Hinge CPO on Building With Lean Product Teams
Tim MacGougan's product career has taken him from customer service at Bonobos to running the product team at Hinge. More than ever before, product management teams are expected with fewer resources and operate with greater efficiency. As Tim explains, product teams should think differently about the full scope of available resources - while being mindful of blind spots and never losing sight of what your customers want.
Driving Productivity With Lean Product Teams
Today, product teams are running leaner for a variety of reasons. From moving with greater agility to lowering business expenses, lean teams are the new norm for product organizations. As a result, we need to make more happen with fewer resources. Simply put, this sounds great on paper. However, it’s much more challenging in practice.
One way to overcome this challenge is to think differently about the “at-large” team that you have for product feedback. For example, most product teams rely on feedback from engineering and marketing to inform their product development decisions. However, these perspectives are very specific to their own engagement or viewpoint on the product.
Furthermore, many product teams miss out on opportunities to collect feedback from customer success teams. Collecting feedback from people who monitor daily customer interactions will provide real-world product feedback that allows your team to make better decisions.
Most importantly, you can collect feedback from people who aren’t on the payroll. Think about it – there are people in your network that can provide great feedback. From family and friends to colleagues in other industries, product teams should leverage everyday contacts to collect a wide variety of product feedback.
Another challenge facing lean product teams is the ability to manage blind spots. Even through soliciting a wide variety of perspectives from other teams and your colleagues, it’s very easy for product managers to make decisions based on their own preferences. Through the years, I’ve learned to understand that your personal use of a product only represents one use case. Ultimately, we need to truly understand how the general population is using your product.
For example, I had never used a dating app prior to joining Hinge. While this may seem counterintuitive in many ways, I’ve been able to appreciate different types of users in a balanced way. Simply put, I would probably infuse more of my own preferences for the app if I was 35 and single living in New York City. Instead, I’m able to operate more as a listener and understand user needs much more effectively.
In the end, product teams don’t need to come up with the best ideas in a vacuum. Instead, the best solutions are generated by on-going feedback from the people who use your product every day.