Global Product Development Lifecycle

Global Product Development Lifecycle

For the past 18 months, I’ve been fortunate in my role at Pearson as Director of the Global Product Development Lifecycle. I’m lucky to be part of an extremely experienced and passionate team who believe in their goal. Together we have created a powerful system. We are also all fortunate to sit within the worlds largest Publisher and Education provider at a time when this environment is experiencing huge shifts from Print to Digital.

Pearson is an organisation looking to achieve great things and make a real impact to on the world of education and learners. This is not a marketing message, this is my personal view from my own observations, working with people on a daily basis developing todays and tomorrows educational products. They are really practicing what they preach and have a huge investment in really pushing to produce the most efficacious products.

When you think of a Product Lifecycle, you might think of the linear path of a product from an idea, through to the last sale or when the support contract expires since the last sale. A Product Lifecycle in this sense, simply overlays stages to a products life at a high level. In our definition, this is not the case.

The Global Product Lifecycle which we have created is much more than that. It’s a non-linear framework which deliberately embeds a culture of continuous learning, adoption of Agile principles and practices, embeds Lean Startup’s hypotheses driven experimentation using Build-Measure-Learn practices, includes strategic investment gates. This aims to encourage product teams to ask themselves key questions about the learners and customers, helping them decide whether to pivot, stop or persevere and connects all the enabling functions of the organisation through a deliberate community. We also deliberately structure and promote serendipity which looks to reduce waste, align goals and increase innovation. The Product Lifecycle for us, has therefore become a framework to provide portfolio insights, a framework for knowledge sharing, a community of practices which spread across domains and a framework which helps us make insightful strategic decisions across the organisation. For this to be effective, we have deliberately embraced flexible principles and deliberately focus on Culture,Strategy, Outcomes and Principles.

Implementing a Global Product Lifecycle across a company which spans over 80 countries and has over 44k employees is no small feat. We are learning through application and this is providing huge value which we iterate on. So far we have seen profound effects, which are really help the organisation see and understand it’s portfolio allowing much more visibility over Core, Adjacent and Transformational investments. This lens allows the organisation to strategically respond to change intelligently and quickly. The Learn Fast culture promoted within product development adopting Lean Startup and Agile practices also allows the organisation to broaden the idea funnel without having to increase investment spend.

Pearson Innovation Funnel

We hope to share our journey and learnings as we progress forward with this. If you are interested in hearing more, reach out or look out for our public presentations.


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