(106) What is the ideal way to structure your product teams? — Part 1

From High Growth Handbook

  • Spell out the logic of why you need the reorg first and then think through the leadership and org structure that works best.
  • Why the new structure is better than the old?
  • Do you need renewed focus on a specific area?
  • Are there collaboration issues?
  • Has the team grown dramatically and now needs additional management?
  • Has something changed in your market that means you need to re-align functional priorities or set of people working together?

This is what Gofore.com says:

  • Increased value throughput–focus on delivering what the customer or market values most.
  • Increased learning–individual and team learning increases because of broader responsibility and because of co-location with colleagues who are specialists in a variety of areas
  • Simplified planning–by giving a whole feature to the team, organising and planning becomes easier
  • Reduced waste of handoff–since the entire co-located feature team does all the work (analysis, design, code, test), handoff is reduced
  • Less waiting; faster cycle time–waiting is reduced because handoff is eliminated and because completing a customer feature does not have to wait for multiple parties each doing part of the work serially
  • Self-managing; improved cost and efficiency — The team has responsibility for end-to-end completion and for coordinating their work with others. Feature teams are less expensive–there isn’t the need for extra overhead such as extra managers and coordinators
  • Better code/design quality–multiple feature teams working on shared components create pressure to keep the code clean, formatted to standards, constantly refactored, and surrounded by unit tests.
  • Better motivation–research shows that if a team feels they have complete end-to-end responsibility, and the goal is customer-directed, then there is higher motivation and job satisfaction
  • Change is easier–changes in requirements or design are absorbed by one team; multi-team re-coordination and re-planning are not necessary.

Input from Jens Fabian

  • Permanence of the teams

Team superstructures

  • By product or product area
  • By customer/user group
  • By overarching goal, e.g. growth vs engagement
  • Temporary structures for strategic initiatives comprising multiple teams, e.g. a multi-quarter effort to improve various aspects of onboarding

From Aha.io

  • Who are your target customers? How do their needs vary?
  • Which business goals is your team responsible for achieving?
  • Are there multiple products or product lines to be managed?
  • What are the functions of your product team?
  • What resources will be dedicated to each team?

FROM BUFFER

Goal-focused squads

Plus role-based chapters

PRODUCT SQUADS

Two Reasons the Squad Method Might Improve Your Product Development

1. It can generate true in-house expertise.

2. It can speed everything: development, feedback and learning, and updates.

Three Reasons the Squad Method Might Undermine Your Product Development

1. Your product line might not support this model.

2. You risk breaking your in-house product knowledge into silos.

3. You could lose some of the advocacy from both product management and development.

Product Squads: Interesting Approach to Product Development, But Not Right for Everyone

FROM PRODUCTBOARD

4 ways to organize a scaling PM organization

Principle 1: Organize around jobs-to-be-done

Principle 2: Organize around solutions

Principle 3: Organize around personas

Principle 4: Organize around customer segments

Productboard’s guiding principle

  • Job 1: I as a maker want to systematically learn about the needs of my customers to formulate a product vision.
  • Job 2: I as a maker want to prioritize problems to solve via focused objectives to create a clear product strategy.
  • Job 3: I as a maker want to align everyone in the organization on what to build next to maximize transparency and seamless execution.

SUMMARY

  • Nothing you come up with will be 100% perfect and that is okay. Most of the time, there is no right answer and org structure is often an exercise in pragmatism. It is a series of tradeoffs. Two different structures may be equally bad and good.
  • If you are growing fast, you have a different company every 6–12 months and so is the org structure. Don’t try to find a long term structure as the long term company will be different than today and will have different needs.
  • Communicate to your team that as your company grows quickly, things will shift around. Make is clear that it is normal for that to happen.
  • Team structuring to be based on value throughput — focus on delivering what the customer or market values most.
  • Designing team structures oriented toward engineering — above, say, customer value — runs the risk of becoming too inward-looking. Such a company might focus on technical elegance, for example, instead of whether that product can achieve a market fit.
  • By product or product area
  • By customer/customer segments/personas
  • By overarching goal, e.g. growth vs engagement
  • Temporary structures for strategic initiatives comprising multiple teams, e.g. a multi-quarter effort to improve various aspects of onboarding
  • By customer’s jobs to be done.

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Building nextgen real estate platform at PriceHubble & podcaster at productlessons.com. I blog about products, business around products, and growth strategies.

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Ravi Kumar.

Ravi Kumar.

Building nextgen real estate platform at PriceHubble & podcaster at productlessons.com. I blog about products, business around products, and growth strategies.

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