How to setup a Strategic Product Team meeting

  • 30 December 2021
  • 4 replies
  • 159 views

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Hi all!

I’m working as the Product Lead @ blackbear (a SaaS enabled Marketplace that solves all types of business challenges in 4 weeks) and looking for ways to incorporate customer-facing teams more in product development.

Do you guys and girls have suggestion about how to setup a Strategic Product Team structure and meetings to gather feedback from those internal stakeholders? During these meetings we would like to gain feedback and let the features we develop solve their problems and those of their customers. 

Thanks in advance,

 

Cheers,
JP


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4 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi @jpfromblackbear,

How are you involving your customer-facing teams today? How do they want to be involved?

I feel like they could be involved at any step in your product development lifecycle. Some ideas:

  • During discovery, include them and their customers in interviews – get them hearing about the problems up-front and also make it easy for them to continually share product feedback and needs with your product team via Productboard’s Insights board
  • While working in the problem space, engage them as part of the team and get a well-rounded cross-section of participants.
  • While working in the solution space, bring them in as well. Design Sprints are a classic example of this
  • As the solution comes into view, have them help get their customers involved in testing/validating and sharing further feedback, bring them into bug bashes and early testing and also bring them into your plans around go-to-market and what that will look like.
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Hi @scott.baldwin,

 

Thanks for your reply, much appreciated!
Currently they share insights using the ProductBoard Chrome extension or using the portal. They want to be more involved by the scoring of features (difficult because all members have different priorities). In the SPT we would like to include the 2 co-founders, Head of Sales, a Customer Success Manager, a Project Consultant and a Product Lead. 

Thanks that are some nice ideas, based on my input could you do any other recommendations?

Cheers, JP
 

 

Userlevel 5
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Hi @jpfromblackbear 👋

To me personally, this is the hardest part of product management. And no one found the silver bullet. So hang in there, try stuff and don’t get overwhelmed. It will all be fine in the end :-) 

Some quick takes based on your input:

  • Involve your CTO/VP Engineering. Give them a forum to pitch tech-driven initiatives that will improve velocity, compliance, quality etc. Work with them to ensure these initiatives are worded as business (financial) objectives. Engineers aren’t just coders who wait around for a spec (at least, I hope yours aren’t). They know the weaker points of your system and where all those bugs are coming from. Hear them out! The founder of Twilio has a lot to say about involving engineers more. When you do this, make sure everyone knows the CTO/VP Engineering isn’t in the meeting to provide estimates for the ideas all the stakeholders will bring up. That should happen later and requires more people & analysis.
  • Properly frame the role of the co-founders. Avoid HiPPO behavior. Your weight in prioritization decisions should reflect the amount of exposure you have to actual customer problems day-to-day, not your seniority or salary. Are your co-founders still spending a lot of time out on the field or are they now mainly occupied with building & running the company? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the latter and it’s only natural. But that impacts what they can contribute to prioritization. They own the company strategy and goals, so they are well-placed to share and explain those to the group. You might want to have them give examples of how a previous product initiative contributed to a goal. They can challenge ideas on their strategic relevance and even ‘own’ the scoring of that criterium. Speaking of which …
  • Choose a prioritization framework and stick to it for this round. A quick search will turn up literally dozens of frameworks. They all work and they all don’t work 🙃. Choose one that you feel comfortable with and run with it. Whichever you pick, spend the time to define and communicate the evaluation criteria before your meeting.
  • Have every stakeholder group present a top-3/5/10 of problems / initiatives they would like to see tackled. Sales might come with missing features that are mentioned in lost deal reports, CS might talk about which current features are giving them headaches in support hours, marketing might talk about responding to a competitor move etc. Make them rank and explain their rationale. Consider doing this async before the actual meeting (e.g. by sharing recordings of their ‘pitch’) so that the ‘live event’ can be focused on actual prioritization.

Finally, a word of advice that a product leader once gave me: there’s no such thing as a perfect prioritization because you’ll never have perfect knowledge. Don’t worry too much about that. As long as you’re solving valuable problems for your customer, you’ll advance. 

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Hi @pstrouven_pxc,

Thanks for your extensive reply!
Interesting and valuable insights you share! This Thursday we have the SPT kickoff meeting. Will share over here how it went, prioritization framework is in the works, stakeholders handed in their Top-3! Role of the co-founders is framed, good one! CTO we don’t have yet, but starts next week, so will incorporate him in the process.

Thanks a lot,

Cheers,
JP