Fmr Intercom Product Lead on Frameworks for Product Development
Emily Wang is the co-founder and CEO of Bento, a virtual war room for product launches. By integrating with tools like Slack, Jira and docs where work is already happening, Bento allows a product team to keep others up-to-date with minimal manual work. Prior to founding Bento, Emily was the Head of Product at askSpoke, and a former senior PM at both Intercom and Teespring.
She recently joined Products That Count to host an informative webinar where she discussed three frameworks for three industries and how to focus not just on shipping, but on launching the right thing. Using three well-known company models, she provided examples on how different frameworks are needed for different user interactions.
During the webinar, Emily Wang discussed building frameworks for product development. She used her experiences at three different business models to explain frameworks and their development roles. She also discussed feedback, how it varies from different sources, and integrating it into product changes and resources.
Toward the end of the webinar, Wang took part in a Q&A that led to real-world examples of how her time at companies like Teespring and AtSpoke fine-tuned her understanding of product frameworks.
You can watch Wang’s webinar presentation above or read on for some highlights below.
On Applying Frameworks Appropriately
A company may have a framework built out, but it means nothing if not used properly. During the webinar, Wang explained how frameworks must be applied appropriately. She also gave a few examples of how this can be done.
“Frameworks are incredible ways and tools to simplify and communicate how we make decisions. But it only works to the extent it is applied appropriately to your business.”
“I know from personal experience, a lot of the literature I’ve read speaks to A/B testing and experimentation. And the first time I started working in B2B SaaS or an enterprise, I very quickly realized those actually didn’t apply. “
On the Product Development Team Impact on Customer Value
The role of the product team is multifaceted and doesn’t just end when product development is complete. As Wang discussed, the product team plays an essential role in creating customer value.
“In the consumer world, when you launch a new product, or a new feature, the impact is instant. We knew this because sometimes we would launch things and you would hear about it instantly over Twitter.”
“On the self-service side, it’s also pretty direct. But because you’re not interfacing with millions of people, which means at any given moment someone is exploring the product, this means that there can actually sometimes be a lag. “
“On the enterprise side, you can build a thing, but if the sales team isn’t talking about it, or if the marketing landing page doesn’t talk about it, then people might not know.”
On Prioritizing Feedback Across Business Models
Across three different business models, there are new and unique ways of prioritizing what changes and feedback are essential. Wang dove a bit into what these models would look like and why teams would alter their priorities.
“In the consumer world, a lot of this is driven by metrics. If you have a core business metric or KPI that you and your team are trying to change for the upcoming quarter, whether that is revenue or churn or net basket size, there’s usually some part of the Product Funnel that you can map out.”
“On the self-serve side, at this point, there is potentially a bit of lag between product changes and actually impacting the customer. You tend to have customers that are a lot more vocal about what they feel like is missing from the product.”
“On the enterprise side, it’s also customer feedback, but it’s a little bit different because you usually aren’t dealing with thousands and thousands of companies. It might be in the hundreds or the low thousands. Because product teams aren’t directly interfacing with these customers, you’re getting a lot of indirect feedback.”
On Designing and Product Development
What drives the design and product development? During her webinar, Wang provided a little insight into the building blocks of product development. She also reviewed how they change across business models.
“On the consumer side, designing and building is almost always very, very tied to this idea of experimentation. Because you can afford to. Because if you have millions of users a month, it means that you can actually set up an experiment, run a scientifically rigorous experiment, and get results within a reasonable amount of time to determine what you should do.”
“On the B2B side, it looks pretty different, because when you’re designing a building, there are a lot of expectations that are set with customers. Specific delivery dates or commitment to having something by the end of the quarter.”
On Integrating Product Owners
During the webinar’s Q&A session, one attendee inquired about bringing on product owners to help with building products. Specifically, they wanted to know what traits one may look out for. According to Wang, there are a few characteristics important to every product owner.
“I think the characteristics that we’re looking for is somebody who can differentiate between what is feedback that is aligned with a product vision and what are the gaps.” In this case, the gaps are the differences between what the customer wants and what they were given.
The Product Team Role in Building Resources
The product development framework involves many parties, including the product team. Even when launching product, there are many resources to flesh out. Wang explains how the product team fits in this part of the process using her experiences at AtSpoke.
“The product team helped prepare, if not write, a lot of the Help Center articles, did demos with the sales team so that they could think about how to incorporate a new feature into a demo flow, was on the front lines of customer support as questions came in, and created our own dashboards.”