When Would Your Organization Need Product Consulting?
4 Jul 2023|Product
Whether you are leading a newly-formed startup or leading a large corporation, product management is a clear need to ensure you can build the right products, at the right time, and at the right place. Fulfilling this particular need can be done in a couple of ways, either you hire an in-house product team or you hire a product consulting team. The best option to choose would depend on a lot of factors, such as the timing, the scale of the organization, or the product profile compared to the organizational portfolio.

The Case for Companies without Product Team(s)

Product Management is a role that had arguably started in 1931 at an FMCG company called Procter & Gamble (I say arguably since in aerospace, the Wright Brothers unofficially applied lean product development methods during the early 1900s). But back then, there were not many companies installing product managers in their organization. This has since changed especially after the startup boom, when suddenly lots of people are familiar with the term product management.
Hiring your first product team member is one of the most crucial processes in transitioning to a product oriented organization. You will want to find a team member that you can afford, but have enough experience to independently deliver tangible impact as soon as possible (for you physics enthusiasts, this means that we need a high enough v0 or initial velocity). Therefore, it is not recommended that your first product hire be a fresh graduate or early level product manager.
For companies with the right budget, securing such profiles should be possible. But if you are just starting out or your company is at least in its infancy, such leverage might not always be available. But this does not mean you should settle for lesser options.
Enter product consultants into the equation. They usually consist of people with loads of experience in building great products in a variety of industries. The catch is that they are usually available for hire by way of hourly rates. From my experience, paying junior product team members for their full value often lacks the potential outcomes of paying journeyman product people for only a part of their capacity. Hiring a product consulting team for a few hours of the week should give your company that much needed v0 on the market, without actually exceeding your budget.

The Case for Companies with Product Team(s)

Hiring product consultants to cover for having no in-house product teams is a no brainer decision. The logic of business will always drive us to create the best opportunity to get ahead of the others with as little resources as possible. But this does not restrict the fit for product consulting as exclusively suited for companies without product teams.
In fact there are two clear-cut scenarios where hiring product consultants can do wonders to companies already employing product teams, and they are:
When your company is an already established player on the market, but are planning to expand through the creation of a new product, you would logically consider a boatload of factors. It must be a priority for any organization to predict the return on investment prior to putting resources into an initiative. Failure to do this may result in less effective and less efficient outcomes, which would be something that organizations tend to regret at the end of the day.
However, predicting such outcomes is more often than not, very tough to pull off. The fact is that by the time we do the analysis, the degree of uncertainty surrounding us would still be very high. This is the reason why exploring new opportunities can sometimes be risky.
Hiring full time product people to explore the opportunity might not always be the best option since you probably do not know how sustainable the opportunity would be to keep feeding the dedicated team. The better option would be to find product teams that can be hired on a temporary basis but can deliver whatever is needed straight out of the gates. If the opportunity turns out to be sustainable, then you may want to plan sourcing a dedicated team to man the domain in the long run. But if the opportunity turns out to be a dud, well you would not have to deal with paying off a team to do nothing since the product consultants can just be dismissed once their contractual completion terms have been met.
With a breadth of knowledge, competences, and experience gathered from a variety of projects and industries, product consultants are usually very effective at sharing them. Their ability can stretch from simply using their expertise, to actually transferring them to your in-house team. They can also convey their knowledge through different approaches from teaching in classrooms to even more personal forms like mentorship.
As digital transformation consultants at ARKETIPE, one of our focuses is on how to ensure our clients can deliver the best products for their market. Therefore it is one of our strongest suits to fulfill organizational needs such as the ones explained in this article. For more on this topic and other inquiries, please do not hesitate to reach out to us from our company website or our social media accounts at Linkedin and Instagram.

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