How to measure a company’s digital maturity?

Digital maturity and product culture

Product culture means the set of values and behaviors that enables the digital product to generate the best results for the company while solving customer problems.

1. Release early and often

The sooner we present the product to our users, the better, as we can receive feedback from real users who will be able to use the product in their own context. In this article, I explain the 4 reasons why it is so important to release early and often: (i) this is the moment of truth, (ii) so you avoid the excess of features, (iii) to accelerate the return of the investment and (iv) to avoid the perils of the cone of uncertainty.

  • Deploy frequency: how often does your organization deploy code to production or release it to end users?
  • Lead time: what is your lead time for changes (that is, how long does it take to go from code committed to code successfully running in production)?
  • Time to restore: how long does it generally take to restore service when a service incident or a defect that impacts users occurs (for example, an unplanned outage, service impairment)?
  • Change fail percentage: what percentage of changes to production or releases to users result in degraded service (for example, lead to service impairment or service outage) and subsequently require remediation (for example, require a hotfix, rollback, fix forward, patch)?

2. Focus on the problem

As explained in this article, a very important step in creating a good solution is understanding the problem. When we hear about a problem, we immediately start thinking about solutions. However, the more time we spend learning about the problem, the easier it will be to find a solution, and chances are good that this solution will be simpler and faster to implement than the first solution we thought of.

3. Result delivery

Besides being able to deliver early and often and be focused on problems, the product development team has to deliver results. Business results as well as results for the client and user of the product. I discussed this value in this article, where I made it clear that delivering features is not a result. All features are a means that serves an end, the achievement of a business objective. It is very important that we have clear business objectives. Ideally, business objectives should be connected to the bottom line, i.e., increasing revenue and/or decreasing costs.

4. Ecosystem mindset

This value/behavior means making decisions that create value for all actors of the ecosystem where the business operates. These decisions cannot harm any of the participants of the ecosystem. In this article, I explained it at length with an example from Gympass. If the company is a platform or a marketplace, this value/behavior is quite easy to understand, but it also applies if the business does not operate as a platform or marketplace. If you are a business with one type of customer, the ecosystem is formed by the customer and the business, and this value/behavior means that you cannot make decisions that benefit the business but harm the customer or vice-versa. You can make decisions that benefit that business and don’t affect the customer, but you cannot harm the customer. And vice-versa, you cannot harm the business for the benefit of the customer. This value/behavior builds on top of the customer-centric concept but expands it to include all different customers and the business in this mindset.

How to measure a company’s digital maturity?

Using the above values and behaviors, we can assess how digitally mature is a company and, more importantly, define what should be our focus areas to improve its digital maturity. Answer the 4 questions below to self-assess your digital maturity.

Real-life examples

I joined Gympass in mid-2018 and when I joined, it was clear there was room for improvement in our digital maturity. The same happened when I joined Lopes in mid-2020. In both cases, we focused on improving the behaviors that could bring us to increased digital maturity.

  • The examples above are from what I recall from the time I worked in these companies. Ideally, this type of assessment should be done considering current behaviours with answers from the leaders of the company and the product development team. This assessment should be made periodically, every 6 months, or every year.
  • It is possible to have companies with the same digital maturity score, but with different behaviors to focus on in terms of what to do to improve the digital maturity, as are the cases of Gympass and Lopes in the examples above.
  • More important than knowing the digital maturity stage a company is in or the score it has, is to know what are the main areas that the company and the product development team should focus on to improve its digital maturity.
  • Knowing and improving digital maturity is just a tool, not an objective. It is a tool to help a company extract more of its digital efforts. It’s a tool to help a company achieve its objectives and results.

Summing up

  • Digital maturity of a company means how much the company has been investing in digital products to potentialize its results and how much the results have been actually potentialized by digital efforts.
  • To measure digital maturity, we need to assess how the company is in each of the 4 values and behaviors of its digital product culture. Release early and often. Focus on the problem. Result delivery. Ecosystem mindset.
  • Knowing and improving digital maturity is just a tool, not an objective. It is a tool to help a company extract more from its digital efforts. It’s a tool to help a company achieve its objectives and results.

Digital product education, coaching, and advisoring

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Digital Product Management Books

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Joca Torres

Joca Torres

2.5K Followers

Digital product development advisor, coach, and board member. Also an open water swimmer and ukulelist.