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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.
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:
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, working side by side. This will enable you to scale easily later.
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 grow, your ability to make educated guesses becomes the core and fuel for making your product better.
As a company matures, three major areas of product development change:
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.
Once you have some working hypotheses, you can start quantitatively measuring results to drive future brainstorming.
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:
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:
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.
The transition needs to happen when:
As your company matures, ensure to appoint someone to care about the holistic experience.
If you don't have proper communication on your product team, many individuals may pursue their own goals for their own feature, causing a sprawl of your product.
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 fields where you'll insert the results.
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