What key departments are you working with when releasing features? And how do you work with them?
Depending on the phase of the project or lifecycle stage of the product, a product manager collaborates with many different functions. During intial phases, you work with customer/account teams to understand demand, then with designers and user research teams to perform user research, usability studies, focus groups to understand and define. Once you an MVP, work with customers and account teams to get feedback. When you are ready to ship public offering, work with documentation and marketing team. As you scale sales, you work with sales/field enablement team to streamline that process. Through out this journey, you work with legal, compliance, privacy and security champs to get your approach, design and product reviewed.
Platform product management works with many of the same departments as other product teams along with a few additional stakeholders on the developer side:
Product marketing: Helps with messaging new features to both internal teams and external customers. Often you collaborate on release notices together.
Go-to-market: Collaborate on pricing and packaging of features, creating enablement materials for internal teams, understanding the broader market, and advising on how to position features in the market.
Sales/Customer Success/Support: Partner closely with internal enablement teams to make sure both customers and prospects understand what the new features do as well as troubleshoot any issues. Will also be able to provide you with customer feedback faster than customer satisfaction surveys.
Additional developer-facing teams:
Solution architects/Technical consultants: Since your features are more technical, in addition to the enablement teams mentioned above, you might also work closely with internal solution architects and technical consultants who help customers and prospects understand your more technical features. They often have a deep understanding of customer needs and build demos, which makes them convenient early adopters to test your features.
Technical doc writers: If you’re releasing features to developers, you’ll need to work with technical doc writers to create developer documentation. Developers often rank having clear documentation as one of the most critical components of a successful platform.
Developer Relations: To engage with the developer community, you can work with this team to hear feedback directly from developers and publicize your features at events.
The collaboration among different teams depends a lot on the platform components my teams are working on. For example, Infra requires a lot of collaboration with finance on costs. In contrast, our Public API Platform requires strong collaboration with Business Development as this is our channel team to partnerships.
But commonly, as a Platform PM overlooking multiple areas such as Mobile, Frontend, DX, and APIs, I usually work closely with the following departments:
Engineering - I engage engineering leads in regular 1:1s, attend team retros, and conduct user interviews.
QA - I work closely with this team to capture breaking changes for key platform upgrades.
Finance - I align with these teams on infra / third party SaaS tools cost and projections for the new year
UX - I spend a lot of time working with design technologists to identify common UX gaps in our Platform
Customer Success - to keep the connection with the end customers and proxy their feedback to the platform teams.
Please, don't forget to work with the PMM department when releasing new features 🙏 PMM team can help enhance product planning a lot 🤝
Sharing new feature ideas into the product roadmap can come from the day-to-day of PMM teams:
1. User feedback, PMM surveys, social listening, and usability data.
2. Competitor intelligence, competitors' reviews & market studies.
3. Deep insights through customer interviews, product or marketing data, and sales & CS insights.
So don't ignore your awesome PMM teams on the stage of roadmap planning:) And when the feature is defined, the PMM team will be the one who will position, package, and bring this feature to market.