Rapidly Scaling and Roadmapping for High Demand

Barbara Vogel

Country Product Manager - France at ex-Shopify



"I was working at a startup where we were designing an application for deaf people. My mother is deaf and I knew that there was a free operator service in the United States, but we didn't have anything like it in France. I imagined that a lot of other countries didn't have this service either. So I wanted to create something that could be used worldwide. The app that we developed used a web browser to transcribe speech-to-text and the reverse, text-to-speech. The concept of the app was recognized very quickly and so consequently we faced the urgencies of building a product roadmap and scaling our team."

Actions taken

"Our initial team contained only three employees. However, once we saw the potential of our product we needed to scale, and fast. We quickly hired more contributors, primarily on the development team, while I was left standing as the lone product person. This was mainly due to financial constraints but also because of the focus and need to redesign a technology for global use.

From end-to-end we took only a few weeks to roadmap the entire app. It was very fast. To setup up the product roadmap we first collected data. Once we succeeded in analyzing the data we industrialized the product. We built our own technology and created a product that was easy for companies to implement, where there was no need for them to write any code. We avoided complexity.

Incredibly, we did beta in only one month and were quickly on the radar of one of France's biggest companies. Once we signed a contract with them and they had put the app into service, it was fairly easy to sell from there. We had created a universal design that was accessible to anyone on earth, with the inclusion of 90 different languages."

Lessons learned

  • "Scaling the team and roadmapping quickly weren't actually the most difficult parts. In fact, we created the product to be accessible to all yet the biggest difficulty was educating people about the technology and training people on how to use the app."
  • "Disability is a good way to think outside of the box."

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Barbara Vogel

Country Product Manager - France at ex-Shopify

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