PDMA 2008 World Class Web 2.0 Product Org

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This is the presentation from the PDMA 2008 presentation by Adam Nash on "Building a World-Class Web 2.0 Product Organization" from September 15, 2008.

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PDMA 2008 World Class Web 2.0 Product Org

  1. Building a World Class Web 2.0 Product Organization Adam Nash LinkedIn
  2. Context: LinkedIn <ul><li>LinkedIn is the world’s largest global professional network, with over 27m members. </li></ul><ul><li>Average member is 41, with household income of $110K </li></ul><ul><li>Organization has grown over 500% in the past two years. Revenue has grown faster… </li></ul><ul><li>We deliver code to production every week </li></ul>
  3. Questions for Today <ul><li>Does Web 2.0 need product managers? </li></ul><ul><li>How does a distributed architecture for product function? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you empower user experience? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you balance an agile process with organization visibility? </li></ul><ul><li>Anything else? </li></ul>
  4. Answers for Today <ul><li>Yes, Web 2.0 does need product. </li></ul><ul><li>The best software is designed & built by small, cross-functional teams. </li></ul><ul><li>Including web development in the organization empowers user experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed teams must communicate constantly & transparently to scale. </li></ul><ul><li>We’re still learning what world-class product means for Web 2.0. </li></ul>
  5. Reflection on Web 2.0 <ul><li>Like all great revolutions, the seeds were planted long ago (1990s) and grew aggressively post-bubble. </li></ul><ul><li>A few Web 2.0 realizations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social fabrics generate engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Viral distribution models generate nearly costless organic traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users can and will generate content </li></ul></ul>
  6. Does Web 2.0 Need Product Managers? <ul><li>Several years ago, this was the fashionable debate in Silicon Valley. </li></ul><ul><li>Why can’t you just connect engineers with customers, iterate, and go? </li></ul>
  7. What makes a great Product Manager? <ul><li>Combination of skills and temperament </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical mind with deep understanding of metrics </li></ul><ul><li>A passion for customer-centric design </li></ul><ul><li>A natural and tireless evangelist for their product and their team </li></ul>Business Technology User Experience
  8. Product Managers as a Force Multiplier Product Manager Cross-Functional Team Effort Market Impact
  9. What do you expect from Product? <ul><li>Prioritization </li></ul>
  10. What do you expect from Product? <ul><li>Prioritization (!) </li></ul><ul><li>Deliverables </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Product specification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product roadmap </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Metrics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Translating use cases into data, and data into use cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correlation vs. causality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conditional planning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leadership & Responsibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Framing the problem defines the solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity on what you need to win before you play the game </li></ul></ul>
  11. Building a distributed product organization <ul><li>The best software is designed & developed by small, cross-functional teams. </li></ul><ul><li>At it’s heart, the team is a close partnership between product & engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>Organize the teams around the product, while preserving functional reporting. </li></ul><ul><li>They sit together, work together, design together, ship together. </li></ul><ul><li>The team is responsible for their products & platforms. </li></ul>
  12. Designing space for small teams
  13. The role of central functions <ul><li>Centralized functions preserve: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acquisition of great talent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Career development and mentorship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>End-to-end consistency, strategy, and architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-team pollination of concepts, techniques, and issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Central functions need to avoid: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introducing bottlenecks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stifling vertical innovation on teams </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This solution to the matrix optimizes for both scale and innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>Highly parallelized function is not dissimilar to the modern distributed systems we build. </li></ul>
  14. Live by the Spider-Man credo <ul><li>With great power comes great responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed teams are responsible for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their Products! </li></ul></ul>
  15. How do you manage in a distributed org? <ul><li>Carefully  </li></ul><ul><li>Management is responsible for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing traffic control & rationalization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing perspective & experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying and defining the culture, vision, goals and priorities for the organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting & enforcing high standards in behavior and execution for the people reporting to them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regular, but infrequent, resource reallocation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Beware of the delegation trap </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People always want decisions pushed down to their level in the organization… and no further. </li></ul></ul>
  16. Empowering User Experience <ul><li>Great user experience begins with a customer-centric culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Small, cross-functional teams with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise are crucial. </li></ul><ul><li>Be voracious in your appetite for product & customer data from all sources. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the role of intuition and inspiration in design. </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of design by committee (or worse, by executives). </li></ul>
  17. User Experience & Web Development <ul><li>One of the challenges in Web 1.0 companies has been the interaction between design and web development </li></ul><ul><li>Most large companies place web development in engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>This often forces web developers to prioritize technical issues over customer issues </li></ul><ul><li>This does not, in general, make web developers happy, as the best are passionate user advocates </li></ul><ul><li>This also can lead user experience teams to fail to incorporate technical constructs into their design frameworks effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>Result: CONFLICT </li></ul>
  18. Empowering user experience <ul><li>We have taken a different route. </li></ul><ul><li>Web development is a part of the user experience team. </li></ul><ul><li>Empowers web developers as user experience advocates </li></ul><ul><li>Empowers the user experience team to actually control the execution of design. </li></ul><ul><li>Self selects for web developers with a passion for user experience </li></ul><ul><li>Requires constant vigilance to make sure web development is included in all engineering functions & process. </li></ul>
  19. The key to our product process* A.B.S. * Credit to Ken Norton, former VP Product @ JotSpot for these two slides
  20.  
  21. Managing a distributed product process <ul><li>Agile methodologies are great </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross functional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality through iteration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But there are issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long term predictability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Functional excellence </li></ul></ul>
  22. A distributed process: blending concepts <ul><li>Product definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quick, but detailed product & design work up front, on wiki. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fragment product into cards/tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Iteration, including product & design, to final deliverable </li></ul><ul><li>Specification is finalized in parallel with development </li></ul><ul><li>Integration with other features for testing & weekly release </li></ul>
  23. Leveraging a distributed roadmap <ul><li>LinkedIn organizes around the wiki </li></ul><ul><li>Teams are assigned slots on the roadmap on a round-robin basis </li></ul><ul><li>Regular, frequent slots allow teams to be quality driven rather than date driven </li></ul><ul><li>Teams are expected to provide 6-8 weeks visibility to the organization for expected deliverables, with documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility allows horizontal functions (Operations, Customer Service, etc) to raise issues and plan in advance </li></ul><ul><li>Bug fixes go out weekly, if not more often </li></ul>
  24. Our goal: a truly distributed architecture <ul><li>A true, end-to-end, service-oriented architecture across the board. </li></ul><ul><li>Truly independent paths for teams to deliver enhancements to production. </li></ul><ul><li>Daily access to release, if not faster. </li></ul><ul><li>Preserve the benefits of the small team structure, while scaling to thousands. </li></ul>
  25. A few last thoughts <ul><li>The pace of innovation is accelerating, not just in terms of technology, but also business process. </li></ul><ul><li>New products & new markets require open-minded thinking about new optimum solutions for organizations and product process </li></ul><ul><li>The best thing about Web 2.0 is that it is social. Everyone is working to figure out what world-class product means, and is generally willing to share & discuss & debate. </li></ul>
  26. Answers for Today <ul><li>Yes, Web 2.0 does need product. </li></ul><ul><li>The best software is designed & built by small, cross-functional teams. </li></ul><ul><li>Including web development in the organization empowers user experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed teams must communicate constantly & transparently to scale. </li></ul><ul><li>We’re still learning what world-class product means for Web 2.0. </li></ul>
  27. Thank you <ul><li>Adam Nash </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.linkedin.com/in/adamnash </li></ul>

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