Leading a product team can be challenging. As a product leader, you must effectively balance the day-to-day coaching of cross-functional teams and balancing the long-term vision of your business partners.
As a client partner at Dialexa, I work closely with our clients, overseeing our teams and the products they are working on to deliver value and meaningful outcomes. I assure you, not every product team is the same and it’s not always easy.
Over time, we have seen trends across clients that indicate to us where their teams are struggling, and we have identified reliable ways to solve these challenges. These are the ones we see the most:
TIMELINES, GOALS AND ROADMAPS ARE NOT CLEAR.
Sprint demos are not a substitute for a plan and a proper roadmap. When delivery teams push for sprints instead of roadmaps, stakeholders lose confidence, and product and design teams get frustrated. Without clarity of a plan or clearly outlined roles and responsibilities, teams will struggle to align with the vision of leadership.
Our Solution: Roadmaps make sprints more effective and avoid shipping delays.
A LACK OF ALIGNMENT WITH INTERNAL CUSTOMERS.
You have two customers: internal (marketing, delivery, sales, etc.) and external (end users). You must build relationships, trust, and confidence with internal customers before winning with external customers. A lack of internal buy-in causes delays and frustration. This is a key reason people quit; no one wants to work on something for weeks and then never see it delivered or feel appreciated for their work.
Our Solution: Product Managers need to own the responsibility of getting everyone on the same page and building relationships and trust across teams.
QUALITY IS RESERVED FOR THE END OF THE PROCESS.
Traditionally, teams have a testing period to catch defects at the end of development. But quality isn’t just feature set testing; it is getting the requirements right at the beginning, prioritizing work, and making sure all voices are heard. Quality should be baked into every part of your plan.
Our Solution: Reframe the idea of what quality means to permeate beyond the product into process and people.
Just because a customer or stakeholder asks for it doesn’t mean it is best for the product. Most customer-requested features are used less than 20% of the time, while the ones used 80% of the time get neglected. Roadmaps and iterative development can and should coexist. A strong roadmap will encourage stakeholders to evaluate each feature in the context of the bigger picture.
Our Solution: A transparent intake process will help you examine new ideas, identify trends, and analyze which features deserve priority. A good product team can align features to the roadmap and to company goals.
A DATED TOOLSET.
Too often, teams don’t take the time to evaluate their toolset or new ideas. They budget time to tackle the work in front of them without the space and time to plan ahead. Over time, this incrementally hinders their ability to stay competitive.
Our Solution: Set aside at least 10% of your time for a proper kickoff to introduce new tools and ideas to ensure smooth adoption and encourage innovation.
CONSIDER THESE PRODUCT MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES AS OPPORTUNITIES
Empower your team by pulling together to respond to roadblocks with agility and dexterity by tackling these core issues with solid communication and alignment. Dialexa solutions will start to help you begin to find that responsibilities and managing deadlines will force you to get strategic and prioritize what’s important. Getting to the bottom of the five challenges covered above is a path to more effective product management and satisfied customers.