The Product Team Meeting
A few months ago, we wrote a blog post on 5 things to cover in your weekly team meetings. As a product team at Clearword, we wanted to follow up and share additional topics that we find important to ensure everyone stays aligned and on the same page.
A product team can end up working on the wrong things, or fail to understand the bigger picture about their users, their company’s goals, and their progress.
In this article we will give you 6 things to cover in your weekly product team meetings so your every single stakeholder can stay aligned and up to date.
- Product roadmap (5mins)
- Customer feedback (15mins)
- Competitive landscape (5mins)
- Metric and analytics (10mins)
- Sprint planning (Included but for us it’s an individual meeting)
- Stakeholder updates (5mins)
- Design and UX (15 mins)
1. Product Roadmap: Align Your Team with Your Product Strategy
Discussing the product roadmap ensures that everyone is aligned with the overall product strategy and goals. It provides a clear path for where you’re headed and what we need to accomplish to get there. By regularly reviewing the roadmap, you can ensure that we're making progress towards our goals and identify any areas where we need to make adjustments.
Moreover, discussing the product roadmap helps you to prioritize your work and allocate resources effectively. By identifying the most important features and initiatives on the roadmap, you can focus your efforts on the highest value work and ensure that you're making the most of your time and resources.
As a final point in discussing the product roadmap, it helps to foster transparency and communication within the team. This ensures that everyone has a clear understanding of what you're working on and why, and provides a safe space for open discussion and feedback. By sharing your progress and roadblocks, you can work together to overcome challenges and achieve your goals.
2. Customer Feedback: Improve Your Product with User Insights
For product teams, listening to your customers is one of the most important activity. To improve a product, reviewing customer feedback is crucial.
This feedback can be collected from various sources, such as customer support, surveys, user testing, and reviews. In our case, someone will interview users and customers, have it all on Clearword and share it with the team in our own time. In our own time means the team can review the feedback in their own time, but the message is never diluted and remains the same. Subsequently we then discuss the customer feedback together.
Once you have identified the trends or patterns, you can start to discuss potential solutions with your team and prioritize the changes that will have the most impact on your users. By taking the time to review and analyze customer feedback, you can ensure that your product is meeting the needs and expectations of your users and continuously improving over time.
Another benefit of sharing interviews with your product team is that everyone gets to hear the voice of the customer, hear how they feel. In a world where social interactions are increasingly text-based, this humanizes your customer for everyone on your product teams, increasing empathy for the interviewee and “feeling” their pain points, ultimately building product which connects emotionally with the users.
3. Competitive Landscape: Staying Ahead of the Game
During our weekly product team meetings, we discuss the competitive landscape, which can be both distracting and important. Understanding your competitors helps you stay ahead (or abreast) of them, and enables your team to stay informed about industry trends and market shifts. By monitoring the competitive landscape, you can identify emerging trends and technologies, and adjust your product strategy accordingly. For example, you can identify gaps in the market or areas where your competition is weak, and take advantage of those opportunities. This helps your team stay relevant and competitive, and ensures that your products meet the needs of your customers.
Discussing the competitive landscape can help your team identify potential threats and challenges in the market. By monitoring the competition, you can stay alert to changes in the industry, such as new market entrants, shifts in consumer behavior, changes in pricing or product offerings. This enables your team to be proactive in its response, making informed decisions about your product strategy.
Workflow hacks like using tools such as Google Alerts or Feedly can help your team stay up-to-date on news and trends related to your industry and competitors. Integrating these tools into your team's workflow can save time and ensure that your team is always informed.
Products like Crayon, Klue, Versionista and Kompyte can also help your team to monitor the competitive landscape more effectively. These tools provide insights into competitors' pricing, product features, and marketing strategies, as well as alerts when competitors make changes.
4. Metrics and Analytics: Measuring Your Product's Success
Having an ongoing conversation around key product metrics (and OKRs and KPIs) provides visibility into the performance of your product, allowing you to make informed decisions about future development and improvements.
Key metrics such as customer acquisition cost, churn rate, and user engagement, you can identify areas where your product is succeeding and areas where it needs improvement. This can help you prioritize your product roadmap and ensure that your team is focused on delivering the most impactful features and improvements.
By analyzing data and metrics, you can make more informed decisions about your product strategy and encourage team members to provide ideas and recommendations, rather than relying only on subjective opinions or assumptions. Additionally, regularly discussing key metrics can help your team identify trends over time and make necessary adjustments. This can help continually improve the performance of your product and ensure you are delivering value to your customers.
At Clearword, on top of the usual metric (which should be relevant to your company and industry), we constantly discuss our North Star metric. It is a metric that aligns all teams within the organization towards a common goal and helps to track progress towards that goal. The North Star Metric should be a long-term metric which captures the essence of the product's value proposition and more importantly is closely tied to customer success.
Every North Star is different depending on the company. It is dependent on your value proposition and key actions that solves customer pain points.
5. Sprint Planning: Achieve Your Goals and Agile Methodologies
Running a sprint planning is an important part of product development that can help your team stay focused and on track.
There are many approaches to product management and product development planning. We use an agile-esk approach so we’re going to cover this here.
Here are some steps to follow to run a sprint planning:
- Define the sprint goal: Begin by identifying the specific goal that you want to achieve during the upcoming sprint. This should be a specific, measurable outcome which aligns with your north star or other key product metrics relevant to your product
- Break down the goal into specific tasks: Once you have defined the sprint goal, break it down into smaller, specific tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the goal. We try to break down predictable tasks into the smallest possible chunks. We are reasonable and being an AI company we work on things that have never been done before, therefore we also have tasks which are open-ended. It might not provide predictability, but it provides visibility for all.
- Estimate the effort required for each task: This is highly debated step. We do not assign effort, instead we communicate very often, every day, and we have an unwritten rule that spikes shouldn’t take more than a week. Other companies use points, stars, hours. That’s up to you.
- Create a sprint backlog: Use your task estimates to create a sprint backlog, which is a list of all the tasks that will be completed during the sprint.
- Prioritize the backlog: Prioritize the tasks in the backlog based on their importance and impact on the sprint goal. To us this is much more important than estimated effort/time. The priority is always directly related to a customer pain point / feature request / bug.
- Plan the sprint: Once you have prioritized the backlog, plan out the specific tasks that will be completed during each day of the sprint.
Tools like Superthread, Jira, and many others can be helpful in managing your sprint planning. These tools allow you to create task lists, assign tasks to team members, and track progress throughout the sprint.
6. Stakeholder Updates: Staying Connected With The Company
Discuss communication with stakeholders, including executives, investors, and other teams within the organization. Ensure that everyone is aligned on the messaging and strategy for the product.
In many organizations non-executive teams can feel like they do not connect or understand what the execs and investors discuss and decide.
In our case, we share some of our executive conversations and investor discussions with our team so that they can get a better understanding of the bigger picture.
More importantly, by sharing what the executives say with Clearword, the content is not diluted or misrepeated causing a strange game of telephone/whispers.
7. Design and UX: Enhancing Your Product's User Experience
Discuss user testing results and feedback from customers help you identify opportunities to optimize the product. Whilst we do discuss designs and UX in a synchronous way once a week on a call, we also have a #design slack channel and a shared Figma workspace where designs (in production, in progress, and experimental) can be seen.
For most product teams and businesses, the user interacts directly with your product therefore your design and the user experience are the “only” interaction they have with your business apart from the occasional sales rep and the marketing emails.
With that in mind, design and user experience shouldn’t be an afterthought, it must be at the foundation of your team.
Conclusion: Meetings vs Deep Work
If you use Clearword, we create a summary, extract action items, and key decisions from your conversations. This way, as a product team, you can follow-through on the meetings you have. You can share the meetings with others who couldn't attend, stakeholders, etc. This keeps your message undiluted, and your team knows what decisions were made and what actions are required after the call.
By having a consistent record and location for all your meeting summaries, everyone can focus on their work. If you ever wonder "what did we say again in this meeting", you have immediate access to decisions and action items. This means you never forget a task, never dilute the message shared with internal and external teams, and don't have to spend time catching up with those who couldn't make it, repeating yourself, or composing a follow-up email. It's all automated.
This is what every meeting you have can be turned into, without effort: