How-To: Building a Product Team

How to build a product team

There is no mold for what an ideal product team should look like. What usually helps a product stand out in the market is its uniqueness, largely influenced by the team behind it. Excellence and expertise come in different forms. Building the right team can greatly influence how successful a business can be and it is essential a founder does the work necessary to give their business the chance to survive.

Building a product team comes after a founder has been able to lay out the foundation for starting or revamping their business; developing or pivoting its business model. The business model gives an overview of everything a business needs to be sustainable, the rationale of how a business creates, delivers, and captures value, and the building blocks of the business model canvas focus on the product, operations, growth, and finance.

What is registered under the operations part of the business model highlights what daily activities are essential for business operations and, with that, the roles necessary for the product team can be highlighted. Listed below are key areas that impact the process of building the right product team.

Team Structure

Deciding on the organizational structure that best suits the business depends on the size of the organization and its value proposition. Some organizations value a defined chain of command while some value a high level of personal agency. Regardless, there are certain functions that hold priority when dealing with products.

Having at least one person that works in business, engineering, marketing, and product growth goes a long way toward how efficient internal processes will be. For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), hiring contract staff for operations that don’t necessarily run the entirety of a business year helps save costs until the demand for that function is high.

Job Descriptions

Once the roles necessary for business operations are highlighted, creating a job description helps explain the responsibilities and deliverables expected from the role. The job description enables a prospect to assess what skills are required for the role and how the role impacts the organization’s mission and objectives.

Some organizations, because of their value proposition, have a hybrid of responsibilities in one role. Having job descriptions unique to your organization helps inform prospects of all that is required for them to carry out their roles effectively.

Talent Hire

Hiring the right talent for your organization is a very rigorous yet satisfying process when done the right way. Most organizations rely on referrals and private searches but sometimes having a public call for applications might just introduce you to the best person for the job. With how tedious the process can be, it is necessary to have a course of action before going in, that is if the help of a third-party organization is not requested.

A few key areas to look at when assessing candidates is their technical competency, experience, proactiveness, cultural fit, and organizational skills.

Culture

Building the culture of an organization is about creating avenues for the people on the team to carry out their tasks efficiently while connecting with each other in a growth-focused environment.

Leadership is what drives the culture in most organizations. As a founder, it is important to team members to understand your values more from your actions than your words and it is all about clearly communicating what the company’s vision is and what is required for the team to get to the finish line. Constantly motivating the team helps ensure everyone understands the big picture and in doing that, giving room for autonomy helps stimulate the creativity needed for excellence.

Also, working in a place with the “right” culture is quickly becoming the deal breaker for most talents so it is important a founder decides on what values should matter the most in the business while making room for team members to have an influence on it.

Learning and Development

Introducing a plan for learning and development helps ensure you are providing your team with the tools necessary for them to remain competitive.

Doing this also helps shape career progression for team members. For most team members, especially those at the start of their career, getting to understand all that is required to be successful in a role helps them face the reality of whether or not they are ready to do all it takes to excel in that role and if not, possibly switch careers to places more at their pace.

Taking the following areas into consideration greatly influences how well a product team can be built but, it is important to note that getting everything and everyone on the team at once isn’t compulsory. Understand where your business is at the moment and plot the trajectory you want it to take to highlight the steps and resources needed to get to your desired end. Cost definitely will affect the kind of people you will be able to hire but bear in mind that, sometimes taking the time to help an individual grow can be more rewarding in the long run.

References

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store