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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.

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

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