Product managers are often driven by results. Focusing on an outcomes-based roadmap can unlock a product’s potential and success, and this comes from taking on a customer-first mindset. What are some ways to incorporate the customer throughout the product process? Leveraging a few examples, Mastercard VP of Product Management Dana Rosenberg shares how to be customer-first and drive tangible, metric-based product outcomes.

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On starting with the customers

Dana Rosenberg spoke about her experience as a product manager for MasterCard Connect, from seeing invoices to managing disputes. 7,000 companies from all over the world use the platform to access more than 160 tools and reports. All of these users have different journeys and different jobs to do on the platform. For the product team, this meant there was a lot to learn.

Rosenberg says, “When I got here, it felt a little bit like this: every time someone said that they had something to do, we would go swarm the soccer field and run after the project. So someone said something needed to be fixed, and we’d all run this way. And someone would say something else, and we’d all run that way. And it didn’t feel like we were getting anything done. 

“By the end of this journey that we went through together, it felt like we were working like a team. And we were kicking goals and just really making an outcome on behalf of our customers, and an impact, which is what we wanted. But it took a lot of work to get there. And the first thing we had to do was start thinking about those customers, thinking about the different companies and users that were coming to us day after day with a job to get done.

“So it was about those customers first.”

On capability teams

After putting those customers first, the work wasn’t done. The next step was determining how to organize the teams.

“Then we organized our teams around capabilities. We had about 10 different Scrum teams. And before they were just kind of working on services and things. And instead of just kind of giving them a random assortment of work or a project, we said, you own this service or this capability. 

“So for example, there was one group that worked on sign in every day. And their job was to make sure that sign in failures were reduced on the platform. So that drove ownership around our key objectives. And most importantly, we defined success outcomes, what were the metrics, we were going to try and drive to change the outcomes for our customers. 

“As we did this, and we changed the mindset. Again, it was starting with the customers organizing around those capabilities. So giving teams clear focus, and then focusing on the metrics and then inspecting ourselves as a team, we would come together through what we called rhythm of the business activities to facilitate discussion around how we were actually moving the metrics and all these key areas. 

“And so that was really our process, and it allowed us to move from the kids on the soccer field just swarming to kicking goals.”

On big rocks

The team then created a visual roadmap to figure out where they wanted to go next. Once Connect became a simple, unified and reliable experience, then what? In the future, the team wanted to be intuitive, timely, global, multi-lingual, more effective, and insightful, able to give recommendations to customers.

Rosenberg says, “Most importantly, we drove ourselves by Northstar OSAT (Overall Customer Satisfaction). How do we drive the satisfaction of our customers? We set a goal there of what we wanted to move, and then we organized our teams around these big rocks. So the capability teams were then laddered up against these big rocks.

“And for us they were: 

  1. Safety and soundness. So how do we improve the operational health and security of our platform? 
  2. The second part of it was connect to the future, we wanted to make it easy for other teams within MasterCard, to build applications for our customers to use and publish into our website. 
  3. We wanted to improve the top customer journey. So how do we make things faster? How do we improve time on task for different things that our customers are doing throughout the experience? 
  4. And we wanted to make sure that we were building the foundation for the future, that we were supporting market expansion. If we were going to get global in year two, what do we have to do in year one? 

“And so these big rocks were key and part of the inspection mechanism of whether we were driving them forward or not to show that we were making progress.”

About the speaker
Dana Rosenberg Mastercard, VP of Product Member
About the host
Brian Root Exploring new opportunities, Vice President of Product Management

I am a collaborative, patent-holding product executive specializing in building impactful customer-facing digital products in eCommerce, FinTech and InsureTech. I have over 12 years of experience leading and managing cross-functional product and design teams at all stages from Series A to Fortune top 2 (Amazon and Walmart). I have built and scaled teams from 0 to up to 15 individuals on several occasions, and I particularly enjoy the challenges of hiring and structuring teams. My passion as a leader has always been to unlock the potential of my reports and mentees. I strongly believe that an impactful, scalable \"what\" (the product) is the result of a strong understanding of the \"why\" (user and business needs) and \"how\" (product management and design best practices). In my non-work life, I enjoy running, cooking, dabbling in statistical modeling of sporting events, and being the best father that I can be to my baby son.

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