Top Mistakes to Avoid When Scaling a Product Team

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Illustration: Business growth chartsWhen your manufacturing business starts to grow, it is important to scale production to meet that growth. This can include investing in more production capacity but in the product management space it means new products or expansion of current products to meet new segments needs. While these strategies are all essential to meet this new demand, the ability to grow also comes with the need to scale your product team. 

When Does Scaling Happen?

The need to scale can happen when:

  1. You add products to your portfolio.
  2. Expand to new markets and need variations of your current product.
  3. Your product grows in complexity and turns into a system with major subcomponents with teams behind them

All of these growth scenarios require new personnel and new teams with interdependencies to manage this expansion. When you don’t understand your new personnel's needs fully, you may fail to put the correct resources in place. This will impact growth and limit the realization of your business goals. 

Let’s investigate a few of the problems that can occur when you fail to scale a product team effectively.


Mistake #1: You Don’t Hire The Right People To Make Scaling Happen Successfully

Illustration: TeamworkThis factor is crucial when it comes to scaling a product team, and you need to ask several questions to ensure that your product goals will be met. 

  • Do you have the right team in place? 
  • Do they have the right skills and qualifications to do the job? 
  • Do you have enough people to manage the new expansion? 
  • Are there enough managers in place? 

In scenario two, launching a new product line will likely need more support to focus on building new products without falling behind on the existing portfolio. While your current product manager will continue to oversee the development of all the products to meet the company goals, they must consider hiring new personnel to manage the new product line. This may include project managers and team members who will design and engineer the product. 


Mistake #2: You Don’t Adjust Systems To Accommodate Scaling 

Illustration: Construction Site - Use Right ToolsWhen you decide to start scaling, you also need to scale your resources and processes. If you don’t have the right systems in place to keep track of and manage those additional resources, things can start to go wrong. 

It is important to review your systems to ensure that they can comfortably accommodate the scaling. One question to ask is do you have the software to manage the new resources? This can include:


Is Your Software Up to Date? 

When you are reviewing your software, it is important to bear in mind that software evolves rapidly. This may impact you in two ways: 

  1. A system that you invested in several years ago may be lacking the features and functionality that you need to manage your operations today. 
  2. While this software may have been adequate to manage a more centralized operation, expanded national and global operations will require a more sophisticated system for better results. 


Mistake #3: You Don’t Use The Right Tools To Promote Alignment Across the Organization

Illustration: Product Team LeaderAlignment of your internal teams with the product vision relies on tools that communicate the strategy successfully. Product roadmaps are useful to relay the strategy, but did everyone get the last email?


Disparate Tools Cause Misalignment

If you are still using disparate tools, such as text documents, spreadsheets, presentation software, and email, to communicate your strategy, your teams may not be in sync. Managing the production process in this way means that you never really know if everyone is on the same page.

Outdated information and problems with version control are key disadvantages of using a set of different apps to create and send your documents. 


Invest In Product Roadmap Management Software

Product roadmap management software is the ideal software to promote alignment within your company. It provides several benefits:

  • As a cloud-based tool, this software can be accessed by product teams from anywhere across the country or around the globe.
  • Providing one centralized platform for all of your data means that everyone has access to the same information. 
  • Users update their status on the product roadmap so everyone knows exactly what is going on at any given time.
  • It increases transparency and allows better coordination between teams especially when teams have dependencies or can use each other's inventions as opposed to re-inventing the wheel.


Mistake #4: You Lose Track of Your Teams 

Illustration: Different DirectionsDo you know the saying, “The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing?” When an organization begins to scale, it is easy to lose track of what everyone is doing. This is particularly true when you move from a centralized operation to that one that expands across local and national borders. 

When you lose track of product development, you end up with two significant problems that affect your bottom line.

  1. Production inefficiencies 
  2. Failure to meet product goals

For effective scaling to happen, you must put a system in place that will improve the flow of communication. 


Relay Your Product Vision 

For your organization to be properly aligned, all of your product teams must be on board with the company vision. The best way to relay the goals is by using product roadmap management software. 

  • Create a product roadmap to relay the product vision for your company 
  • Set product goals and timelines that your product teams can work towards 
  • Update the roadmap as the business goals change 

Product Roadmap Management Software is ideal for creating alignment as your teams are able to rely on a single source of truth.


Build a Product Roadmap to Define the Production Process 

Managing the production process involves creating different roadmaps for different product lines and departments. For example, while one roadmap will outline the goals for a particular product, this roadmap will branch out into several different roadmaps for each department to work with. 

The centralized nature of product roadmap management software means that all teams have access to the same information. With dependencies in manufacturing so closely linked, it is important that each team has access to a reliable source of information, so they are aware of what another team is doing. 


Communicate With Your Teams

Effective communication is essential to ensure that the production process runs smoothly and maximum efficiency is achieved. This can be accomplished by:

  • Scheduling regular check-ins with your teams
  • Encourage two-way communication to build strong relationships


Scaling Your Product Team and Product Strategy 

Expanding into new markets is exciting, and when it comes to scaling your product team, it is important to scale your product strategy to align with it. Successfully implementing a growth strategy requires a high-level plan. This way, you can understand the big picture and set the appropriate strategic plans to achieve it.  

Product Strategy: The Results are in - See how your team stacks up - Download Free eBook

Topics: Product Development

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