The company is a medium sized company within the market of electrical charging of heavy vehicles. The Charging market is growing rapidly, but the company’s CEO knew they had internal challenges in their ability to deliver and grow as fast as the market, hence he engaged with Spark. The company had gone through a period of acquisitions and significant head-count growth. The product strategy had misalignments and it was challenging to make full use of the people in terms of speedy R&D and launching products to the market. Becoming a product-company was far in the distance, as they built and released customed products to individual customers. As a result, the company experiencing quality issues in the field, leading to an overall slow and inefficient product development.
The CEO was keen to identify and break down the obstacles in the company. He sensed a lack of engineering proficiency, a dated ‘ways-of-working’ and the inability to scale. Opportunities in the EV Charging market were at risk, so change was in order for the company.
The Spark Engagement
Spark was engaged to help the company increase the output and efficiency of the R&D and engineering teams, and to start the transformation into a product company. Spark’s assignment meant working closely with the executive management team to establish a more product-focused approach, ways-of-working and mindset.
The main task was to ensure that the R&D teams became efficient and one-company-oriented, rather than working as separate entities (un-integrated acquisitions) without proper governance. A key part was to establish a shared Product-Led vision rather than the per project, per customer focus that dominated and prevented proper scaling of the R&D efforts.
Based on the performed assessment, a small Spark-team carried out a partial Product-Led Transformation™ focusing on the R&D and Product Management areas of the company.
The Spark team designed a Transformation project with the company consisting of three major workstreams;
- Critical work processes – focused on R&D improvements and a few directly related functions like manufacturing and Product Management
- R&D fundamentals – improved testing, dev process etc
- Product Management basics (product definition, requirements handling, roadmaps).
Spark led the transformation over a 7-month period working hands on and shoulder to shoulder with the team. Collectively we achieved the following:
- Established the “product company” idea instead of “string of projects” idea.
- Established the clear role of Product Management, the basic deliverables (roadmaps, requirement planning, etc) and the critical relation to dev teams and other company functions (including Executive Management).
- Established common dev process across previously virtually independent R&D units under a recently hired experienced R&D manager.
- Product Definition completed, structured Product Roadmap and Life Cycle stages implemented for clarity in entire organization.
- Improved WoW related to customization projects, affecting tenders and sales activities which previously had severely affected the overall R&D output in terms of new products.
- Design-for-Manufacturing process introduced across all units for quality, timing and cost reasons.
- Testing structure developed. Testing basics (materials, space, automation etc) established, minimizing the risk of avoidably quality issues reaching the customers.
- Drastic reduction of active product variants possible to offer in Sales, securing a better focus on the new and competitive products launched.
During the 7-month engagement, the targets for the partial Product-Led Transformation™ (within development and product management) were achieved. The efforts drastically sharpened the R&D function in the company, bolstered the Product Management leadership, enabling them to become a product-company.
The transformation affected other areas of the company, which were able to introduce vital improvements in how they worked. In our experience, in competitive market conditions, ALL functions in a company depend and rely on each other. Improvements in one area leads to positive ripple-effect throughout the company. The company is set to scale and be a strong contender in the charging market.