ResourcesCase StudiesHealthcare Growth: Strategic Training Drives Culture Shift

Healthcare Growth: Strategic Training Drives Culture Shift

  • Client: Privately Owned, Healthcare Business and Data Automation Company
  • Location: Global
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Goal: Implement consistent product process to enable more strategic product teams and executive alignment

Key Benefits Achieved

Established a standardized Executive Review Board process that enables visibility and alignment on product decisions with executives.

Assembled a Product Operations group to run the new process and ensure key deliverables were implemented consistently, creating a clearer strategic vision.

Enabled Product Managers to be more strategic by self-managing their OKRs and KPls tuned to their new process.


On a mission for an operationally efficient healthcare supply chain, our Healthcare Data Automations client enabled healthcare organizations to improve patient care and maximize industry savings through their world-class, cloud-based supply chain technology exchange platforms, solutions, analytics, and services. Their ability to advance patient care for 5,000+ providers and cut billions in spending each year made them an asset to the healthcare community. This company’s customers rely on the platform’s secure healthcare-focused technology and comprehensive data to automate their business processes and to make more informed, timely, and fact-based decisions.

Thanks to their efforts in maximizing automation, efficiency, and accuracy of business processes, they have transformed how data automation is used in healthcare. For this company, inorganic growth through acquisition was an integral part of the growth strategy to scale and continue providing better solutions for healthcare organizations. But like any business undertaking an increasing number of acquisitions with multiple executives and teams across various business units, the resulting organization can be siloed and left working with fragmented product processes and strategies.

The Challenge

As each new acquisition was completed, the client grappled with diverse development teams using different tools and practices. Each addition created more business units that leveraged their unique process rather than working within an established standard. The lack of standardized methods and a cohesive culture on product strategy inhibited their ability to deliver innovative products aligned with business objectives on time or within budget.

To complicate matters further, they had no clear vision to lean on to influence product development and no unified means of supervising and formulating a product strategy that the executives could leverage to guide the company’s future. Where a product strategy did exist, it reflected incremental and innovative thinking from dozens of Product Managers, all working on individual projects that didn’t necessarily align with the company’s business goals and initiatives.

As each team was left to determine their preference for handling releases autonomously, products were incremental and often shipped late. The client saw their efforts driving up costs and putting the company at a competitive disadvantage. Additionally, the lack of consistent processes and stakeholder alignment led to increased stress on the team, taking a toll on employee morale.

After working with several consulting firms, problems persisted as these challenges proved difficult to tackle. The client sought a final partner who could work across the various executives and teams to create a more strategic and aligned product management function: Productside.

The Solution

As part of our commitment to drive, transform, and enable strong product management teams, Productside creates fully customized consulting engagements to improve outcomes in the unique needs of every client. The client chose Productside for our deep Product Management expertise, our commitment to becoming a long-term, trusted partner, and the proven success held with other large companies facing similar challenges.

As the client continued to expand through acquisition, it was essential to implement structure and best practices to guide the product development process and help Product Managers develop products that would drive the business forward while getting the executives aligned.

The company’s Chief Product Officer (CPO) had experienced the successes of a more strategic Product Management function, and he wanted to reflect that in this organization. To do so would require introducing just enough process to align and aim, but not so much as to burden the organization. The result would make Product Managers strategic, proactive, and responsible.

With the CPO’s sights on upping the game, Productside determined the need to first train the U.S. and EMEA teams on a shared vision of strategic Product Management. In collaboration with Productside, a plan was developed to:

  • Define their incremental (1.x) and innovative (MVP) products using a modified Lean Canvas to include OKRs and KPIs tuned to their process.
  • Determine a means for executives to have insight into product decisions and assurance that the product strategy was aligned to business goals.
  • Increase the confidence of the Product Managers in their ability to adhere to deadlines and plans.

Productside first trained the client’s Product Managers on The Optimal Product Process™ to align teams on a shared framework of phases and corresponding activities that each product should move through. Once adopted, teams better understood the importance of gates and how to advance their products to the next phase of the process, creating better visibility and alignment on product progress and goals.

Next, the teams learned to leverage one-page product proposal templates that provide an executive summary of a project, including objectives, customer impact, risk factors, and clearly defined boundaries such as KPls/OKRs and the target introduction date.

Productside also implemented an Executive Review Board on the Phase/Gate process — a product review process in which Product Managers communicate their project’s status and seek approval for their next steps. For Product Managers, this process focuses on outcomes, rather than outputs, to drive the success of their product in the market and ensure quality decisions are made to help achieve business goals. The review process provided executives with clear objectives and boundaries outlined in a simple proposal, so they could make rapid decisions about which projects to support based on their feasibility and alignment with the overall roadmap and corporate goals.

A Partner for Transformation

Over five months, Productside:

  • Trained every product professional with a Product Management title within the client’s initial kick-off teams, and additional stakeholders in Sales, Marketing, and Finance on The Optimal Product Management™ process.
  • Ran 3-day workshops to organize product roadmap items and develop multiple one-pager executive summaries for key products.
  • Executed an 8-hour integration with executives and performed a sample Phase/Gate exercise. We presented four projects and explained the roles and responsibilities of executives, Product Managers, and others for this part of the product development process.

The comprehensive training kicked off a cultural evolution, putting in place a repeatable and effective Product Management process for defining, developing, and executing a Product strategy. Additionally, the client:

  • Established a regular cadence for Executive Review Boards around the Phase/Gate process, enabling executives to provide feedback.
  • Assembled a Product Operations group to run the Phase/Gate meetings and ensure the process and one-page proposal summaries are implemented consistently.
  • Required Product Managers to self-manage to OKRs/KPIs using the one-page summaries.
  • This approach holds Product Managers accountable to be more strategic while giving all stakeholders a voice.

The Results

As a result of our engagement with the client, Product Managers are now supported In their efforts to deliver products that satisfy real customer problems, drive the business, and ship on time. The teams reported feeling more in-tuned to their customer’s needs in their practice to produce deliverables such as empathy interviews and persona builds. In addition, instating an effective review process to generate stakeholder alignment and buy-in on projects improved the team’s confidence to produce meaningful products.

According to the client’s Vice President of Product, Productside helped the company accomplish what other consultants couldn’t. “We had previously worked with McKinsey and PwC, trying to get our Product Management team to be more strategic, but nothing worked,” he said. “Productside was able to provide the output we needed, giving executives the right level of oversight and control over product development without heeding the progress and innovation of the Product organization.”

The client’s engagement partner, Productside Principal Consultant and Trainer Ken Feehan, remarked, “At each check-in with the client’s VP of Product, I can see the organization evolving. I see Product Managers building products that customers want to buy AND driving the execution of product development and the product launch to success. I also see their executives from around the company finally involved in product strategy decisions. It’s exciting to see these big wins and their impact to achieve the success they were reaching for.”

Do you want to achieve this kind of long-term success for your Product Management organization? Contact us to learn how.

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