I’ve been leading product development teams for over 10 years in different industries (ads, gaming, fintech, tools) and customer segments (consumer, enterprise, SMBs). There are a few things have been consistently true across these industries particularly at scale.
I typically broken up my role into three different buckets:
- Product: What are our goals? What we are building to achieve these goals? Why are these features impactful from a user or business perspective? What priority order should we build these features? How do we measure our success (metrics) against these goals? How do we align with other stakeholders (e.g. other product leads, marketing, finance) across the company? What are the right health metrics for the product and are we monitoring them effectively?
- People: Do we have the right people in the right places? Are we aligning the right mix of complementary teams with the right problem spaces? Am I helping the people on my team achieve their personal goals, as well as driving business outcomes? Am I managing performance (both outstanding and underwhelming) effectively?
- Process: What is the ‘product development system’ that ultimately allows us to build great products? What are our rituals that are consistent across teams, and what can be flexible within teams? How do we ensure continuous iteration and experimentation on our system?
When running a suite of products with multiple product, the very practical things I like to spend my time on include:
- Identifying problem spaces that roll up into a coherent strategy to drive user and business outcomes [this is often the hardest].
- Aligning each team to a problem space and a clear ‘why’ for their work.
- Working with product development teams to craft their solution spaces and roadmaps.
- Giving feedback on product specs for high investment features.
- Giving feedback on products that are shipping (quality control).
- Acting as the pattern matcher/glue for related work across teams.
These practices need iteration and refinement based on the type of company (and culture), the type of product (e.g. enterprise is more customer led), and the mix of the people on your teams but being intentional about priorities and practices is always helpful (I published a version of this internally).