Building teams for effective product execution is truly an art form. If we’re being completely truthful, how a product leader organizes their team is a “make or break” factor in a great product. Camila Franco, VP of Product at Instapage|Postclick, addressed a packed zoom room to share fantastic insights on the best practices of building, organizing, and coaching successful product teams.  

On building successful product teams from scratch

So you’ve found yourself in a position where you’re ready to build out your product team, but where do you start? Understanding the problems you aim to solve can help guide the organizational process. It can also reveal how to organize the various levels of product managers, or where you can coach from within. “So, where do we start? I always look at three things when I join a company. First, I look at the actual product that the company is building. Then, I look at the people that company currently has. Finally, I look at the frameworks that the product teams actively use.” “Next, make sure you understand the problem area that the company is trying to solve. Ask yourself questions like, ‘Am I building a new product or taking over an existing product? and ‘Is this product mature or in infancy?’. This will help guide your team-building, so do that assessment quickly.” “Before you build, understand the situation you are in as a product leader and remember that PMs come in many shapes and forms. They can be SMEs or they can be generalists. They can be technical, or they can come from the marketing side. By understanding the problems you’re solving and where the problems exist across all your products, it helps you see what type of PMs you need.  

On growing up-and-coming product stars

The nuances of building successful product teams include knowing when to find the right fit, and when to grow the right person. The ability to coach up-and-coming product stars is a skill every great product leader should have in their leadership toolbox. “If you’re a product lead, always try to find someone that looks like a Senior PM, but is actually a Junior PM or PM. That means someone is growing really fast and with a little coaching, you can help them learn. That’s a gem for a manager, right? So look for what PMS are out there that could be senior PMS and invest in them. When a company invests in them, they stay longer, and they invest back because they see career progression.” “Always be growing, which doesn’t mean more people, but it does mean more value delivered. Sometimes a generalist will do just fine, so as a hiring manager, don’t be pressured into hiring an SME.” “Never go and hire all senior product managers! Coach, coach, coach, and try to guide a career path for each of them in their own way.” “If you have pm’s already, remember that they are very smart. So take what they know and make sure to understand their history.”   A special shout out to the sponsor for this week’s webinar – Vonage. Make sure to register for their upcoming conference, Convo Americas 2020, a virtual conference for product leaders looking to build personalized mobile and online experiences. _yst_prominent_words_version