Product Portfolio Management in Small Software Product Businesses
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Product Portfolio Management in Small Software Product Businesses A Tentative Research Agenda. Supervisor: Prof. Casper Lassenius. 24.-25.5.2004 Jarno Vähäniitty Helsinki University of Technology Software Business and Engineering Institute (SoberIT) http://www.soberit.hut.fi/.

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24.-25.5.2004 Jarno Vähäniitty Helsinki University of Technology

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24 25 5 2004 jarno v h niitty helsinki university of technology

Product Portfolio Management in Small Software Product Businesses

A Tentative Research Agenda

Supervisor:

Prof. Casper Lassenius

24.-25.5.2004

Jarno VähäniittyHelsinki University of Technology

Software Business and Engineering Institute (SoberIT)

http://www.soberit.hut.fi/


This research agenda is about

This Research Agenda is About...

  • The state-of-practice of product portfolio management and related problems & challenges

  • The helpfulness of state-of-the-art literature for solving the problems & challenges found

  • Identifying and closing gaps between existing literature and practitioners’ needs


Portfolio management in small companies why needed why difficult

Portfolio Management in Small Companies – Why Needed & Why Difficult?

  • Portfolio mgmt means

    • Selecting and prioritising products and/or features based on perceived costs, rewards and risk

    • Reducing risk through having a diverse and balanced portfolio of revenue sources

Question: How can a small company actually achieve this?(e.g. multiple products or product lines???)


Reducing risks through a portfolio of different types of development effort

Platform development

ProductDevelopment

Application development

Reducing Risks through a Portfolio of Different Types of Development Effort

  • Problems:

    • Resources are shared  ”single project” decisions ripple across the portfolio

    • A common understanding of the portfolio missing

    • Unclear and shifting priorities

      • Fire-fighting  portfolio decisions by project management

      • Overbooking of resources, causing some important activities to be neglected

The ”real” question:

How to actually manage such a portfolio?

Tailoring

Deliveries

Consultancy


Why is answering this important

Why is Answering this Important?

  • Portfolio management crucial to product-oriented SW companies long-term success (e.g. Cusumano 1995)

  • Small companies need support for deliberate and systematic product development decision-making (Berry 2002, Crowne 2002, Vähäniitty 2002)

Platform development

How to actually manage such a portfolio?

Application development

Tailoring

Deliveries

Consultancy


A gap in theory

A Gap in Theory

  • Software engineering (SE)

    • Primarily technical(Glass et al. 2002)

    • Viewpoint of individual development projects

  • New Product Development (NPD)

    • Proven models for portfolio management(e.g. Cooper et al.)

    • Based on assumptions that are invalid for the context

      • Dedicated resources

      • Senior management not involved in hands-on work

      • Resource constraints not ”absolute”


Research problem

Research Problem

  • How should product portfolio management be implemented in small software product businesses?

  • Specifically, how should the contextual differences be accounted for?


My previous work

Reported in "Pacing Software Product Development: A Framework and Practical Implementation Guidelines". Rautiainen, K., and C. Lassenius (eds.) Helsinki University of Technology Software Business and Engineering Institute Technical Reports 3. Helsinki, 2004

My Previous Work

  • A model for implementing portfolio management

  • Developed together with three small product-oriented companies

    • Case studies

      • Interviews & regular discussions w/company personnel

      • Participation in real meetings

      • Joint problem-solving

  • Experiences support the practical utility of setting up portfolio management in small companies


Up next

Up Next

  • Continue developing the model

    • Keep observing the original three companies

    • Deploy & refine the model with four new case companies

    • More detail on how to do long-term product and release planning

  • Test the model with a controlled experiment

    • Undergraduate students solving case assingments

  • Report the experiences


24 25 5 2004 jarno v h niitty helsinki university of technology

Thank You for Your Attention

Questions & Discussion


A model for implementing portfolio mgmt for shared resources doing time paced development

2 weeks

Portfolio control points

Target spending levels (example %)

Fire Brigade

Portfolio Reviews

Roadmap Revision

A Model for Implementing Portfolio Mgmt for Shared Resources doing Time-Paced Development

Platform development (20%)

Application development (30%)

Deliveries (10%)

Tailoring (20%)

Body shopping (20%)


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