from Shubha A T.
Growing Up Product Management – How I learned to stop worrying and trust the process.
Speaker – Gal Josefsberg, VP Product Management and Marketing, Act-On Software Inc.
“You want to build a startup, you want to build products that people love. When you want to grow a startup you want to build something that people are willing to pay for.”
The first 18 months are tough; things are new, you are still unsure. But there comes a time, when you are more stable and it is time to grow up from being a ‘startup’
All startups need to grow
- You need to cover expenses, make money!
- You want to get the product to more people
- You really want Growth
- But growth is hard, and PMs have a responsibility towards that growth
What kills products, on the product side?
- Dilution of vision
- As more employees are added it is tough to have each person on the board
- Reduced intimacy towards the founders as teams grow
- Less buy-in to the vision, as people join your startup as employees
- Larger teams and products will lead to changes
- You will not know all parts of the product
- You will not know everything about the business, there is unfamiliar territory
- More stakeholders the product manager has to deal with as the company grows
- Sales, Customer Success folks
How does a product manager face them?
Process and Communication – it becomes essential to build processes and communication to ensure consistency. Process does not necessarily mean bureaucracy.
How to deal with startup growth pangs?
- Dilution of Vision
- Get your product vision PPT ready – What is the story, get everyone on board, what makes us unique. That is a product managers job.
- Present and Share the vision with every single person on the team. Make sure everyone is on board
- Include the vision in the stories, how does the product meet that vision
- Be willing to listen, Listen to your customers, your sales team, your customer success team, and listen to the stories other people are telling about your product to validate your vision.
- Listen to the sales, the customer success teams, customers, make sure you hear them
- Don’t surprise your customers. Let your customers know what you are releasing. Communicate, and over communicate your customers.
- Build a communication process, way before the release. Communicate big and small changes appropriately, Communicate on what is coming up ? how is it different ? and how will your life change, for it ?
- Communicating Roadmaps in an Agile Shop
- Make sure the whole team understands Agile
- Measure your velocity; know how much time a project/feature is going to take. Build a buffer. It is important to have a date, and communicate the date.
Communicating with larger teams and products
- When the team grows above 10 people, split, 6-8 people are ideal. Be good with delegation.
- Teams should be independent
- Teams should know the vision and mission, the larger picture
- Communicate between teams
- This is your chance to grow as a product manager