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Posted by Tom Grant on February 3, 2009
Saeed asks a great question: Why not have Development report to Product Management? PM is supposed to own the business argument for what Development is doing. Why not, therefore, make the development team formally accountable to the people who are supposed to give thumbs up or thumbs down to what the developers are doing?
Saeed is asking about the pros and cons of that arrangement, but undoubtedly he's urging us to question the unquestioned assumptions about technology companies. Provocative language like this has an old vintage. For example, a couple of centuries ago, the Enlightenment thinker Denis Diderot, trying to get shake up his readers' attitudes about the divine right of kings, said, "The arbitrary rule of a just and enlightened prince is always bad." Zing!
I urge you to read the comments section of Saeed's post. Here, I'll add a few thoughts of my own:
The most important reason to take Saeed's question seriously is the high cost of making bad product decisions. Buyers were already becoming more discriminating; now, with the economic downturn, technology companies can afford even less to have Development working in its walled garden, only emerging occasionally to deliver some basket full of things that people on the outside may or may not want.
If shortening the cycle of market testing product testing will only happen with radical alterations to the structure and operations of technology companies, then maybe it's worth taking Saeed's question very seriously.
[Cross-posted at The Heretech.]
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