“Nothing is more certain to cause a project to fail than a misunderstanding of the problem you are solving.”Lenny Rachitsky, Product Management Expert

Solving Product – Ian Gervais Product Team Alignment

As Statflo kept growing, the co-founders decided to split up the product by feature sets, and hire several more product managers.

Although the split helped create focused backlogs, each with their own goals and missions, the product teams’ knowledge no longer overlapped. Very quickly, it became evident that product managers were getting different—sometimes conflicting—feedback from their users. It was becoming difficult to keep everyone synced up on priorities and maintain team alignment.

“It’s very easy for us to kind of silo and split off. The best way to find out about that is when a product manager goes on vacation and someone needs to take on their stuff, and then they realize they don’t know it. It’s completely isolated. It’s completely separate.”

To make sure product teams had the same knowledge, and were aligned on the same vision, Statflo’s Chief Product Officer, Ian Gervais, set up a whiteboard in a meeting room.

How a Whiteboard Can Help Improve Team Alignment

On it, the team mapped the customer journeys and listed burning issues from sales, support, and design.

Because the whiteboard was in plain sight of the entire organization, everyone could follow the evolution of the business on their own.

Each week, product managers met. During the meetings, they would refine the journeys and update the question lists based on new discoveries and feedback that had come in during the week.

Priorities changed. New questions emerged. New tasks got created. Sharing a single map of the experience forced consensus: What do we agree on?

Product managers would pick up items to dig into each week based on the gaps and assumptions they had ran into. They would speak to users, join the customer success team on calls, and conduct user interviews.

These new learnings would then help refine their shared understanding and point to the next areas of customer research.

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This post in an excerpt from Solving Product. If you enjoyed the content, you'll love the new book. You can download the first 3 chapters here →.

Categories: Case Study