If you are a product maker, you know your job is the primal point of success. But you also ought to know that this primal point of success will remain just as is if you don’t have a team to communicate and market your product to the relevant audience. More importantly, if you don’t have a team to manage your product, it may never see the sky. It may never acquire the exposure it deserves.
For that very reason, having a great product team is essential to your success. It’s the bridge between you and your product’s potential users.
With that said, here we have a quick guide on how to get started with building and structuring a product team. We’ll begin with understanding what makes up a product team and further, we’ll explore how you can develop one.
Let’s get to it!
What defines a product team?
Just reading the term product team, you’re likely to imagine a team with defined roles in sales and development. However, that’s far from the truth. Product teams are a haze. These teams are mostly in a frenzy.
Officially and legally, there are no standard roles in a product team. It can be a combination of several different roles held by skilled individuals. The roles in a product team depend on each specific business.
For example, a SaaS business product team may comprise:
- Technical Writer
- Marketing Manager
- Customer Success Manager
- Sales Manager
- Chief Technical Officer
- Product Designer
- Product Owner
Again, that’s not a concrete list. Some businesses may have only a few roles out of these working on their product team, while some may have additions, such as developers and project managers.
The role that’s consistent in every product team is of a product manager. A product manager is a person who’s responsible for working with everyone in the team. They’re responsible for ensuring that everyone’s working in sync. They’re also responsible for the product’s overall success amongst the audience and the team.
Building a Great Product Team
Above, you’ve had an insight into the overall structure of a product team. For now, three things should be clear in your head:
- The quantity of people in your team depends on the size of your business.
- The roles in your product team should be highly specific to your business needs.
- Your product team should be led by a skilled product manager.
Moving forth, let’s zoom in our lens and learn how you can build a team of your own from scratch.
First, ask yourself a question:
Does my product lack performance or marketing?
Answering this question will help you determine whether you should recruit for technical roles or creative roles. If your product lacks in performance, you might want to upgrade its overall mechanism. And for this, you might have to hire developers, technicians, or engineers. If marketing is the case, you might need to hire a social media manager, content writer, etc.
Once you have answered this question, choose a framework for your product team:
- Cross-functional team
- One product manager per product or feature
A cross-functional team has everyone responsible for ideation, execution, and development. It is ineffective for big teams.
One product manager per feature or product refers to the practice of splitting one role as per skills. One individual monitors and assists the growth of a particular product or feature.
Another great approach to managing your product team is to incorporate the six sigma technique, which is based on a set of data-driven quality control techniques. It can help you ensure that the output performance of your team is uniform and up to par.
Quality Structuring of Product Team
Note that according to the recent product management trends, product management is taking a professional turn. More and more businesses are recruiting people for specific needs. They are using custom titles for these roles. As long as the hired individual meets your product’s needs and your custom title is relevant to your respective industry, it’s all good.
Going back to the trends – now, you can hire individuals who are professionally trained for their job in a product team. Before this, people from different fields (sometimes absolutely irrelevant!) have been taking up these roles.
We’re not saying you should not hire professionally trained individuals only. There are a great lot of people who can do pretty well on a product team based only on their instincts and skills (particularly marketing managers!).
But as someone who will be investing in a product team, it’s a great piece of news. You can now hire individuals who can prove their expertise in the domain with relevant professional certifications.
Summing up, building and structuring a product team may appear easy on the surface. But let us tell you, it’s going to take a bit of time and loads of effort. You will have to define your scope of work, identify the skills you seek, recruit relevant individuals (not by paper, but by skills), and coordinate until they can operate on their own. But once they do, trust us: the results will be worth it!