To Build Great Products, Build This Strong, Scalable System First - Deepstash

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To Build Great Products, Build This Strong, Scalable System First

firstround.com

Creating scalable systems

The shift from product-market-fit to growth disrupts far too many promising startups.

Companies at every stage can learn how to create effective, replicable, and durable product development systems using a few tactics.

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There is such a thing as startup puberty and it occurs when your product starts to gather momentum. A startup may be so busy working on getting to this stage that they are caught off guard and may not be ready for the change. The most important changes for a product:

  • You are ...

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New needs mean you need more people. To set people up for success, you need to make your product and engineering teams modular. Then you can split up problems that people can work with independently.

As you grow, your leverage will be in having many autonomously led teams,...

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The idea is that product management can no longer say what they think users want. They need to predict what outcome a feature will have.

In the beginning, you don't have the data you need to do this. Your company, in itself, is your hypothesis. As you start to gro...

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As a company matures, three major areas of product development change:

  • How you generate ideas
  • How you execute those ideas
  • How you continually build on those ideas.

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Don't think you can continue to relate to your customer. Instead, make a list of the outcomes you want, then make a guess what will get you there based on data and research.

    • If you don't have the volume of data, start with qualitative feedback from user surveys or testing.*

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It is helpful when you brainstorm to separate idea generation from idea evaluation. Write down every idea. Then trim your list by applying the feedback you've received through user tests, surveys, and other inputs. Prioritize this filtered list:

  • How important is ...

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After you brainstorm, you may have many initiatives. After you hit product-market fit, you need to allocate responsibility across teams and empower them to work without the leadership knowing everything. Thematic org areas include:

  • Core product: How to make typical u...

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The CEO should cede a large amount of control. The CEO should shift from caring about the design of the product to focusing of the design of the organization.

  • Once a founder or CEO gives up the need to know everything, its easier to reorganize along thematic lines.
  • Each team...

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The transition needs to happen when:

  • The CEO or co-founders can't contain everything in their heads and don't know what's happening in various parts of the product.
  • You're trying to expand the product, which requires more work to understand users.
  • Existing staff mem...

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  • Appoint a business owner for each thematic area who is responsible for driving KPIs, managing stakeholders, and communicating changes.
  • Minimize existing cross-team dependencies.
  • Set quarterly operational targets. Tie individuals' OKRs to objectives.
  • Have the found...

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As your company matures, ensure to appoint someone to care about the holistic experience.

  • This person should be focused on collecting and communicating data coming out of experiments, and
  • Guiding everyone to build features and run tests that connect to company goals.

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With the growth of your organization, consistently message the same things again and again. Templates ingrain this practice.

For instance, at Reddit, whenever you're about to run a test, you already have the format of an email to explain what you're testing. The template consists of fi...

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  • Pick only a few hard-and-fast rules.
  • Provide autonomy between firm commitments.
  • Be clear about the role of product ops.
  • Just start. Rather start something in ops than to have a master plan and the...

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