SoulCycle VP on Product Management (Part 3)
Even with hiring new talent and using data to make better decisions, SoulCycle was still the Wild West when it came to business process. Like most companies, the product management team would receive new feature ideas from people across the organization. The problem is that these requests were made in isolation. As a result, there was no communication between departments. If we turned down a request or an idea, we became the bad guys.
The other challenge we had is that the product and engineering teams were positioned at the very end of the planning process. Said differently, we didn’t have access to the request funnel. As product leaders, we need to be present at this stage to provide input on new ideas. In addition, we can better understand the requests coming in from our customers.
First, we completely overhauled the process to force departments to work together. For example, our marketing team began to work with finance to better understand the numbers behind new features. This process also engages our marketing team with the product team to better understand development requirements.
Furthermore, this new process allowed our team to rethink our project priorities. Instead of 20+ scattered projects, our team now funnels all projects into five big projects. Each of these projects has very specific and achievable goals. In addition, we place emphasis on items that are going to move the needle to make an impact.
In summary, I want to share some observations from a recent team meeting to illustrate how this process change has impacted SoulCycle. This meeting had only one product person in the room. They had to defend the importance of their project to other employees across the organization. As a result, our culture focuses on transparency across departments. It’s easier than ever to collaborate and come up with new solutions for our customers.
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Looking for Part 2? Click here to view
About the speaker
Jason Rodriguez is the VP of Product & Engineering at SoulCycle and is responsible for leading their digital efforts across platforms and studios domestically & internationally. Prior to joining SoulCycle, Jason Rodriguez held various positions from Founder, CTO, and VP of Engineering for startups like Noodle Education, Schoology, and larger organizations like Condé Nast. Jason had a career in software development for 10+ years before taking on product and engineering management roles, after graduating from Polytechnic University with a degree in Computer Science.