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How to scale your product organization!
Growth is good, but remaining true to your values and increasing turnover at the same time is even better! Here are 7 tips for scaling your product organization!
1️⃣ Clarify corporate and business strategies with top management and align it with objectives that drive the organization (OKRs)
To organize a product team effectively, one must define and share the strategy of the organization, in order to:
- Understand the positioning and strategy of the organization: target users, number of products sold, international presence, desired margin, competitive positioning, strengths and weaknesses of the organization, objectives and future investments;
- Validate the product vision with top management based on data from the field and users;
- Once the vision is clear, confirm the product team’s purpose, strategic objectives, and expected results.
2️⃣ Define the target organization model and the intermediate steps to achieve it
Once the product team’s objectives are clear, set up an organization that makes sense. This organization must take several parameters into account:
- the diversity of skills;
- volume (number of FTEs);
- the maturity level of the teams;
- the level of motivation and predicted advancement of these teams within the organization;
- the level of resistance to change.
Depending on all of these, you can make a detailed plan to achieve the organization’s goal. This is tailor-made for the organization and inspired by existing models (feature team, impact team, component team), depending on the business, projects to be carried out and factors described above.
3️⃣ Recruit people who fit the model and values of your organization
Once you’ve formalized your target product organization, identify the gap in your organization (underrepresented or even missing skills). To recruit effectively, you must first do the following::
Define your corporate culture to show how it is unique and make it more attractive to potential employees;
Define career paths for future employees;
- Create a recruitment and evaluation process that is clear and adapted to the type of profiles sought;
- Create suitable job descriptions that will interest the right candidates.
4️⃣ Create multidisciplinary teams with specific purposes and focus on dependencies
When your product team is in place and starting to deliver, you are likely to be successful (and that's good!). But a new problem is emerging: how to scale your product team. It’s possible you’ll switch from having one team to several teams. The following issues then arise:
- How to best cut the teams;
- How to manage dependencies between teams;
- How to best synchronize the teams.
There are no ready-made answers to these problems – you have to study the divisions between teams, create a high level of collaboration, and find ways to make communications more fluid.
5️⃣ Promote the idea of “Test & learn”
"Don't set everything in stone" is a recurrent theme in product organization! Allow yourself the flexibility and elasticity to develop your team as it pertains to your product, organization and market. To do this, encourage initiative within your teams while acting as a safeguard for overall consistency. These initiatives generate innovation, even at the organizational level!
6️⃣ The key words are support, communication and transparency
Organizational transformation is a thorny subject: it impacts an employee’s position, career trajectory and ambition. It is therefore a job focused on “full-time change management”. Pedagogy, support, sharing, training are an integral part of success.
7️⃣ Do not blindly copy organizational models that work in other companies
It should now be clear that there are no magic formulas or preconceived models to achieve a result. Achieving a successful product organization requires an emphasis on flexibility and effort.
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