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As a product marketer, how do you manage product teams that are poor at scoping releases? Especially as they apply to changing release dates and minor updates.

4 Answers
Caroline Walthall
Caroline Walthall
Quizlet Director of Product and Lifecycle MarketingJanuary 31

It depends what the real downstream problem is here:

- Does it hold up your launch campaigns?

- Does it create a poor or unconsistent customer experience which damages brand credibility?

- Do minor updates and overflow and bugs dominate instead of meaningful work that pushes the product forward?

Perfect planning doesn't exist, but if it's consistently off, I'd try to set more interim milestones with your product, design, and engineering teams to ensure work is on track and hasn't had any major changes in scope. It's best to outline these check in dates at the kickoff of project and then set 15-30 minute calendar invites to stay in the loop.

If launches are messy and create a poor customer experience, I'd enlist the help of specialists on your support team to help make a strong case in your project post-mortem for more standardized checks before launch. 

If scope creep and bugs bulldoze the roadmap, I'd work on getting the team culture to be more results driven and set more shared short tem goals. Quarterly OKRs can be great for this.

1106 Views
April Rassa
April Rassa
Aventi Group Product Marketing ConsultantApril 3

As a product marketer, you don't manage scoping releases. Product managers need to be accountable for managing release dates and minor updates. If those dates are slipping, you need to set a meeting in place to better understand the gaps and the implications. There is a communication and sales element that will be impacted if this pattern continues so getting ahead of it quicker is advised.

745 Views
Natala Menezes
Natala Menezes
Grammarly Global Head of Product MarketingFebruary 9

It’s a bummer situation when product and engineering teams don’t deliver on the timeline planned. My best practice is to make sure that there’s organization-wide agreement and alignment on delivery dates. I’ve seen inconsistent delivery happen most in cases where marketing operates separately from the engineering workstream. A single meeting where all of the deliverables – not just product – are reviewed helps the org have greater context and status. Second, identifying delivery milestones to track progress. For example, “we’ve moved out of development to testing,” and leveraging those milestones to trigger workstreams helps keep the teams in sync and adjust to delays. 

738 Views
Kavya Nath
Kavya Nath
Meta Product Marketing, Reality LabsApril 4

Managing product teams that struggle with scoping releases and handling changing release dates and minor updates requires clear communication, collaboration, and effective project management strategies. I have personally found that it is most effective when the product marketer communicates through the perspective of the customer. Communicating how all the changes and updates will impact the end user and working back through all of the things that need to happen internally to ensure the end user has a good experience will allow product and engineering teams to see the downstream impact of how they release new products and features.

A few tactical ways to do this:

1. Set Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate the importance of accurate scoping and adherence to release timelines and emphasize the impact that changes in release dates can have on customers, stakeholders, and overall project success.

3. Collaborate and Monitor Progress Closely: Work closely with product managers, developers, and other stakeholders throughout the release planning process. Encourage open communication and collaboration to ensure alignment on release scope, timelines, and priorities. Ask if you can be added to release stand-ups or start your own with key stakeholders. This will help PMMs identify any scope creep or delays early on and work with the team to address them proactively.

4. Establish Prioritization Criteria: Define clear prioritization criteria for features and updates to help teams determine what should be included in each release. Emphasize the importance of focusing on high-impact, customer-driven changes. And also be clear on what PMM will support and will not support.

5. Encourage Iterative Improvement: Foster a culture of continuous improvement with the product team. Introduce a retrospective or "retro" that allows key stakeholders involved in release scoping/planning/execution to have a safe space to review how releases have been going and identify areas for improvement.

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