HELP! Fires are burning and I can’t focus on growth now.

Product Managers are always in this burning situation. Everyday there is something up; customer complaints, server downtime, fraud attack, error messages, user demands etc. We run around trying to put out this fires and once done another crops up. Endless…

How do I as a product manager focus on growth?

Team formulation and restructuring is essential for the growth of your product and your team. If you are facing the situation above in reality, you need to start thinking about re-structuring. And it really depends on the scale of the organization or market phase you are in to determine the configuration of the teams.

1. Small companies (10-50 personnel), Early Phase

Early Phase

As you start out with a product that has minimal product-market fit, small number of adopters and low traction which is termed the ‘Early Adopters Phase’ by Geoffrey A. Moore, the CEO / Founder who plays the same role as a Head of Product is the key member that drives Growth. At this time, getting the right product out of the market is crucial therefore Growth is minimal. Product Managers are focused on core features and even orchestrate the development sprint cycles.

2. Mid-sized Companies (50 – 100 personnel), Early Majority with market share

Early Majority

At this stage, your product would have gained a loyal customer base. You team would always be short of time, fixing problems and trying to keep up to the pace of the market. Most organizations are pretty messed up at this stage although it is the most exciting time to be in. The recommendation is to have Growth teams separated from Product teams. The Growth teams  manages product innovation whereas the Product team manages core features and product development. 

3. Big Companies (>100 personnel), Matured markets

Matured Markets

When your organization has grown to a larger size and your product has a significant market share in a specific industry. You would have to start splitting your product teams where you have a growth team, product marketing team and product development team. Note that product management is now split into product marketing + product development. The growth team is responsible in product innovation and user experience, product marketing is responsible in core product features, pricing, user lifecycle and product development is responsible for the software architecture, engineering and operations.

Team formulation and restructuring is essential for the growth of your product and your team.

The separation of teams can be extremely daunting and stressful for teams who has gotten used to doing everything by themselves. However, the change is necessary to keep the product relevant to the market as competition arises.