Building Great Products in Fast Growing Companies
In continuation to our previously written article on how to build great products, Marty Cagen, a Silicon Valley-based product executive and Samuel Ekpe, the co-founder of Grupa, further highlight their thought process on building great products in fast growing companies.
Excited? You should be!
On Minimum Viable Products (MVP)
- MVP is grossly misunderstood, first because of lack of knowledge, mindset and tools. it’s not Minimum Viable Products, it’s supposed to be Minimum Viable Prototypes. We should scrap the name and just focus on testing product ideas. With respect to the timeline for MVPs, it should not take months. You should be doing several MVPs in a week or a multiple a day. The goal of MVPs is to address the risks.
- The goal of startups is to get to product/market fit: startups may run as many as 50–100 iterations till they get to Product Market Fit. The quicker these iterations are run, the better the chance of getting to PMF before running out of money.
On cross-functional Product Teams
- Build 2 pizza sized teams with product, design and engineering. in one squad companies like Google, Amazon, Spotify and Netflix uses this squad model for building and scaling their product organization.
- The best companies build cross-functional product teams and empower them to solve problems.
On Empowered Product Teams vs Feature Team
- Empowered product teams solve problems for customers in ways that customers love, yet work for the business, while feature teams implement features on a roadmap for Business Units/ Stakeholders.
- Empowered Product teams are accountable to outcomes/results — Empowered product teams are missionaries not mercenaries.
- Innovation happens in Empowered product teams primarily because of the empowered engineers.
- Leaders should. create psychological safety for team to create environment where everyone feels like they bring skill to the table and their input matters
- If you’re only using your engineers to code, you’re only getting half the value.
On Product Managers (PM) as Leaders
- Product managers are not just Product Owners. Although that is a key part of their responsibility.
- Product managers need to understand customers, business, product and industry. effectively with design and tech lead/engineering to drive the product vision.
On transforming an organization from feature to Empowered Product Team
- Leaders need fundamental change in culture of the team.
- Move from defining product roadmap to clarifying the vision, strategy, OKRs, customer problem and giving team autonomy for product discovery , development, delivery
- Leaders should focus on defining and prioritizing the problems that need to be solved, and then holding teams responsible to outcomes
- It’s understandable that so many. founders use. the command and control leadership style as all many of them know. As such, we need to educate founders and help mentor them on learning how the best companies work.
On Moving Fast while Iterating in Hyper Growth Startups
You need both qualitative and quantitative insight in achieving this growth.
On Scaling Product
- You don’t need more process
- You don’t need more control
- You need stronger management and leadership
- You need better leaders to empower teams and build amazing products for users. Leaders who will define the vision, expected outcomes, mission and overall strategy — then coach their people to success.
- Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon by Colon Bryer.
- Inspired and Empowered by Marty Cagan.