Product Team: Role and Structure

Product Team

Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.

Henry Ford

The essence of this quote coming from an industrial legend is eternal once you dive deeper into the field. 

A well-organized team brings unity and impetus in the product life cycle

This blog will closely examine the critical aspects of the product team, some of its essential constituents, importance, and workability. 

What Is a Product Team?

 ‘Teams’ are the best things to happen since sliced bread. 

It helps in collaboration, systematic planning, organization, you name it.

A product team consists of product owners, product managers, product designers, and engineers that work together to design, build, and ship the product. 

A product team can be as small as two people to thousands of people across multiple time zones.

The product manager ensures that product development is working towards a clear goal, so market data should drive every decision.

The product designer represents the user’s view in each decision-making process.

The developer works directly with technology to implement other people’s designs. 

So there you have it!

A product team comprises these three personalities who collaborate to ship out a perfect product.

What is Product Team Leader?

‘What good is a team without its leader.’

No matter how deftly you organize your product team, it is still likely to go haywire without an efficient product team leader. 

Product Team Leader Definition

“A product team leader is responsible for all the critical product decisions and executing its overall vision.”

A product manager is typically a product team leader. They play a pivotal role as they are accountable for product success. 

Responsibilities Of a Product Team Leader:

  • Product team leaders must give product updates at the product standup meeting every two weeks. It helps all product team members know what’s changing, why it’s changing, what they should do about it, and who they need to talk to if it affects them.
  • A product leader is responsible for guiding and influencing people and teams through complex situations and changing problems to achieve a shared goal.
  • A product leader needs an understanding of technology and a business strategy, and it helps them interact efficiently with various members.
  • They ensure that the product functions appropriately by evaluating it, aligning efforts across various teams, and communicating with multiple departments to achieve end goals quickly.

Now, you must have a slight bit of idea about the product leader’s role. 

So, let’s see some critical skills essential for product leaders to possess to be successful. 

Product Team Leadership Skills:

  • Strong interpersonal skills, including influencing, coaching, negotiation, and conflict resolution.
  • Ability to lead complex product decisions and prioritize conflicting product alternatives.
  • Familiarity with product analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and so on, required to measure product success.
  • Technical expertise in some areas of product technology. For example, a back-end or front-end engineer can be the product leader for the respective components.
  • Every product team needs a product leader who balances business, users, technology, and design ideas to prioritize features to build next continuously.
  • We can safely say that product team leaders are responsible for getting things done through others by providing direction, removing roadblocks, and solving problems on time. 

How is Product Team Structured?

Product team structure involves product managers, product designers, and product developers.

A product manager is responsible for product vision, product roadmap, and product success metrics. They work closely with product designers to ensure that products meet customer needs and are easy to use. 

They must balance business needs with design requirements so that products do not lose their appeal during development.

The product designer represents users’ points of view in product research, creativity, interaction design, and prototyping stages. They must have a sense of product design, creativity, and understanding of product technology.

A product developer works directly with technology to implement other people’s designs. They work with product managers to communicate the requirements and vision. 

To sum up, a product team is a multidisciplinary group composed of product managers, designers, and developers to build a great product. 

A good product team structure ensures effective communication amongst all the team members, which inevitably leads to better results.

What are Product Team Roles?

It’s an indispensable fact that an efficient, well-structured product team is behind every successful product. 

There are various roles and responsibilities of the product team. They are as follows:

Product Management

Product management is the job title of a product manager in a product team, and they are responsible for vision, roadmap, and success metrics.

As the name itself suggests, a product manager is responsible for managing different aspects of the product. 

The essential quality of a good product manager is their ability to communicate effectively with all the team members. 

Apart from that, they must manage deadlines efficiently and produce the best results within the given time frame.

Product Design

Product designers represent users’ points of view in product research, brainstorming ideas, interaction design, and prototyping stages. A designer must have a product design sense, creativity, and technology understanding.

Product Development

A product developer works directly with technology to implement other people’s designs. Product developers also work with product managers to communicate product requirements and vision.

Product Analytics

Product teams use product analytics to measure product success. Product managers, product developers, and product designers are all responsible for using product analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, etc., for tracking product usage data.

User Research 

Product managers, developers, and designers leverage user research activities to understand product opportunities better. 

They use search analytics, competitive product analysis, and customer interviews to identify various product ideas.

Product Marketing

Product marketing is the umbrella term for product-related activities that help product teams spread awareness and usage. Product marketing comes into play during the ideation and the launch stages, while product managers, developers, and designers develop a launch plan, website, promotional content, and customer education materials.

A good product manager has expertise in research and development (R&D) to marketing.

How To Build a Product Team?

The key to building a great product team is to bring ‘variety.’ As the company expands, the team should develop simultaneously to keep up with the product demand. 

It’s a good idea to hire product managers, developers, and designers from varying backgrounds working at different product companies. Such a multidisciplinary team is one of the most important elements behind product success.

These teams have more chances of innovation as people from varied fields develop their unique perspectives and ideas.

Following are some of our steps to building a product team:

Start With Product Managers

Product managers are responsible for product vision, roadmap, and overall product success metrics. Since product management is the cornerstone of a team, starting with product managers first makes sense. 

It would be best to carefully analyze the team’s needs and then hire an efficient product manager accordingly. 

Build a Cross-Functional Product Team

One of the most important elements behind product success is having a multidisciplinary product team. Product teams should have members from varied backgrounds working at different product companies. 

Such people will bring in more new, creative ideas and perspectives to the table, ultimately resulting in better products.

Ensure That Each Member Has Specialized Skill Sets

You should ensure that each member on your product team has specific expertise to bring to the organization. 

Additionally, their ability to do more than just one thing will make them ultimately stand out. That is why it’s essential to have unique individuals on board. 

Keep The Size Of The Product Team Small

The product team should be small enough to be self-sufficient and big enough to produce results. 

Sometimes including many team members causes diffusion of responsibility and lack of transparency among the team members. Hence, you should keep a smaller and efficient team. 

Create a ‘Communication Protocol’ For Product Teams

Every company has its unique culture, but your product team must follow its communication protocols. 

It helps create better awareness about different roles and responsibilities, which leads to a more effective workflow. 

For example, if you are using scrum methodology, make sure you conduct all the scrum meetings (scrum standups, sprint planning & demos) daily. 

Additionally, ensure that you give the product team members sufficient time to prepare before the meetings.

Create a Product Roadmap Together With Product Managers

The product development process should be collaborative where the product manager shares their vision and roadmap with the teams. 

The product roadmap must include details such as your target market, whom you cater to, your ultimate goal, and how you will achieve that goal.

It also includes timelines along with the necessary features needed for product success.

Use Lightweight Tools For Collaboration

Your product team must use lightweight tools such as Slack or HipChat, which are available across all devices and enable real-time communication within the group. 

It ensures better coordination between product managers, developers, and designers. You can update other team members about product development cycles at all times.

Encourage Product Teams To Use Online Resources:

Online communities like Quora and Stack Exchange provide product managers with a platform to seek ideas, advice, and guidance from other product managers. 

It helps product teams save time as they don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.

They can refer to such online resources, which answer most product-related questions.

Give Product Managers Access To Market Data

Every product manager should have full access to detailed market research reports to draw valuable insights and share relevant information with the team. 

Product managers make important decisions such as what products do, what you want to launch, and which product features you need to prioritize. The product team can make use of such data.

How Product Team Works?

Now let’s understand how the team works! 

Product teams typically work in short iterative cycles called sprints. Sprints refer to the time-boxed goals and deliverables. 

We specify what we plan to do during each sprint and by when. It leads to a product that constantly improves using customer feedback and product development best practices.

Scrum methodology for effective product development:

A scrum team usually consists of cross-functional members with various skills necessary to build a successful product.

  • A product manager has a thorough understanding of customer needs and market trends.
  • UX designers help create a seamless user experience to use the product without facing any difficulties.
  • Developers are responsible for building scalable products capable of supporting future growth plans. They focus on product performance and product security as well.
  • The scrum master is responsible for the product team’s success. They guide product managers to make crucial product decisions that help product success.
  • Scrum methodology encourages transparency between product managers and the product development team. Product teams meet every week to discuss completed action items, feedback, estimated time-frame for the remaining tasks, and developing a product development roadmap (if necessary). This process ensures smooth coordination between various team members involved in the product development cycle from inception to the product’s actual launch.
  • Product teams work on ideation, development, and launch. The product team is the most crucial working unit of an organization because it takes care of product success. The product team establishes the product vision and product strategy that helps determine what features to include for product success.
  • Product managers focus on identifying customer needs and wants, which are used by product developers to come up with appropriate product features.
  • Product teams must follow agile methodologies like scrum (weekly cycles) or kanban (daily cycles). Scrum is more suitable for software products with regular iteration/incrementation of code. In contrast, you can apply kanban to non-software products to prioritize backlog prioritization daily.
  • Responsibilities of product team members also include product launch, marketing, and management. After success, product managers focus on identifying new opportunities from product usage data used by the development team to develop advanced versions.

Product Team vs. Integrated Product Team

Now that you have an idea about the product team, let’s dive into understanding the difference between integrated product teams.

Following are the differences:

  • Product team focuses on product ideation, development, and launch. In contrast, the integrated product team is responsible for product planning, design, development, and launch.
  • Product teams are organized into part-time multi-functional members who have clarity on their roles. In contrast, an integrated product team is full-time with dedicated members for each position.
  • Product teams are formed when the production process is immature, with product discovery taking longer than product delivery. In contrast, an integrated product team comes in when production processes are mature.
  • Product teams have different product success metrics, impacting how they operate within and outside the organization. In contrast, an integrated product team has similar product success metrics for all its members involved.
  • The daily duties of the product team include identifying market opportunities, prioritizing them based on customer needs, building ideas to address these opportunities, and testing the solution’s efficiency. In comparison, an integrated product team includes strategic development, competitive analysis, defining roadmaps, and observing product backlogs to reap benefits from previous investments.

Conclusion 

The product team helps ensure overall organizational success. 

To sum up this blog, we would say, “A successful product team makes everyone’s life easier, from customers to developers.” And that’s what we call ‘the power of the product team.’

This blog was to help you understand the importance and execution mechanism of the product team. 

We have keenly incorporated some tips and tricks that will enable you to structure your product team quite efficiently.

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