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We Built a Product Team in One Year: Here's Everything We Learned – ONA19

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Newsroom product teams harness audience insights and technology to develop business strategies that are nimble and sustainable. But that doesn't mean media companies must become tech companies. In this session, we'll share how product teams grow, adapt, prioritize, and align stakeholders in support of journalism.

Published in: Design
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We Built a Product Team in One Year: Here's Everything We Learned – ONA19

  1. 1. We built a product team in one year. Here’s everything we learned. Join the conversation with #ONA19 Jessica Morrison Product Manager, C&EN j_morrison@acs.org @ihearttheroad Amanda Yarnell Editorial Director, C&EN a_yarnell@acs.org @amandayarnell Becca Aaronson Director of Product, Chalkbeat baaronson@chalkbeat.org @becca_aa Alison Go Head of Growth, Chalkbeat ago@chalkbeat.org @alisonmaego
  2. 2. Intro to News Product In a world where the internet has turned news business models upside down and inside out, the ability to (re)connect the dots is critical to survival. The best news product teams sit at the intersection of content, audience, business, and technology. They have been hired to break down silos, reimagine “best practices,” and build strategies that adapt as fast as the times.
  3. 3. Who we are — Chemical & Engineering News ● C&EN is the world's most comprehensive and authoritative news source about chemistry and related fields. ● C&EN has been published by the American Chemical Society since 1923. ● C&EN publishes daily news online, a weekly magazine in print and digital formats, weekly email newsletters, a video series, a podcast, a daily Alexa briefing, and more. ● C&EN has ~100,000 print and digital subscribers.
  4. 4. Our legacy newsroom had a legacy org chart With roles and workflows that couldn’t keep up with our ambitions.
  5. 5. What we’ve done — C&EN Product-centric re-org We started to untangle our org chart, and structure it around work to be done. PROJECT MANAGEMENT CONTENT PRODUCTION DISTRIBUTION CONTENT CREATION AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT PRINT DESIGN WEB DESIGN & UX DEVELOPMENT MAINTENANCE SALES & ADVERTISING AUDIENCE MARKETINGNATIVE ADVERTISING
  6. 6. What we’ve done — C&EN Product-centric re-org We prioritized continuous improvement, journalistic integrity, user experience, collaboration, transparency, and sustainability. PROJECT MANAGEMENT CONTENT PRODUCTION DISTRIBUTION CONTENT CREATION AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT PRINT DESIGN WEB DESIGN & UX DEVELOPMENT MAINTENANCE SALES & ADVERTISING AUDIENCE MARKETING NATIVE ADVERTISING OPERATIONS EDITORIAL CREATIVE TECH REVENUE
  7. 7. What we’ve done — C&EN Product-centric re-org And at the center, we built C&EN Product. PROJECT MANAGEMENT CONTENT PRODUCTION DISTRIBUTION CONTENT CREATION AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT PRINT DESIGN WEB DESIGN & UX DEVELOPMENT MAINTENANCE SALES & ADVERTISING AUDIENCE MARKETING NATIVE ADVERTISING OPERATIONS EDITORIAL CREATIVE TECH REVENUE C&EN PRODUCT
  8. 8. What we’ve done — C&EN OPERATIONS EDITORIAL CREATIVE TECH REVENUE C&EN Product is a cross-functional newsroom team dedicated to the development and maintenance of C&EN’s portfolio of brand, content, distribution, and revenue products. C&EN Product is responsible for product strategy, product research, and product development. Key accomplishments, the first 18 months: ● First newsroom-wide roadmap ● Product request management, sprints ● C&EN Reader Lab ● Product portfolio
  9. 9. Who we are — Chalkbeat ● Nonprofit education news network ● One of the fastest growing & largest nonprofit newsrooms in the country: ○ More than 60 employees ○ Reporting teams in seven states + national ○ Revenue for FY18-19 reached $9 million
  10. 10. Our unique business model Creates challenges and opportunities best addressed with product thinking.
  11. 11. What we’ve done — Chalkbeat Integrated product thinking across the organization ● Set organization-wide, cross-functional goals ● Established cross-functional squads ○ AudSquad - “Audience and engagement” ○ MODSquad - “Money or Die”
  12. 12. What we’ve done — Chalkbeat Shifted the product team’s identity from service desk to diligent strategists ● Created space to focus on larger initiatives ● Hired great people with hybrid skillsets ● Built a roadmap
  13. 13. What we’ve learned
  14. 14. ● Hire outside the box. What we’ve learned ● Align your team, align your stakeholders. ● Persist & repeat. ● Find ways to share ownership, celebrate wins. ● Find a petri dish. ● Experiment with process, too. ● Learn to say no.
  15. 15. We built a product team in one year. Questions? Jessica Morrison Product Manager, C&EN j_morrison@acs.org @ihearttheroad Amanda Yarnell Editorial Director, C&EN a_yarnell@acs.org @amandayarnell Becca Aaronson Director of Product, Chalkbeat baaronson@chalkbeat.org @becca_aa Alison Go Head of Growth, Chalkbeat ago@chalkbeat.org @alisonmaego

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