According to PWC’s latest Pulse survey, 60% per cent of senior executives believe that digital transformation is critical for business growth in 2022. But having digital product at the heart of your roadmap is not enough. You also need a foolproof strategy that mitigates the biggest risks scaling digital products face: perceived value, team alignment and competing goals.
Here, we share four ways to tackle those challenges head on to give your scaling product function the best chance of success.
Defining an aspirational vision will help keep a scaling team on track. It also makes it much easier to prioritise, rationalise and make decisions when everyone shares the same big picture. Use your shared vision to ensure your product team maintains a clear understanding of how their work impacts that picture. Remember, your shared vision can grow with you; use collaboration with customers and stakeholders to constantly iterate the more you learn. Allow your vision to evolve with your needs.
Have you ever found yourself with a bullet-proof business case for expansion but zero buy-in from senior management? Sadly, product teams can often be overlooked in a larger business environment due to a lack of understanding about the role they perform and the value they deliver. Use your shared vision to help mitigate this by ensuring it clearly aligns with the wider business goals. Ensure regular cross-team and cross-departmental communication to get all stakeholders on the same page. By standardising your reporting to the senior leadership team, you will reaffirm the value of product. It will also help you to ring fence bigger budgets for new hires to ensure you’re getting access to the best talent in the market.
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make in a period of growth is creating a team of carbon copies. A growing team should be made up of individuals with varying abilities and experience. Because having product managers with different skills, backgrounds and experience lets the business tap into the varied insights they bring. Of course, it’s critical that the team has a shared set of values and standards, but the more diverse your team is, the more likely you are to spot potential issues before they arise. It also maximises the chance you’ll already have the expertise required to pivot or expand your product offering down the line.
Whilst it’s pretty commonplace to have a different PM across each digital product, the ratio of PMs to developers you need will be impacted by the size of your company, the product maturity, and technical complexities.
In agile methodologies, the general consensus for tech-heavy products is 7 developers for each PM, whilst for start-ups, or products in their infancy, a ratio of 1:1 can be much closer to the mark. That said, all product teams should be built to support the wider business strategy because a bigger team means nothing without increased valuable output. Getting an external agency to support can be a great way to find the ideal balance before you commit to full-time hires.
Whilst having the right bums on seats is a huge part of scaling digital products, there’s still a lot that needs to happen for your team to succeed. This is especially true for established businesses with existing ways of working and competing priorities.
It’s the reason we’re running ‘How product drives change’, a virtual panel for businesses looking to scale. During the hour, we’ll be hearing from digital business leaders about when they had the momentum to scale, the challenges they faced along the way, and how they are measuring success right now.