All related (6)
Zeeshan Qamruddin
Director of Product Management, Fintech, Hubspot | Formerly Segment, WeWork, AirbnbApril 12

This is a scenario that teams often find themselves in, especially in fast moving parts of a business. The question I would ask when looking across the existing products is "Where do I gain the most leverage from innovation?"

There are certain products that simply need to work, and that have a built in runway so as to not detract from the companies success. If there is an opportunity to simplify an unnecessarily complex product, such as leaning on a 3rd party or making a capital investment to enable self-service, that time should be carved out early on to avoid growing the burden of support. 

Other products, however, can drive the business or particular segment of the business forward. Those areas should be prioritized and receive attention, while you plan to address the products with a longer runway further down the road. In the short term, it is critical to understand the value that those products bring, and the leadership investment should follow accordingly.

Vasanth Arunachalam
Director, Technical Program Management, Meta | Formerly MicrosoftMay 2

Prioritization is key. I don’t believe in dividing ‘all’ available work across my team. I believe in ensuring my team focuses on the top business priorities and are having the most impact. I typically encourage my team to do a few things but do those really well and not ‘peanut butter’ themselves across many different areas. A Technical PM on my team might be taking on multiple product areas (typically not more than 2), but they set clear expectations in terms of what their roles will be and how they’ll spend their time across those. A few things to pay attention to -

  • Understand what areas absolutely need a PM/Technical PM and prioritize those. This could be for various reasons - 1) Getting to product market fit; 2) Expanding to new markets or a new customer segment; 3) Defining requirements for an ambiguous product feature; or 4) Driving alignment across key stakeholders on goals
  • Sometimes you know you’ll have to staff a PM soon in a product area (or a product feature). It might be worthwhile to have an existing PM spend a small % of their time understanding and scoping the landscape which might inform what type of PM you want to hire and when.
  • If a PM is not able to focus 100% of their time in a product area, identify responsibilities that could be delegated to other functional leads (Engineering, Design, Data Science etc). The last thing you want to do is burn out your most valuable PM because they are so good at it.
Vasanth Arunachalam
Director, Technical Program Management, Meta | Formerly Microsoft
“Change is the only constant” is a cliched phrase in the industry but the reality is not far off in many lines of businesses. At Meta we often get to work with the best available information in hand and not afraid of pivoting when that information changes. That comes with a degree of ambiguity, churn and sometimes loss of motivation for the teams involved. As a leader, my role is to ensure the teams have a strong understanding of the ‘why’ and when priorities change, again communicating the ‘why’ with full transparency. I then empower the teams to drive towards subsequent outcomes which cou...
Rupali Jain
Chief Product Officer, WorkBoard
I'm going to suggest a few processes, but please do scale each process to the size of the organization. Treat your processes like you treat your product - establish 2-3 internal customer problems that are actually worth solving, and solve them with an MVP of a process and iterate as you learn - don't try to introduce everything at once. * Quarterly priorities: Getting into the habit early of writing down the plan for the quarter is a good muscle to build early in establishing the PM discipline even with only a handful of PMs.  Focus on articulating the big bets for that quarter a...
Zeeshan Qamruddin
Director of Product Management, Fintech, Hubspot | Formerly Segment, WeWork, Airbnb
At the company level, there are a few different methods of communications to keep everyone abreast of updates: 1. Product Notification emails (Ad Hoc) - These emails have a set template and allow product teams from around the company to share updates to their areas in a digestable format as major features go out of the door.  2. Product Newsletter emails (Weekly) - The weekly newsletter summarized major product updates and initiatives to all product team members.  3. Quartery Business Review meetings (Quarterly) - These larger meetings gather key parts of the business to...
David Cutler
VP Product, CookUnity
I've noticed a trend in the tech industry for product organizations to follow a structure that Spotify helped craft over the years, in which a company is organized into business sub-orgs that roll up into their own respective product and engineering leads. And those leads oversee various squads that make up the product areas within that sub-org. At CookUnity we call the product areas "zones", in which a product lead exists to drive the product strategy and manage the PM team. In smaller companies (<500), those product leads are likely the direct leadership team for the Head of Product.  ...