Internal Product Development by Lucia Adams

Developing influence across an organisation allows you to drive products – and transformation – forward. In this ProductTank London talk, Lucia Adams goes through examples and learning from her own experience (including all the times she got it wrong) as she offers her personal framework for accelerating change in business.

“How do you embody change?” is the go-to question for Lucia in her workplace and her mind. Lucia coaches organisations across various industries in digital transformation and business change and is no stranger to solving challenging problems and difficult stalemates.

In 2002, she huddled into a “bunker room” at The Times to rethink the direction of the newspaper as it moved from a print to a digital model. Her team suggested a paywall, but it was hard to get everyone on board; the situation required a re-evaluation of the of the old “command and control” mindset before any change could take place. According to Lucia, getting people to “have skin in the game, to contribute ideas, to help bring XYZ to life” was the key.

She explains The Times paywall project through the lens of change theory.

Change Theory: The Emotional Rollercoaster of the Paywall

Change theory can be broken down into three key stages – Endings, The Neutral Zone, and New Beginnings. Lucia uncovered an important realisation about herself as an influencer of change: her natural tendency was to start at the ‘New Beginnings’ stage. However, this “neglected the needs” of the news people she had been working with: they wanted some form of ending to familiar old ways first. Having learnt this lesson, Lucia has implemented considerations of all three change stages into her coaching methods ever since.

The Transformation Engine

Lucia applies agility to business change with the help of four main tools:

  • Mapping – Specifically, mapping power and influence (stakeholders). Lucia advises keeping stakeholders informed of changes, managing their needs closely, monitoring them where possible and keeping them satisfied.
  • Workshopping – Workshop the “how” and “why”, not just the “what” in terms of values and behaviours in product development.
  • Expectation Setting – Developing great products feels like a rollercoaster ride at times. Lucia says be prepared for lows as well as highs.
  • Storytelling – Tell stories of change to get heard and then “repeat repeat repeat!”

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