It's more than building great products—it's a strategic approach to growth.
The essence of a product-led organization is that the company relies on the quality of its product and exceptional user experience (UX) to drive growth and retention. The product is at the center of their strategy and product teams are obsessed with understanding how (and why) people use it so they can continue to improve it.
These organizations understand the power of leveraging both qualitative and quantitative data to dive deep into the psyche and behavior of their users. This knowledge enables the team to make informed decisions and optimize the UX of the product to ensure users get immediate value without extensive guidance.
So, how do you know if you're working for a product-led organization? Spoiler alert, most of us aren’t….at least, not yet.
The most critical factor to becoming a product-led organization is that the product team must have a seat at the table when it comes to strategy and decision-making. The product team should have true ownership of their roadmap–the autonomy and trust to define what they work on based on identified customer and user needs.
This ownership fuels innovation and ensures that the product is functional and deeply resonates with the people it’s designed for. Too often, roadmaps are created top-down and product teams act as feature factories, working tirelessly to please executives instead of their actual users.
Being a product-led org or not has major influence on how a product team measures the impact of their work, how they prove value, and the story they need to tell. We cover all this and more in our recent insights report, "Strategies to Measuring Impact".
Marty Cagan, a prominent voice in the product community, emphasizes the importance of continuous deployment for product-led organizations. Continuous deployment is the practice of releasing code to production once it passes a series of automatic tests rather than aligning to a predetermined release schedule.
This enables teams to adapt to user feedback quickly and iterate on their product in real-time. This type of agility is paramount for keeping products aligned with rapidly changing needs and expectations.
The best of the best product organizations expertly balance this speed of development with quality to ensure they’re building the right thing (or at least getting closer to the right thing with each deployment). In other words, speed for speed's sake without a clear strategic purpose can cause teams to lose sight of the broader perspective.
If your company doesn’t meet these criteria, fear not—there are still things you can do to get closer to being a product-led organization. The first step is creating a culture of user-centricity. Challenge yourself and your team to figure out how to collect feedback from users quickly, whether through surveys, feedback forms, or user interviews.
Encourage cross-functional teams to engage with the user insights, fostering a deep empathy for the challenges they face. Additionally, be sure to celebrate small wins where taking action based on something you learned from users led to a tangible positive outcome for the business.
So, what are you waiting for…go talk to some users!
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