6 tips to accelerate your product-led growth mindset

Platform

Tip #1: Optimize your technology stack for continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD)

Depending on where you are and what you have in your technology stack, work with your technical counterparts to ensure your stack can support a product-led mindset. By optimising and automating as much of your technical environment, it provides you to discover, design and deliver value with minimal caveats.

  1. Explore how you can transition to microservice-led stacks or something like Backend for Frontends (BFF) which help you better scale your digital products.
  2. Invest in testing automation to remove as much overhead as possible when developing new features.
  3. Ensure your product teams enable templated processes for security, privacy and other cross-functional requirements to allow your teams to focus more on the functionality
  4. Invest in the use of feature toggles to simplify the production testing and shakedown of your product while managing stakeholders and associated go-live risks.
  5. Focus on discovering, estimating and delivering thin slices (smallest technical effort to deliver customer value) of your product to reduce the complexity and effort of your backends and supporting services. This will improve speed to market.

People

Tip #2: Build end-to-end product teams and enable accountability

One of the key successes to delivering true digital products is to build autonomous teams who can be accountable from idea through to the “cheers” post go-live. This allows you to rapidly ideate, evolve, but more critically, pivot and respond to changing customer / internal needs be it design or tech.

Process

Tip #3: Divorce your Project Management Office (PMO)

If your product features are being delivered as projects, you’ve immediately fallen into the trap of what a product-led mindset isn’t about. Although they are often a necessary evil, taking on the arduous job of planning and allocating resources, (typically on a project-by-project basis), their approach can sometimes present a number of challenges to PLG, such as an output over outcome mindset, rigid funding cycles, and not being able to resource your work at all.

Process

Tip #4: Embrace product development rituals

Successful product leaders instigate discipline and establish routines. This helps ensure they can deliver quality customer value at an appropriate pace to meet customer demand but often (and more importantly), internal costs.

  • Embrace quarterly planning (with a stretch of smaller monthly planning) and test your bets/epics early. Bring the team together (preferably including key stakeholders like IT, customer service and perhaps operations) to review your bets, past performance, external trends, and facilitate rapid ideation sessions to create epics to take into concept testing. This allows for high-level cross-functional effort with early indicators of viability and feasibility to drive the planning and sequencing of future work post customer validation.
  • Establish regular deep dive insights sessions. It’s important to incorporate qualitative and quantitative feedback loops at every step of the journey. Plan qualitative and quantitative success measures during discovery, and make sure you implement the tools you need to track activation, usage, funnel health and feedback on your releases. Also ensure you capture omni-channel insights such as chats or bot engagements to detect any issues with your experience.
  • Always identify thin slices of a feature and plan backlogs accordingly. Once you have validated the concepts above, rank ideas according to desirability and then story map them to identify how you can deliver the idea in multiple releases. This allows for more concentrated design, and makes it easier to incorporate feedback loops and explore how a solution may leverage existing technology while new tech is built for future releases.

Empowerment

Tip #5: Empower yourself by building the right team

Building teams isn’t just about technical skills; it’s also about finding the right mix of soft skill strengths, personality types and levels of emotional intelligence. That’s why you need to invest time early and often to facilitate or coach your team via psychometric or personality testing.

Tip #6: Empower your team by building trust with execs

One of the hardest aspects of any product manager is to develop trust with your executives. You need to be able to reassure them that your strategy, bets, roadmap and (perhaps costly) team of resources are working on the right things.

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Thoughtworks

A community of passionate individuals whose purpose is to revolutionize software design, creation and delivery, while advocating for positive social change.