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Pearson’s success maker putting the customer first in transforming product development processes Case Solution & Answer

Pearson’s success maker putting the customer first in transforming product development processes Case Solution

Introduction

Pearson is a listed company (London and New York Stock exchange). The company has three main business units, i.e. the Pearson education unit, the financial times and the penguin group which is a publication unit. The education group is the largest group of all the units that generate almost 80% of the company’s shares. It is a growing company, which has been  successful during the recession period of the economy. The education unit of Pearson Group focuses on digital learning, e-college and grade assessments. The company was focusing on the products that have sufficient demand and potential in the market. The educational unit operates worldwide and its headquarter is in London, UK. The company believes in continuous development and innovation and the company’s Vice President is considering to work on the product development process to meet the new customer’s demands in the education market. As we know that the education industry is transforming rapidly and demand of new and fancy products is increasing. The company is focusing on the product development process, previously the company was using the traditional approach for its product development process, which was waterfall but now the company is thinking to use agile method. When the Vice President joined the company; the company’s members were already working on the software, but he analyzed that this software was not fulfilling the customer’s demand. Now this case discusses the methods that are available to the company for its product development process. The company has two options, first to follow the traditional method and the second option is for the company to use agile method i.e. use scrum or move to Kanban. Alongside customer’s demands; the company is also facing the problem of constraints in the education budget of the country which  undoubtedly affect the company’s operations and strategic planning method. Now coming towards Success Maker; It was one of the product that the company was offering. i.e.  Pearson’s digital learning. The product was designed for the middle school students. It was a learning software that helped the students to learn at their own pace. Throughout the years,this product went through many positive changes. Like in 2005, it was upgraded for its content and technology. The revision of the product did not only provide added features but it was also a comfortable interface to interact with the customers. Currently,the company is also looking forward to upgrade the product to meet the new customers’ demands.It was challenging for Adam because the company was changing its method from traditional to an advanced approach. The first challenge which the company can face is the maintenance of the new method consistency among the employees. There are chances that employees will unintentionally move towards the traditional approach. The change in the method can increase the role ambiguity and accountability issues. The method change will also lead us to reduce the team’s coordination but it can also be improved thorough the cross-team deployment. In contrast, the waterfall process also demanded long-term planning and it did not allow for any changes in the future. In the waterfall planning; the internal planning was easy. The main difference that Agile will bring is the customer’s insight.In this product development process; the customer’s insight would be kept in mind to design the software and Adams proposed this new method and this method used customer’s feedback as a tool to improve the product’s efficiency. This new method could bring a challenge for Adam regarding the management of the company’s culture and change in its structure to work on the product’s development. The team will need huge support and guidance through out the training, because this method of product development is a bit different from the traditional method. The new method needs close cooperation and synergy between the team members of the company. Adam expects to deliver more productive products through this new method of the product development process.

Question: 1

Waterfall and agile both are almost used for same purpose, both provide significant support to the company to complete the project, but the only difference is in the manner in which they both work and support the activities. We will discuss not only the pros and cons of both the methods but we will also compare the context in which both are being used in the case. So we start with the waterfall method:

Waterfall method:

Waterfall method is a traditional method, which is used for the product development cycle that organizes the whole process, making it sequential and effective to complete on time. This method consists of different phases, which are interlinked and serve a purpose for each other. The sequences of the methods are requirement,gathering, analysis read, system design, implementation, integration and testing phase, deployment of system and solving the identified issues in the process. Using the waterfall method is simple and easy, the phases are manageable and provide specific desired results, as it is best to use when the company is working on all the projects. The waterfall methodology provides a clear image in a documented form.

In contrast, the disadvantages are also a part of this method, as this method not allow the team to revise the already done project, as it does not allow after-testing services. Teams find this difficult because there are human error chances of skipping any requirement and waterfall does not allow the team to revise the project in order to correct if there is any error. The risk of uncertainty is high in this method, due to which big projects which contain complex structure are not advised to use this method because testing in this method is done in the last stage which would make it hard to correct any errors in complex and big project, causing major problems later on.

In contrast, if I discuss this method in the context of an employee then it is considered as an effective method as it allows documentation and management of the project in steps and team. Whereas the disadvantage is that it lacks focus on the customer’s insights and demands.

In contrast, if we discuss the agile method; it is stated that agile is not like a checklist or direction but is more related to the mindsets and cultures. Agile is the project management method that delivers the product in increments rather than at once in the last of the project. Agile is more concerned with the customer’s requirements…………………….

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