Expanded Text: In order to understand the parameters of product team expansion, it is beneficial to consider insights from Josh Wexler, a former Vice President of Product and current Chief of Staff at Yieldmo, a GV-backed adtech business. His advice on how to construct a high-performing team and the necessary structure to successfully undertake a demanding product roadmap while remaining true to the team’s overriding mission can provide valuable guidance for organisations. By taking into account Josh Wexler’s observations, organisations can more effectively expand and manage their product teams.
Establishing a set of guiding principles for a team is the first step
Joshua was welcomed to the Yieldmo team amidst a considerable accumulation of technical debt, largely due to the messiness of the code left by previous programmers, as well as management debt due to a lack of leadership. To help foster trust and unity among the team members, Joshua dedicated his first two weeks to collaborating with the engineers to develop team principles, which are behavioural guidelines that aid in team decision-making.
Core values of the Yieldmo team:
- Putting people above procedures
- To get the desired results, we just need a minimal amount of overhead.
- To go where we need to go, we just need the right amount of code.
- Practice process discipline and get it perfect for a while.
- Products cannot be more successfully delivered than via shipping.
- In our company, design is our first priority.
Josh’s engineers were aware that he would only introduce the essential procedures to meet the team’s targets, a strategy that was inspired by the Agile Manifesto. To determine the effectiveness of each procedure, Josh suggested a trial period and the team consented to this. Therefore, the group experimented with daily standups for two months before adopting them as part of their regular activity.
Formulate a plan for expansion.
Since Josh joined Yieldmo over a year and three months ago, the company has experienced tremendous growth. In order to efficiently manage this growth and ensure Yieldmo was able to meet its product goals, Josh restructured his product team and implemented a strategy to create a cohesive yet autonomous company.
Josh explained that the company had essentially redesigned their entire product organisation by establishing objectives for relationships, processes, and technologies, and then executing them in a step-by-step manner. Thanks to the company’s commitment to standard operating procedures, Yieldmo’s product team and revenue both saw a year-on-year increase.
The correct sort of optimisation may be achieved with the appropriate leadership, personnel choices, and focus.
Josh summed up his talk by sharing three takeaways from his experience expanding Yieldmo’s product organisation:
Leadership’s significance. Given the importance of leadership, Josh explains that he has undertaken various reorganisations and has increased the team. At Yieldmo, we value Servant Leadership, which emphasises that those in leadership positions should always put the needs of their team members first.
At Yieldmo, we recognise that it is fundamentally critical to appoint the right individuals to our team, and to ensure that we are selecting the most suitable candidates, we have implemented a four-interview process that is based on facts. This process allows us to assess a potential employee’s logic, abilities, culture, and how they may fit into our organisation. According to our CEO, Josh, this has led to an astounding level of talent joining our team.
Over-optimisation might have negative consequences.Josh’s team quickly recognised the benefits of taking inspiration from large corporations with extensive staffs; however, they understood that it was essential to be mindful of their own limitations, exercising caution before attempting to scale their operations beyond their capabilities. After careful consideration, they determined that the most effective path forward would be to carefully tailor their new structure to accommodate the specific needs of Yieldmo’s current staff of one hundred or more.
Do you want to gain a better understanding of Josh’s strategies for determining the right team principles, devising an effective plan, and avoiding common mistakes? If you are in search of additional guidance on ways to develop your product team even further, then be sure to view our most recent webinar.