Simple (but not Easy) Checklist for Product Team Diagnosis
Dec 17, 2023
When I come across a new Product Team, I have developed a Checklist of questions to run through. Please let me know if you have developed any that I should add
Top 2 Questions:
- Is the team consistently solving Real Problems for large enough groups of Real People?
- Is solving those Problems resulting in money coming in the door? Enough to build a lasting business?
Validate with other teams:
Is the Product (or Service) sell-able?
I recommend talking to SDRs and AEs to validate this
Is it Marketed effectively? Is it Positioned well? Does that Positioning stand out? Does it diverge sufficiently from the other pitches out there?
Is it easy to use and understand? Or are there negative externalities to confusing UX/UI that are being borne by other teams like Support and CSM? And are there effective channels of feedback between those teams and the PMs on your team?
When you return your focus to your team, how are the following health markers:
- Can the team disagree well and debate productively?
- How do decisions happen on the 4 quadrant chart of Speed: Slow-Fast and Correctness: Right-Wrong? Are there individual Product Teams who tend to be Fast+Right more often than others?
- Is the team confident? How well-earned is that confidence?
- Does your team talk to Users in a sustainable, regular way?
- If you asked 5 random people across the team, would different folks’ summary of the Vision and Strategy “rhyme”?
- Are you regularly doing 1:1s that aren’t just status updates?
- Is there a Standard? Have you done the hard work of creating an artifact that you believe to be the baseline habits that undergird Product performance?
- e.g. Talk to at least 1 User per week
- All meetings have Agendas + all decisions are logged in a centralized notes doc
- There is a feedback mechanism that everyone adheres to: e.g. Retro; What do I intend to do + EOW lookback; OKRs
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