "game" (a profession) that plays to your strengths and competitive advantages, instead of one that constantly exposes your weaknesses. For example, I have two acquaintances who, in high school, both had an eye for fashion and design. The other (who was not nearly as academically talented) decided to pursue a career in fashion. She works for one of the major fashion labels.

Know Your Weaknesses


I’m terrible at attention to detail (it hurts my brain too much) and even worse at anything aesthetically oriented (anything from fashion to website design to creating visually impactful slides). When I buy a new product, the first thing I do is throw out the product manual.

3 Steps To Building A Stand Out Portfolio With Emma Sharley: Podcast #25

Consulting Success

She works with retail, technology, and lifestyle client companies on setting up market and brand strategies, brand positioning, transitioning markets, and marketing new products lines. Prior to beginning her successful consultancy, Emma worked in sports marketing, fashion retail marketing, and telecommunications with companies in England including Westfield, Diane Von Furstenberg, Westpac, and T-Mobile.

The Benefits of Taking a Slower Approach to Innovation

Harvard Business

In our experience, managers tend to focus their innovation efforts on processes that are either large in scale (new products and business models ) or swift in development (hackathons, rapid prototyping, or emerging platforms). It’s the realm of fashion houses that know to make fewer chokers and invest in more crop tops. Product development Experimentation Innovation Digital ArticlePaul Garbett for HBR.

Options for Post Consulting Careers


I imagine someone interested in product/marketing management is better off going into industry. Or are clients unhappy because your products stink? Or are retail partners selling the product in such a way that is somehow incomplete? Work in product management. Work for one of the major fashion designers in NYC. Ran a product management group at Paypal. a degree from the FIT - Fashion Institute of Technology (I think is the name) would be more credible.

Cracking Pricing Strategy Case Studies

Tom Spencer

The first option to price a product is to look at how much it costs the company and then to set a price by adding a markup so that the company earns a certain profit margin on each unit sold. Here are the typical questions you need to go through for cost-based pricing: What are the variable costs for the product you are pricing? and how much of the fixed costs should be allocated to the product you are working on vs. other products?

The consulting case study: What you need to know


Case studies are used to assess a range of skills which can broadly be summarised as your “commercial skill set” For consulting case studies, this will typically be assessing your ability to solve business problems in a structured, logical fashion, making reasonable commercial assumptions as you go along and using your mental maths ability to synthesise these assumptions to find the answer. Why are Case Studies used?

Understanding the Rationale


If your VP of engineering wants to do a complete technical redesign of your flagship product, you want to ask. Then I asked, "Do they go to Facebook to learn more about your products?" You want to do this in a step-by-step fashion. When you’re CEO, you’re in this paradoxical situation in which your direct reports often know a lot more than you do in their functional areas. This causes many first-time CEOs to stumble.

Combatting COVID-19 in Emerging Markets

Tom Spencer

When the COVID-19 crisis became evident in South Africa in mid-March, the South African government put strict lockdown measures in place, including school closures and store lockdowns which were accompanied by reducing the output of production facilities. Reading Time: 5 minutes.

3 Steps To Building A Stand Out Portfolio With Emma Sharley: Podcast #25

Consulting Success

She works with retail, technology, and lifestyle client companies on setting up market and brand strategies, brand positioning, transitioning markets, and marketing new products lines. It might be those looking to move into a new region, new market, launching new product line. I also have a startup in the retail technology sector, I’ve got a product that’s complementary to the consulting work I do. The products and services were developed from there.

Retail 100

Carol Wingard, Global Co-Head of the Industrials Practice and Managing Director at L.E.K. Consulting

The Source

It’s a career that has spanned two continents and which has resulted in Wingard becoming one of the key players in the male-dominated world of industrial products. At the root of Wingard’s success is old-fashioned hard work, an attribute that’s been in evidence since the earliest days of her career journey.… Stepping into L.E.K.’s s offices, situated in the heart of Victoria, London, there’s a palpable warmth to all the people we meet on our journey to the client suite.

Can Consulting Make a Positive Social Impact?

Tom Spencer

Social entrepreneurship combines the problem solving, product design, and strategic implementation associated with traditional entrepreneurial and consulting roles with large scale societal impact.

Small Steps or Big Steps: What’s the Right Way to Begin Improvement?

Markovitz Consulting

Trying to improve productivity in a process by 25% on first try is (generally) a recipe for failure and frustration—notwithstanding Byrne’s success with that approach. Paul Akers has done amazing work leading lean at FastCap in just this fashion. I’ve been struggling to resolve two conflicting facts: Science has shown that incremental change is both easier for people and more sustainable than dramatic change.

Five trends of future working


Technological advancement has reached an unseen height where workplaces and employment are no longer about the typical 9-5, linear path to promotion, but rather a path for extracting the greatest capabilities from employees as well as producing thought-provoking, functional, dynamic products/services. Companies that want to establish themselves as forward thinking versus old-fashioned, must employ individuals from all backgrounds. Workplaces are sacred.

Customer intent is a treasure trove of actionable data hiding in plain sight

1 to 1

Better insights = happy customers Luke Lee, CEO of PalaLeather , a fashion company and retailer, agrees that customer insights are essential.

Skip Engagment: Run ‘attitude adjustment’ sessions (starting with yourself).

Confessions of a Consultant

The currently fashionable way to do this (and management trends are a ‘fashion item’) is to secure employee engagement. But how then do we explain ‘high productivity’ in environments that are typically low engagement? Engagement is used as a proxy for productivity – as if the two terms were interchangeable. Like skinny jeans, the engagement fashion trend will eventually move on. Leaders Role: It’s OK to demand high performance.

Getting Buyer’s Journey Mapping Back On Track

Prudent Pedal

Buyer’s journey mapping has grown in importance for professional services firms as more firm solutions have become productized. Well, we’ve reached the point where Marketing has ruined a good thing once again.

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5 Surprising Findings About How People Actually Buy Clothes and Shoes

Harvard Business

Retailers and manufacturers are rushing out new products to keep pace with the leaders of fast fashion such as Zara, H&M, and Forever 21, which launch new fashions every week or so. Many manufacturers try to answer these questions using point-of-sale data, which often comes filtered by the retailers that gather the information; media coverage, which tends to focus on the new; and previous sales of their products, which reflect the past.

How are retailers responding to mobile shopping?


As consumers increasingly use their mobiles to become more knowledgeable about products - and even use their phones as an in-aisle companion whilst shopping in-store - the influence of mobile phones on shopping is something a consultant cannot ignore in their financial and business model advice. What’s more, making these reviews available in store can add to the social proof that products have been well received.

Big Data in Marketing – It Is Here To Stay

Tom Spencer

This is especially important for marketers whose job is to connect consumers and products. Product recommendations have been commonplace in most online shops such as Amazon for many years. Producers of consumer goods have been especially successful in developing and marketing new products using this approach. As a result of this marketing technique, L’Oreal has developed hugely successful products such as its “Wild Ombre” hair dye.

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The technology ratchet

Seth Godin Blog

Once people realize that they can make their own apps, write their own words, create their own movements, they don't happily go back to the original sources of controlled, centralized production. Fashion ebbs and flows, the tide goes in and it goes out, but some changes tend to flow in one direction Any useful technology that's successfully adopted by a culture won't be abandoned. Except by top-down force).