High Performance Teams

San Juan Blue.jpg

Building High-Performance Teams

Building high-performance teams is not only desirable – it is essential for achieving innovation and speed.

Innovative cross-functional teams in technology companies often depend on individuals with highly technical, specialized skills. They’re on the edge, extending their disciplines where they haven’t been before. Teams like this require upper management support that enables their success. It does not need micromanagement – or its opposite, chaotic management that is no better than neglect.

What innovative product teams need is an appropriate, lightweight approach to project management, where the team and management collaborate to define the project’s parameters at the beginning of the process. These parameters – we call them boundary conditions – often include the budget, a timeline, a set of desired features, or product cost. With clear boundary conditions, defined by quantitative metrics, the team goes forth to invent, with the understanding that it will stay within these parameters.

Our core team model, built around boundary conditions for each project, with minimal senior management interference, create a culture of trust, creativity and innovation. Cross-functional teams, managed effectively, using boundary conditions, are essential for new product development speed and innovation.

Blog posts


Articles & Presentations

How to Create Clear Project Roles and Responsibilities (dZone)
Sorting out who does what on a project would appear to be pretty basic. Clear tasks, with clear responsibilities and deadlines, is Project Management 101. But in too many projects, it remains unclear who is responsible for a deliverable until it’s too late. The Circle Dot Chart addresses this issue. It’s a tool for getting clear on what deliverables are due, when, and who is responsible for them. 

Ten Questions to Answer Before Using Social Tools for Product Innovation (Innovation Excellence)
The effectiveness of social media for outbound marketing activities, i.e. getting the news out about new products offerings, and interacting with customers, is well known. But social media is also a tool for inbound marketing – for helping teams to understanding the customer requirements that become inputs for innovative products. 

Customer Collaboration and Product Innovation:
Using Social Networks to Extend the Product Team and Create a Competitive Advantage for Your Business
Enterprise social media has become a way of life in Marketing, customer support, human resources and now product development. Social media investment in product development is trending up. This presentation shows how to leverage social tools to boost product team innovation.

Learning From the Trenches: Organizational Challenges for Agile Teams (Presentation)
How teams use Agile approaches to improve performance and execute a product strategy. Agile is a way to create high performance teams that focus on creating product and customer excellence above all.

Program Management 2.0: Circle-Dot Charts & Communication (Presentation)
Knowing who does what in a team setting is more hard than it seems. The Circle Dot chart is a tool to help teams get on the same page and stay on it throughout a project.

Boundary Conditions Process
Brief video describes our boundary conditions and out-of-bounds processes as tools for team empowerment. This process allows teams to innovate without undue management interference.


Innovate Products Faster

Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development

The prevailing view of innovation is wrong. The traditional view of product development is that there is a fundamental dilemma between innovation and time to market. You can have one or the other, but not both. However, this is not a physical law like Newton's law or the second law of thermodynamics, but rather a short-sighted view of management that likes to use the excuse "one or the other, but NOT BOTH". 

John Carter and Jeanne Bradford wrote this book to demonstrate that companies can have both innovation and speed. It requires mastery of tools and methodologies that will support managers in making better decisions faster. We're not talking about heavy processes or systems that require large IT installations. We're talking about tools that can be quickly understood and implemented. They are tactically straightforward, but strategically powerful. They are battle tested in over 50 of our client engagements, with measurable successful outcomes. And, they can be applied across different industries and a wide range of organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. 

To address the need to get useful information in a condensed, straightforward manner, we've designed the book into "bite-sized" chapters. You don't need to read the entire book to realize its value. It's organized so the reader can quickly identify the tools they need to solve their biggest problems first. Using a novel graphical format, Innovate Products Faster provides a fresh perspective on how managers can deliver more innovative programs. In this world where we are overwhelmed by a high volume of information, have very limited time, and hold expectations of getting answers instantly, we are adverse to wading through hundreds of pages of text to mine out the few nuggets of needed information. 

This book concisely portrays the forty best practices that can be applied to predicting and then managing a project to successful conclusion. It is written and organized as a reference guide for readers to quickly identify specific areas of interest and includes completed examples of each practice as a head start. We have tried and tested each of these tools with managers from small startups to Fortune 500 companies (over 50 clients) and have applied our line management experience in the capacity of CTO, VP of Development, and Program Management (working for iconic brands such as Apple and Bose). 

Each best practice uses elegant graphics to illustrate the application of simple tools such as iPad Apps and Microsoft Excel. These downloadable apps are easy-to-customize, pre-filled templates, which are available with the purchase of the book. The existing competition in project management or product development (typically long, obsolete, and mainly text) lacks many of these key differentiators.

  • Easy-to-navigate, short, and focused chapters
  • Rich graphical tools for solving problems
  • Downloadable software templates/apps
  • Modern methodologies (Web 2.0, offshoring, Agile, etc.)

View All Tools from Book →