This chapter describes the Digital Product: the single, simple, unifying entity referenced over the full management lifecycle and across all the value streams in the IT4IT Standard.
The rationale behind the Digital Product-oriented thinking is The Open Group White Paper The Shift to Digital Product: A Full Lifecycle Perspective [W205], where a proposed Digital Product definition, with examples, was initially documented and a proposal was made to evolve the IT4IT Standard in order to better address its full lifecycle management intent with a product-oriented technology management model, which replaces the traditional practice of viewing IT investment as a combination of project and run costs spread across loosely-coupled silos.
Managing the Digital Product Portfolio becomes the focal point of all IT investment. The Digital Product owner becomes accountable for all value-creation activities associated with a product, from funding through support activities.
This approach integrates traditional Product Management acumen with IT management disciplines. It applies to internally and externally consumed digital offerings. In Enterprise Architecture terms, the consumer of a Digital Product is an actor – individual, organization, or machine.
Only the most granular Digital Products are simple: what seems like a single product to the consumer will usually be made up of a recursive array of sub-products.
The Digital Product is a unifying concept that aligns end-to-end management activities ranging from business strategy through Product Management, development, consumer interactions, and operational support. It promotes cooperation across the disparate roles needed to support cross-functional automation and scaling up of Lean, Agile, and DevOps approaches to software delivery. Team members can better understand what they are working on, and what consumers they serve.
The integrated data objects that comprise the Digital Product Backbone provides the full end-to-end description of a Digital Product. The backbone ensures traceability through the lifecycle, which is required to understand all phases of managing the Digital Product, its impact on consumers, and how consumer experience is traced back to initial investments; see The IT4IT Value Delivery Framing Across the High-Level Capabilities.