Slaying the dragons - Alithya Academy POPM!

Published May 26 2021
Tara Lachapelle, Product Coach
Tara Lachapelle
Product Coach
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Alithya Academy POPM! training program helps clients develop efficient product strategies

 By the time a product comes to market, its entire path should be plotted out as part of a strategy that addresses key questions about its targeted market, the competition, the value proposition, the business goals of the company, and much more. Alithya’s Academy understands the steps to a successful product lifecycle, and an agile approach can help build a product strategy capable of slaying even the toughest dragons!

To help companies achieve their product strategy goals, Alithya’s Academy has designed a Go POPM! Bootcamp course designed specifically for people who already have a solid foundational grasp of the PO role within the SCRUM team (see our GoPO training to learn these concepts!). Go POPM! Bootcamp, the dynamic 3-day training course immerses participants into a simulated product where LEAN Startup principles are applied to help guide them to make product decisions, while staying flexible and reducing the risks and costs associated with waterfall methods. Our engaging approach focuses more on the practical than the theoretical, ensuring that participants can quickly apply their newly acquired knowledge to real products in their universe. Alithya’s coach-trainers help participants to think outside of the box to understand how a product strategy is built, and to develop the agile reflexes necessary to achieve their goals. By providing teams with product cases that take them outside of their areas of expertise, and by implementing LEAN startup methods, the exercise helps POs and PMs to understand the critical steps that should be taken prior to reaching a product backlog.

Go POPM! Bootcamp begins with teams comprised of colleagues from different or the same departments of the same company, or a diverse mix of individuals from multiple companies. Each team is presented with a fictitious product, supporting statistics, a defined need, and a client request. On the first day of training, team members rely on their individual expertise, their instincts, and the data provided to them by Alithya coach-trainers in order to conduct Riskiest Assumption Testing (RAT), where the most important element of a product’s its potential success is identified. Next, each team conducts 2-4 interviews within their key market obtain real-world answers that will validate their initial assumptions. However, statistically speaking, approximately 90% of training teams tend to be a little bit off course at that point, showing participants just how important it is to include real users in our product strategy analysis.

With information obtained through interviews, and a set of validated and/or discarded assumptions, the teams then take a step back to evaluate the best direction for their product to take. The team then advances the process towards building a mock-up, identifying a Minimally Viable Product (MVP), and building a roadmap for its development. By applying LEAN methods to the process, participants are encouraged to begin as small as possible, to focus on components that generate the most immediate value, and to test, test, test to ensure that they have made the right choices. The training program teaches that it’s ok to take a risk, as long as that risk is aligned with real-world feedback, and that you remain flexible enough to pivot when necessary.

With a product strategy in hand, teams are ready to face their toughest test yet…stepping into the fire of the dragon’s den! At the end of the training, teams present their product strategy to our Dragon Committee, comprised of select individuals from the business and IT world. Based on the format of the popular Dragon’s Den television series, our dragons rates the team’s product pitch based on 5 primary criteria, including the vision, communication, methodology, business value, and human considerations. All team members must participate in the sales pitch in a collaborative 30-minutes-or-less explanation of the rationale behind their approach and their product vision.

Go POPM! training from Alithya’s Academy reinforces the fact that close collaboration between all product stakeholders, each with unique perspectives, contributes to a more holistic overview of the process. Once participants have navigated our dragon’s den, the agile and LEAN approach that they have engaged in provides them with a framework that can be applied to any product or digital transformation project with just a few contextual tweaks.