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Building Product After "Product-Market Fit"

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There are many presentations on how to build product as a new startup. However there aren't many presentations on building product as a high-growth startup.

This is a case study for Sharethrough's product process as of 2014.

Published in: Engineering
  • Loved this, thanks Robert. Running my previous SaaS business we found gathering and calculating value of customer requests was a big headache for us. I'm building a tool now to solves this, would love to hear any feedback on it. Cheers, Dan, Founder, Receptive, https://receptive.io
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Building Product After "Product-Market Fit"

  1. 1. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF MORNING BUILDING PRODUCT AFTER “PRODUCT- MARKET FIT” CASE STUDY OF SHARETHROUGH’S PROCESS ROB FAN CTO & Co-founder Presented by
  2. 2. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH BACKGROUND For the Rest of the Web Powers In-Feed, Native Ads for Modern Content Publishers
  3. 3. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH BACKGROUND Monetize Monetize your site or app with premium brand content across all connected devices. Sell Sell your own in-feed ads through our self-serve technology platform. Promote Increase exposure for your sponsored content programs by promoting stories across the Sharethrough Exchange. Sharethrough For Publishers The Complete Native Monetization Solution For Modern Content Publishers
  4. 4. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH 120employees Foundedin2008 OfficesinSF,LA,CHI,NYC,LON VotedBest Places to Work AdWeek’s“NativeAdPlatformoftheYear” Digiday’s “PlatformoftheYear”Finalist BACKGROUND Growth Stats
  5. 5. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH GARAGE DAYS
  6. 6. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH THE JOURNEY Product-Market Fit $ TIME
  7. 7. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH THE JOURNEY Lean Startup AAARR Customer Development MVP Pivots Growth Hacking Product-Market Fit $ TIMEMost Startup Thinking Only Addresses This Timeframe!
  8. 8. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH THE JOURNEY There is life after product market fit.
  9. 9. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH THE JOURNEY Pre PMF Post PMF Green Field (No Debt, No Users) Technical Debt Scalable Code All New Customers (No Demands) Existing Customers Demand Features No Competitors (or Only Startup Competitors) Startup and Incumbent Competitors Customer Feedback Cycles Immediate Customer Feedback via Liaisons Small Team (Everyone Knows Why) Large Team (Clocking In and Out) Rules are Different
  10. 10. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH *GASP* The P-word.
  11. 11. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH PRODUCT PROCESS Product Planning Software Development
  12. 12. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH Ideas Feedback Hunches Requirements Product Roadmap Idea Funnel PRODUCT PLANNING
  13. 13. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH • After our vetting process, we call each item a Milestones • Only items that will take a pair of engineers >= 1 iteration (2 weeks) are included • Smaller tasks are often bundled into a milestone • Larger items are explored before entering this process • Items are business problems, not solutions = 1 Item of Work PRODUCT PLANNING
  14. 14. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH PHASE 1 PHASE 2 PHASE 3 PHASE 4 PRODUCT PLANNING Product Exec Team Sales Customer Support Engineers Quarterly Roadmap
  15. 15. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH Phase 1: Gathering Ideas • Strategic vision comes from product exec team • Iterative items come from department ‘dump and sort sessions’ • Requests are written out, voted on and compiled in a spreadsheet. • Net result is a spreadsheet of 80 items from large strategic bets to incremental workflow improvements PRODUCT PLANNING
  16. 16. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH Phase 2: Shrinking the List PRODUCT PLANNING • VP of Product, Engineering, and myself spend a day whittling this list down to 25 items. • Initial order dictated by the votes casted by each department • We add another layer of votes onto this list. Based on this criteria: ✓ Will this fit our workflow? ✓ Supportable? ✓ Can we do it well?
  17. 17. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH Phase 3: Costing the Ideas PRODUCT PLANNING • Art to estimating • Goal is to come up with a dollar cost for each item in the list • $4 = 1 pair of engineering for an iteration (our iterations are 2 weeks) • Aim for a conservative estimate. Need to also account for chores, bugs, and small tasks.
  18. 18. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH Phase 4: “Funding” Ideas PRODUCT PLANNING • Half day is allocated for this. Product executive team is in attending in-person. • Items are printed out as “story cards” and laid out on a table. • Poker chips represent total engineering capacity. Everyone is given an equal amount of chips.
  19. 19. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH Phase 4: “Funding” Ideas PRODUCT PLANNING • Once we start, a very healthy debate ensues. • First round of funding: • 50% go completely unfunded. • 40% are half funded. • 10% immediately get funding. • Keep going until all chips are allocated and stories are fully funded.
  20. 20. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH ROADMAP EXAMPLE Cross-Device Targeting Third-party Behavioral & Demo Targeting Enhanced Tablet Support Machine-Learning Optimization Algorithms Article Cards v2 Cards Refresh + Brand Logo Improved Support for Infinite Scroll Data Exploration
  21. 21. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH TAKEAWAYS So, how is this going?
  22. 22. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH TAKEAWAYS • No one wonders what product and engineering are doing. • Business has confidence in product. Product execution is very low a risk factor in decisions. • Works very well for our ideas/vision heavy culture. • Just finished 5th time. We have slipped our schedules by 1-2 milestones, but everyone understands! Results
  23. 23. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH TAKEAWAYS • Executives are allowed to “jump the process.” Can get items straight to Phase 4. • Keep the product exec team meeting regularly during the quarter. • When milestones don’t get finish, deduct $$ to finish it up. • Keep milestones focused on the problem, allow the PM’s and engineers to find the best solution. • Mid-quarter “must-do” ideas have come up - when they do, we pull a milestone out of the list. Learnings
  24. 24. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH TAKEAWAYS A good process forms a way to repeatably decide, decision-make, and build software that is reliable and somewhat predictable. Process is needed in a post product-market fit world.
  25. 25. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH DISCLAIMER There is no “right” process, only the process that helps you build and ship product.
  26. 26. BUILDING PRODUCT POST PMF GOODBYE THANKS! @ROBFAN @SHARETHROUGH

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