Top ten considerations for building a world-class productization team

As I have previously blogged, I had (been) volunteered to lead a workshop for the Rockies Venture Club’s Investor Pitch Academy focused on “Understanding Team Building Dynamics for Business Growth.” I gave the workshop on February 24th tag-teamed with a great partner with an HR worldview, Paul DiMarchi of DiMarchi Partners (, a top tier executive recruiter.  I posted the PowerPoint pitch that we used on our website. Lots of smart people in attendance, and we learned as much from them as they learned from us.

As I was pulling this together I spent some more time thinking about what this means for productization teams—test development, industrialization, process development, validation testing, DFx, supply chain development, DFMEAs, and the like—and realized that the challenges faced by start-ups on this are really no different from those faced by companies who are serious about building up their productization teams.  I had opined on this in the first installment; here are some additional thoughts blended in with my original comments, rounded off into a Top Ten list.

Top ten considerations for building a world-class productization team:

  1. A little gray in the proverbial beard is good:  Experience counts.  A lot.
  2. Ask not, “What products have you designed?” Ask instead, “What products have you put into production?”: Self explanatory.
  3. Generalists have an advantage in productizatiion: Productization challenges are cross functional. A generalization to be sure (he he).
  4. Look for people who have spent a lot of time in factories: Again self explanatory (think about it).
  5. If your need is transient or project based, consider outsourcing or partnering: Hint, Zebulon Solutions is a great choice for this.
  6. If you don’t have an experienced productization professional managing your productization team (say that five times fast…), consider outsourcing or partnering:  See above.
  7. A people hire other A people. B people hire C people, C people hire D people, etc.  Therefore never compromise on quality of hires.
  8. Hiring should be treated in a generic way–employees, contractors, temps etc.:   Of course be cognizant of IRS or other tax issues—as always the advice here is “consult your friendly tax advisor.”
  9. Look for people with a certain emotional  ruggedness: People who are not afraid of failure or criticism or direction (Thanks Paul for this one).
  10. Look for people with a renegade attitude about getting things done: Preference towards asking forgiveness instead of permission (ditto).


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