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How to build an effective Product team

Author: Rachel Wheeler
How To Build An Effective Product Team Forward Role

Over the last 12 months, I have partnered with a number of businesses across the North helping them to build their Product teams. Whilst consulting and finding out the needs of my clients, which have varied from SME’s to FTSE 250, I found that the knowledge and understanding of Product varied considerably.

Some clients had a C-Suite that had previously worked within agile companies and such, who wanted to adapt similar methodologies and organisational structure. Other clients could describe their needs but required some guidance to shape their newly created Product role.

So what is Product? What is a Product team?

A business with digital product owners and/or managers have a dedicated team accountable for understanding the customer needs and improving the products or experiences.

Product teams are responsible for implementing strategy, roadmap and feature definition. Most notably, Product teams work cross-functionally with teams such as Development and Marketing, towards a shared vision. The team will design, prototype and test within sprints, to successfully bring products to the market in a compressed amount of time.

Firstly, it is important to define your digital product, which could be a website, a mobile app or an online portal. These are then often defined through distinct customer needs such as quick buy, on-the-go banking or a business need such as speeding up a service or reducing call centre dependency. Product Owners are then assigned to parts of the customer experience. Small teams would own the entire customer journey, whereas larger teams may subdivide to have one person looking after a specific element, such as the online basket.

The beauty of this style of working is the testing phase, which provides feedback from the end user allowing the team to quickly understand successes, and indeed failures. These findings can sometimes contradict the business specifications, highlighting the importance of user research to define the overall customer experience, as opposed to relying upon ideology.

A collaborative approach is fostered most notably between the Product Owners and the Development team, thanks to an understanding and appreciation of each team’s part in the overall process. Performance measurement therefore becomes more transparent, thanks to notable conversion rates and direct customer feedback.

So is a Product team for you?

Product teams work quickly and effectively to decrease release time to market, allowing you to remain competitive. They support other business units by working collaboratively in squads towards a shared product goal. Product teams solve problems by analysing and adjusting existing features and rolling out new features or services. Finally, let’s not forget that customer loyalty and improved conversion rates are produced by a business that is consistently innovating.

To learn more about product and to discuss the creation or expansion of your product team, please contact Rachel Wheeler on 07825 589389 / Rachel@forwardrole.com

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