There is no better professional achievement than launching a product and watching it succeed. But a successful product launch is really nothing more than a glorified proof of concept. No company ever survived on the hype of a launch, no matter how high the trajectory of the rocket.
Once that rocket is up in the air, we lose a lot of control over it, and the period immediately following the launch is often marked by total chaos. What we need is something that looks more like organized chaos, and for that, we need a product team.
Product, as a role, is a relatively new science pioneered by growth-stage startups and innovation-focused corporations. Traditionally labeled “product management,” Product used to be this weird mesh of marketing and release management, but now it’s a weirder mesh of engineering, technology, data analysis, and market fit.
Bringing Product Into an Organization
Creating a product team haphazardly or reactively can actually amplify the post-launch chaos and create a lot of unnecessary hoops for the rest of the org to jump through. Let me tell you, the only thing worse than chaos is buzzwordy documentation of the chaos.
Like I said, this is a new science. Despite what a lot of experts will tell you, we need to build our product team the same way we build our product. Start with the core function, release, test, then fill in the gaps. You should actually build your own unique product team your own unique way.
Last week I sat down with a co-founder and COO of a young company doing machine-learning implementations. Having passed $1 million in annual recurring revenue, and seeing some positive results from repeatable services, “Sheila” was now looking to productize their offering. She knew she needed a product team and she was looking for validation and any new ideas for building one. Here’s what we went through.
Make a Leader Hire First
Product is one of those functions where you need a more experienced hire first. In technology, you might be able to get away with a few junior developers knocking out code before you hire the CTO. In finance, a solid junior accountant can handle things for a while until you hire a CFO. Don’t do this…