Growth. It's here and it's going to stay
This is a piece of glue you should consider sniffing
The field of tech has changed. Forever.
Your PM's are not doing product anymore and 'growth'? Well, that's not just about acquisition, and designers... oh oh.
Defining roles within an organization is crucial for alignment, but the confusion surrounding these roles isn't going away soon.
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Growth is the primary offender. It's a business metric and an organizational function typically related to distribution and scaling. You can engage in growth-oriented tasks without actually being part of a growth team. It's a word salad.
The common thread
Can we identify a common thread linking non-product and non-growth team members? To create a truly cross-functional independent team
By illustrating the responsibilities you can. This also accounts for subcategories like technical PMs, platform PMs, and product marketing managers, as our responsibilities have expanded
The main distinction for PMs is mastering the art of crafting business cases. Most PM's never learned that. They don't understand business value beyond outcomes at all or how to connect them to revenue
Another one is having an engineering manager on the team rather than just managing the engineers from outside. It helps massively to reduce outside friction and allows the engineering manager to facilitate between another team.
Designers don't just "design" these days. They expanded beyond being asset designers and are now part-time qualitative researchers. They often overlap with PMs, and some exceptional designers excel at copywriting, even overlapping with content marketers.
But this is great news. It means that you have at least 2 people with the same skills in a team, which means they can challenge each other.
Read more on the topic:
So, how can you extract value from this?
Lead time for recruiting adept product managers and designers has increased, along with their pay. It's not about finding a decent designer or PM, but finding the perfect one for your specific requirements. We are in a specialty market revolution.
I remember around 2005 we were all "Web designers" this included frontend, design, product work, and research. Look at the plethora of roles we have now.
Establishing and clarifying roles fundamentally and outlining expectations are essential skills for product/growth leaders to be ready for this shift.
Use visual aids like this and tailor them to your needs.
Discuss and write about it constantly and please - assume misalignment. Your job is not to tell people how they should do what they do - but to define clearly what their garden is.
Don't stop discussing it - make your teams independent. It's difficult but our job as leaders have shifted from delivering ideas to executing to building teams that can do so themselves.
They are not a group of Fiverr contractors.
The historical deal with Growth Teams
The song that still creates tech misery to this day:
"You, you are marketing, you acquire.
You, you are product, you retain.
You, you are sales, you monetize."
Don't just fix your team structures. Fix their goals.
We are still paying the debt of the decade-old idea that you can segment customers into acquisition -> retention -> monetization. We not only segmented our customers but also our goals and employees that way.
Even worse, we put our employees on different floors. Put together all the marketeers on the fancy floor and the product people belong to the shed. And sales... oh they have their gongs and extra cool ties in another building. Sometimes they scream when they close a deal and slap each other
Those matrix organizations still exist but are missing completely the point of what a good product is about. It's a complex system where cross-functional teams need to come together to figure out what's up.
Cross-functional teams, quo vadis?
Cross-functional teams were born and are already a huge pain relief. However, I still see companies getting their goals wrong.
If we just look at how growth team goals are structured then we can take a page from that playbook. The classical way for Marketing for instance was to incentivize the creation of Marketing qualified leads.
No quality was attached to it at all. Just produce something. The danger of garbage in, and garbage out increases.
If you're setting goals think as a growth team does. Do the goals for my team reflect everything in the customer's journey?
"Yeah but Leah, if I do that I would have to change something in the product. We're marketing, we don't have engineers. Shouldn't we only set goals that we can influence?"
Good point. This is exactly the gap that growth teams plug, they have marketing and engineering skills united. This doesn't mean marketing is useless or replaced by growth teams. It just means that a lot of our activities that reach into the product should be handled by growth.
The reality is anyways that these teams collaborate with marketing, product (and sales) to glue it all together.
Growth teams are the glue you definitely should sniff.
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