A few tips to ace product development
Original Twitter thread here
I was talking to a CPO and a senior Project Manager of a startup from California that just raised a round of more than $200 million. One hour into the conversation, one of them said to me: “It seems that you have done all you can do,” with a sigh of resignation at not being able to give me much more advice.
We might not be doing that bad here in Spain 😉
By popular request, I am going to share a few aspects of product development in which I think we are doing a pretty good damn job:
- Having product teams with clear responsibilities. It must be clear who owns each KPI. Set quarterly goals (OKRs is one way). Review them bi-weekly. Make the dependencies clear.
- Give more responsibility to the team, let designers and engineers be the ones who solve problems and define solutions. It is not the stakeholder’s or PM’s task. The PM is the ultimate decision-maker in vision and scope.
- Invest a lot of effort in understanding your users; visit and talk with your customers every week. Shadow your clients for a day to understand their internal pains. Validate your hypotheses and prototypes with them.
- Sharpen and reduce the scope as much as you can. Validate the hypotheses one by one by launching phases. Talk to your customers, don’t just trust the data. Designers and engineers will get nervous, but it’s ok; the important thing is to find out quickly whether you are heading in the right direction.
- Involve the rest of the departments from the beginning. Learn from them. Share your ideas and prototypes to get feedback and be challenged. Don’t be a lab rat. Work as an operations or sales agent to understand their pains.
- In companies where billing is complex, the product must be nearby because at the end of the chain is where you can clearly see the failures in the process (sales agreements that went through but were not documented properly, poor communication by ops…)
By the way, the other day I did a podcast, tackling these and other key points such as team philosophy and more. It’s a good companion to this post!
About the author
Javier Escribano is currently co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Ontruck, a digital road freight transport company. Previously, he was co-founder and CPO at Touristeye (a travel startup acquired by Lonely Planet. He has an Information & Technology Management Master at IIT Chicago, and a Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Degree at UPM Madrid.
In IMPACT, we proud ourselves of having the best mentors for the startups that go through our programs. Javier is a Specialized & Follow-up Mentor in IMPACT.
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