login


Google Sign inLinkedIn Sign in

Don't have an account? 

Building a Product Management Team from 1 to 2 Employees

Deadlines
Product Team

7 March, 2019

Andy O’Dower speaks about the transition from being the the founding member of Product to hiring out a team.

Problem

When you are co-founder or CEO of a start-up company, you wear many hats and you are involved in all decisions. For instance, in one of my previous companies, I was the only person on Product. I would think strategically in the morning and tactically in the afternoon and night. Every part of the cycle was under my jurisdiction. But at some point, our timelines were getting slowed down because I couldn't keep up with being involved in every aspect and every decision of a growing product.

Actions taken

I decided it was time to hire one person to join me on the product team. Rarely does it make sense to hire multiple people at once at this stage. The first hire is pivotal; I've found that hiring your counterpart- someone who has strengths where you have weaknesses can be very successful. I thought about all the things I felt had gone well so far and all the things that I could have done better. Using this self evaluation, I looked for a potential hire who could fill in the gaps.

Lessons learned

In general, this process worked very well. However, I learned that in addition to finding someone with these skills, you have to find someone that you completely trust. It is hard to give up decision making when you have been used to doing all of it so finding someone you trust makes this process easier. You need to start slow and and build upon the things you delegate in order to create good delegation habits. Divide up work into what parts of the cycle you need to be involved in the decisions and in what parts of the cycle you don't (ex: strategy, roadmap, backlog, etc). If an employee makes a decision you don't agree with, you now have more information for what and how to delegate in the future. Use these data points. FInally, ensure upfront that it is very clear what areas need manager input and what are completely up to the employee; this will help you to stay on track.


Related stories

Developing High Performing Teams: How To Transform a Software Developer Into a Product Engineer
30 May

Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, comes up with an exciting proposal of transforming software developers into product engineers by establishing cross-functional context analysis and shared objectives.

Cross-functional collaboration
Product Team
Collaboration
Alessandro Pintaudi

Alessandro Pintaudi

Product Management Director at PayFit

How To Identify the Right Product To Build
19 May

Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, talks about how teams need to focus more time on building the right things and how to keep doing it with scale.

OKR
Managing Expectations
Product Team
Product
Dev Processes
Internal Communication
Roadmap
Alessandro Pintaudi

Alessandro Pintaudi

Product Management Director at PayFit

Moving Legacy Applications Into the Cloud
13 May

Peter Maddison, Founder at Xodiac, delves into all the important details of moving legacy applications into the cloud.

Dev Processes
Deadlines
Collaboration
Peter Maddison

Peter Maddison

Founder at Xodiac

Launching a New Product
11 May

Wayne Haber, Director of Engineering at GitLab, explains how he successfully turned a proof of concept to a full product.

Product
Prioritization
Deadlines
Wayne Haber

Wayne Haber

Director of Engineering at GitLab

Balancing Waterfall Hardware Roadmaps with Agile Software Development
28 April

Ian Goh, Director of Product at Perceptive Automata, talks about adding product team structure in the midst of fast growth and an acquisition.

Cross-functional collaboration
OKR
Product Team
Product
Company Culture
Internal Communication
Reorganization
Roadmap
Ian Goh

Ian Goh

Director of Product at Perceptive Automata

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.