PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, project management

Why Product Development Projects Suck?

The WTF project mgt and team collaboration problem

Today, complex products = complex organisations

Bob Story

Bob, a Marketing manager in a car company who is working on a new car concept project team. Bob needs to prepare a marketing launch for the Paris auto show planned in October 2018. Leading the marketing initiatives, he is doing different activities (plan/define tasks/tracking). Each team peer Bob interacts with has a different way of working (the hardware teams are in waterfall, the software team in Scrum, the digital team in Kanban and plant manufacturing in Lean six sigma). Each team and its members use different tools/apps (CAD, Trello, MS Project, Jira, SAP…) from various devices (IoT, mobiles, PCs…) generating different documents, files or transactions that create tremendous data.

Project GIF-downsized_large

What looks on the surface simple is not. Bob has to deal with 57 different interfaces!!! Just for a one-shot marketing launch…

Academic researchers have shown a high correlation between product complexity and organisation (Sosa et al, 2004). Well, the bad news is complex products will get more complex (i.e. today 10% cars value is software based, in 2030, it will be 30% according to McKinsey Global Inst, source: which is creating even more “complicatedness” (according to Yves Morieux from to TheBostonConsultingGroup, source: Watch tedtalk here

Organisation creates “complicatedness” by multiplying layers, interfaces and interdependencies. Productivity plummets. Organisations increase project failure risk exponentially.

Bob has a real difficulty to execute the project. He does not give up. However, he is spending much time in coordinating and reporting. TheBostonConsultingGroup estimates managers spend up to 70% in coordination meetings and reporting, leaving only 30% for added value tasks (source:

Bob is courageous but feels he is not working on added value activities and begin to disengage.

Bob is not alone, there are 800 million knowledge workers like him (according to Forrester research), meeting and writing reports instead of DOING the work. Just imagine the waste in the scale of industries output or countries GDP.

800 Million knowledge workers like Bob are struggling

Emergence of organisations 2.0

Only 12% Fortune 500 firms in 1955 exist today (according to Forbes). Firms face faster and more brutal technological and market changes that create higher uncertainties. These forces push organisations to be more reactive, responsive or ambidextrous. However, this is not happening or with tremendous sacrifices because firms are still organised as a rigid structure living in highly predictable environments.

Alike the agile manifesto, newly created community #ResponsiseOrg urge to give up the old “command and control” for a new “responsive” organisation, (source:

reponsive organisation manifesto

Massive problem = big bu$ine$$

This massive problem is also a big business. The project and collaborative management software spending is estimated $21,4 Bn in 2017, growing 7,3% CAGR 13–18 according to IDC (IDC, 2018)

Not surprisingly, a lot of companies like AsanaAtlassianMicrosoft, and PLM vendors like Dassault Systèmes are trying to tackle the problem. Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein explains how the company is positioning as firms “backbone”.


Organisations must better collaborate and work in a more efficient way to gain productivity. I do believe there are huge opportunities to disrupt the project and collaborative software industry like Airtable or Station, the 2017 product hunt winner based in Paris. The recent acquisition of Github, the developer collaboration platform by Microsoft is just the beginning.

The $5 billion dollars market tech players are missing

There are a massive team project and collaboration issues, defying today’s organisation rigid norms. Tech firms can help firms morphing into a more fluid organisation. I believe, however, software vendors and startups have only addressed primarily knowledge workers in services and support activities function (marketing, finance, HR etc..), software and design. Hence missing huge untapped market worth $5bn (CIMdata and IDC, 2018)

Based on 80+ project and collaborative tech firms market analysis(i.e. AsanaAtlassianSmartsheetAutodesk…), we can claim the knowledge workers involved in complex product teams in discrete industries are unaddressed today.

Knowledge workers involve in complex product teams in discrete industries are unaddressed today.

Through complex product I mean multi-disciplinary teams working for a new product development project. By discrete industries I mean automotive, aerospace, high tech, industrial equipment. For example Uber or Tesla Motors self-driving cars, Airbus air taxi project teams. There, hardware prototypes, manufacturing plant managers, software developers, mechanical engineers, data scientist, finance, legal, sales, design and product management people collaborate together. In this scenario, as shown above with Bob’s story, team peers inter-dependance, interfaces and data generated are incredibly complex to manage and exponential.

PPM and CWM competition matrix
Project and Collaborative work management competitive intensity, Zishan M CC


Industries are transforming. Industry 4.0 movement, millennials and post millennials entering in force the labour market with new aspirations and purposes, tech (AI, the blockchain, social messaging…) and market rapid and brutal turbulences, I do believe a change dynamic is underway.

Enabling that transformation will need a new type of project and collaboration management paradigm. The open question is, who will enable Bob?


TV intervention @tv5

Honoured to participate in @tv5monde  “tour du monde de la francophonie” (French culture world celebration day) in October 2017 in Lahore.

I have urged French and European tech firms to invest in South Asia a home for roughly 25% world population with 2/3 pop <30 years. a young, mobile only, social, entrepeneur and start up mindset generation like Rocket Internet (Germany), Telenor Digital (Norway) or Hello Tomorrow (France). A huge opportunity in e-commerce for example. do not let alone to alike Alibaba investing massively int he Region (400 million only in Pakistan)…


Talk: #product management for startups, (Intro)

A talk I gave @NIC, National Incubation Centre about #product management for startups. it is just an intro, the subject is vast of course, there are a lot of concepts that I just mentioned but would rather need to dig deeper (platforms, growth hacking, KPIs, analytics, agile, lean…). I emphasised more on the audience, technical background, young startuper who never got a product management intro before. I’ve deliberately focused on product strategy;  building the “right thing” Vs “building the things right”

Any comment, suggestions, please share with me.




– Easygari – Connected car app concept


Let me introduce you

Easygari a service that takes care of you car and its occupant.

Easygari UX like all the coming digital products are based on 4 UX principles:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Highly visual
  3. Personalized
  4. Inclusion

First of its kind in Telenor, the idea is to foray onto the connected car market and create a Pan-Asian (Telenor is present in 5 countries in Asia)  mobility platform to our partners and developers

Easygari – Telenor connected car app concept from Zishan M. on Vimeo.

Zishan @ Telenor Digital

UX tools I used : Sketch, Invision, Framer

Any feedback, please contact me:


WTF is IoT °_°, how big is it and why now?

The definition

There is a lot of hype on IoT recently but what is in substance?
For the last years I came up with this simple definition:

def: IoT is the ability of objects to speak and respond.

Think of toy story or cars (my son favourite) Pixar movies where toy and car items interact. Yes you get it, it is as simple.
Well, you got the concept.

Now you might wonder how big is this?

According to IDC and Gartner, IoT is not big, it is massive. IDC estimates IoT spending in 2016 at $737 billion. The research institute forecasts IoT spending to grow by 15,6% on an annual basis for the next 5 years to reach $1.29 trillion in 2020, that is the size on todays’ Australian economy!
In terms of number of devices, Gartner predicts 6.4 Billion IoT objects in 2016, that is roughly the size of global population.
As a summary here, IoT value is equal to the size of the Netherland economy and there is 1 IoT devices per human on earth.

IoT market value = The Netherland GDP, 2016

1 IoT device = 1 human on earth

Why now and why so fast?

Well, basically there is a concordance of 4 phenomenas that explains IoT exponential growth:
  1. the Moore law
  2. the Nielsen law
  3. the Metclaff law
  4. Marshall Law


Those laws are not recent, some dated from 18th century, actually pretty old, but there is old saying that says, “good food is always made of old pans ” ,isn’t it?
Let me explain the 4 laws briefly:

The Moore law states that “the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately by 18 months” that means the computing power (i.e. chips and memory) doubles every 18 months.


The Nielsen law network connection speeds for high-end home users would double every 21 months


The Metclaff law” states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2″). that means when there is 10 user of the system or network it means 100 unique connections by adding 1 user from 10 to 11, the numbers of unique connections increases by 21%. That is foundation of what in the tech industry people call “network effect”. By adding a new users you are increasing exponentially the value of the network. Now imagine in the scale of Facebook, Amazon of Ali Baba.


The Marshall law claims “supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market”. It means if you go to the superstore nearby and buy one box of cereal it might cost you $3. There is deal offered by the store, you buy 2 cereal boxes at $5, the cost per boxes could be $2.5. So by increasing the quantity I am ready to buy (demand), the superstore is willing to decrease the price per box (supply).


After reading the 4 laws, you might guess where I am getting at ;).
As the computing power (Mhz) and bandwidth increase (4-5G, Fiber…) by 60% and 50% annually, the devices offering increases. As we are in a competitive market (except North Korea), the quantity of devices outpace the demand (you, me and all consumers) that pushes the device manufacturers to differentiate by increasing the value (more features at same price) and/or decrease prices to match consumer expectations and willingness to pay. Devices manufacturers are able to do that because the connection costs are failing as well. In fact if you connect 10 devices or 10 millions to the same telecom operator network, the connection cost per devices (ARPU) will be dramatically lower.
Lately, consumers buy the devices and is now connected to a global system where all devices are linked each other increasing the value of the network (think internet, mobile phones, social networks and IoT).
Here is my 2 cents in explaining the IoT market boom.
Feel free to share comments.