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Sam Friedman

Sam Friedman

Senior Director of Product, Strategy and Operations, Eventbrite
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With over 15 years of experience in product, strategy, and operations, I am passionate about building and scaling innovative and impactful technology companies. As the Senior Director of Product, Strategy and Operations at Eventbrite, I lead a fun...more

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Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
Collaboration between product development, engineering, design, and other teams is crucial for successful product outcomes. When working with an engineering manager, design team, and engineers, the following practices can be beneficial, especially in the context of developing products for a developer audience: 1. Define Clear Objectives and Requirements: * Work closely with stakeholders to define clear product objectives and requirements. This includes understanding the needs of the developer audience and translating them into actionable tasks. 2. Cross-Functional Collaboration: * Foster a culture of collaboration and open communication between product managers, engineering managers, and designers. Encourage cross-functional team members to share insights and ideas. * The "triad" concept is prevalent in product development ensuring design, product, and engineering are working harmoniously. 3. User-Centered Design: * Prioritize user-centered design principles. Understand the needs, preferences, and pain points of the developer audience through user research. * Ensure that the design and development process is aligned with creating a positive user experience. 4. Agile Methodology: * Implement agile methodologies such as Scrum or Kanban to facilitate iterative development. This allows for quick adjustments based on feedback and changing requirements. 5. Regular Communication: * Schedule regular touchpoints to facilitate communication between product, engineering, and design teams. This can include sprint planning, daily stand-ups, and retrospectives to address challenges and celebrate successes. 6. Prototyping and Testing: * Encourage the design team to create prototypes that can be tested with developers to gather early feedback. This iterative approach helps refine the product before significant development efforts are invested. 7. Prioritize Features: * Work collaboratively to prioritize features based on user needs and business objectives. Consider the technical feasibility and impact on development when making decisions. 8. Documentation: * Ensure that there is clear and accessible documentation for both developers and other stakeholders. This includes product specifications, design guidelines, and technical documentation. 9. Feedback Loops: * Establish feedback loops between product, design, and engineering teams. Regularly review progress, address challenges, and incorporate learnings into the development process. 10. Empower Engineers: * Empower engineers to contribute to the product development process by providing them with context, involving them in decision-making, and recognizing their expertise. 11. Continuous Learning: * Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This includes learning from both successes and failures and using that knowledge to enhance future product development cycles. Remember that flexibility and adaptability are key, especially when working in a fast-paced and dynamic field of developer-focused products. Regularly assess and refine your processes based on feedback and changing circumstances.
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Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
Engineering is a key partner in any product development organization and, as such, should be in the box with you, thinking about the problem statements impacting your customer. I always like to include my Eng partners in problem definition as early as possible; it fosters a customer-centric dev squad and promotes collaboration early in the process of developing a new feature or product. Here are some activities that I find are non-negotiable activities that you should include your Eng partners in. 1. Problem Definition Workshops 2. Discovery Sessions 3. Requirements Gathering 4. Feasibility Analysis 5. Prototyping and Proof of Concept 6. User Story Mapping with Technical Details By involving engineering teams in these activities, you will promote a collaborative approach to problem-solving, ensure a more holistic understanding of the challenges, and facilitate the development of products that are not only viable and technically sound but also the most robust interpretation of what your customers value.
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Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
In my experience, there is no golden ratio or right answer to this question. Many factors determine what the "right" ratio is depending on the industry, org structure, size of the company, and maturity of the company. I have seen PM to Eng ratios from 1PM to 3 engineering all the way up to 1PM for every 20 engineers. Given you are the first PM you are likely part of a start up and if you are within the tech industry 1 PM to 8 Engineers feels reasonable as you get started and need to build and scale your platform. I suggest getting another PM in the mix as a next step to get your ratio down to 1:4 so you can have two squads rapidly develop, iterate, and solve user problems with more ideas and concepts across experiences. Typically as you start and scale is important having a tighter ratio allows multiple PMs to do rapid problem-solving and development. That is the ratio I have typically seen within the tech sector (1 PM to 4-5 Eng) but it really depends on the product and where your company is in its journey. The more technical and later stage of the company the ratio is lower (1 to 7-10), the earlier and more customer-experience oriented your company is the ratio is tighter (1 to 4ish)
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494 Views
Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
The end-to-end product development process can vary based on the nature of the product, the industry, and the specific methodologies used by a company. However, a general product development lifecycle typically involves the following stages: 1. Idea Generation 2. Market Research 3. Conceptualization and Planning 4. Feasibility Assessment 5. Design and Prototyping 6. Development 7. Testing 8. Deployment 9. Launch 10. Post-Launch Monitoring and Support 11. Iterative Development 12. End-of-Life or Product Retirement It's important to note that this process can be adapted based on the specific needs of the project, and many organizations may use variations of this framework, such as incorporating DevOps practices for continuous integration and deployment. The key is to remain flexible, customer-focused, and responsive to changes throughout the product development lifecycle.
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Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
Ensuring that the engineering team understands the project scope is a joint effort between product management and engineering. To do this effectively, there are a many strategies that can help. The key is to lean into collaboration and communication structures that allow for understanding and refinement. Effective communication, documentation, and collaboration are key components of achieving this understanding. Here are some strategies that I have used successfully: * Project Documentation Infra: Have a standard set of project documentation that includes project scope, objectives, and requirements. This typically includes discovery docs, PRDs, Tech Specs and enables everyone on the dev team to operate from the same base understanding. * User Stories and Use Cases: This is table stakes these days but make sure you break down the project into user stories or use cases that describe specific functionalities from an end-user perspective. * Collaborative Sprint Planning: Engage the engineering team in collaborative sprint planning sessions. Discuss the upcoming sprint's goals, prioritize tasks, and clarify any uncertainties. * Technical Discovery Sessions: Organize technical discovery sessions to explore the current state of the technology stack and any potential technical challenges. * Regular Check-ins and Feedback Sessions: Schedule regular check-ins and feedback sessions to assess the team's understanding of the project scope. * Review and Refinement Meetings: Plan review and refinement meetings at the end of each development cycle to discuss what was accomplished and to review the next set of tasks. This helps maintain alignment between the engineering team's work and the overall project scope. * Clear Definition of Done (DoD): Maybe most importantly, clearly establish a Definition of Done for each task or user story. This includes criteria that must be met for a task to be considered complete. Having a shared understanding of the DoD ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the expected outcomes.
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Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
Setting clear and realistic expectations between development teams and leadership is key to the success of any product development team. Here are some strategies I use to help set expectations effectively: 1. Clearly articulate goals, timelines, and challenges. Regularly update leadership on progress and any deviations from the plan. 2. Ensure that development goals align with the broader business objectives. Help leadership understand how the development work contributes to the company's overall success. 3. Establish and communicate OKRs and KPIs that both development teams and upper leadership can use to measure success. These KPIs should be tied to business outcomes, for example: product adoption, customer acquisition, retention, satisfaction, and financial impact. 4. Provide regular status updates and reports on progress. 5. Proactively identify and communicate potential risks that may impact timelines or outcomes. Offer mitigation strategies and contingency plans. 6. Involve leadership in key decision-making processes. Seek their input on strategic choices and keep them informed about major decisions. 7. Establish regular feedback loops between development teams and leadership. Encourage leadership to provide constructive feedback on progress and be open to adjustments based on their input. 8. Celebrate achievements and milestones! Share success stories and demonstrate the impact of development work on the business. By using these strategies, you can create a culture of transparency and collaboration, ensuring that both development teams and leadership have a shared understanding of expectations and are working towards common goals that are tied to business outcomes.
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416 Views
Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
This is what I call "healthy tension" and should exist within any responsible organization. The reality is, as a product management organization, we are always operating within constraints. That could be a timeline, information gaps, budget, or resources. Balancing product delivery and growth in the face of financial constraints requires strategic decision-making, prioritization, and efficient resource utilization. Here are some strategies to help navigate this challenge: * Adopt a Minimum Viable Product approach to deliver essential features that meet the core needs of users. This allows for quicker time-to-market and enables you to gather user feedback early on. * Concentrate on delivering customer value with each release. Prioritize features that directly contribute to customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction. * Continuously evaluate and optimize the use of existing resources. Assess whether unused or underutilized resources within the organization can be redirected toward high-priority projects. * Explore cost-effective technologies and solutions that align with your product goals. This may involve adopting open-source tools, leveraging cloud services, or identifying more economical alternatives. * Invest in automation tools and processes to streamline development, testing, and deployment. * Consider flexible resourcing models, such as utilizing contractors for specific tasks or projects. This allows for scalability without committing to long-term resource costs. * Rigorously measure and analyze the impact of features and initiatives. Use data and analytics to assess whether our strategy is contributing to growth and adjust priorities ruthlessly. * Explore strategic partnerships or collaborations that can provide additional resources or expertise without significantly increasing costs. These are just a few ways to navigate financial constraints while driving product delivery and growth.
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Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman
Eventbrite Senior Director of Product, Strategy and OperationsDecember 21
Balancing "shipping on time" with ensuring you have the right market insights to prioritize the roadmap correctly is a common challenge in product development. Striking the right balance involves a combination of proactive planning, effective communication, and a continuous feedback loop. Here are some strategies I have used to achieve this balance: 1. Adopt agile methodologies that facilitate iterative development. Break down the development process into smaller, manageable cycles and continuously reassess priorities based on market feedback. 2. Focus on delivering a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that addresses the core needs of your target audience. This allows you to release a functional product quickly and gather real-world feedback to inform future iterations. 3. Establish a continuous feedback loop with customers and end-users. Use surveys, interviews, analytics, and user testing to gather insights into their preferences, pain points, and expectations. This feedback should guide the product roadmap. 4. Leverage data analytics and user metrics to make informed decisions. Monitor user behavior, adoption rates, and other key performance indicators early to assess the market impact of released features and adjust quickly if you aren't seeing the signal you expected. 5. Use regular reviews of the product roadmap with key stakeholders, including market research, product marketing, and other stakeholders close to market insights. This provides an opportunity to reassess priorities based on market dynamics, competitive landscape changes, and internal considerations. 6. Use time-boxed exploration. Allocate specific time frames for exploring new features or products. This approach allows for innovation while also ensuring that exploration does not lead to analysis paralysis and delays. 7. Embrace iterative planning that allows for adjustments as market conditions change. Regularly revisit and update the roadmap based on new insights and business priorities. By combining these strategies, you can navigate the tension between shipping on time and ensuring that your product roadmap aligns with the right market insights. Regularly reassessing priorities and staying adaptable to change are key principles in achieving this balance.
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Credentials & Highlights
Senior Director of Product, Strategy and Operations at Eventbrite
Top Product Management Mentor List
Product Management AMA Contributor
Knows About Product Development Process, Marketplace Product Management, Product Operations, Prod...more