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TBM 23/52: Your Company = The Product
In B2B SaaS it is important to think of your whole company as The Product. You can't view one team in isolation. A "win" in one part of your company, will often create extra work (and operational complexity) for other groups. So you have to consider the big picture.
Here's an example from my day-job (Amplitude).
This is top of mind because I'm currently at our annual conference in Las Vegas. Seeing team members in person after so long is a big reminder of how much of a group effort this is. Watching everything sync up for our event—not perfectly, but with intention and care—is magical. And hard!
Amplitude (the product) appeals to many different customer profiles. It's a great product, and we're always making it better. But making it better doesn't exclusively impact the product team. We need to consider the non-linear impact on other teams.
Each product update adds complexity for other teams. Marketing, for example, must create new audience specific messaging and campaigns. Customer success needs to provide guidance on new functionality. Support has to help resolve new issue types. The legal team needs to juggle new contractual concerns. Sales engineering has demo new products. Our education team has new topics to teach. Partnerships needs to educate partners on new offerings.
Each improvement gets multiplied across different customer segments. And each improvement attracts NEW customer segment variations. What might seem like a trivial improvement on the product side, can become very complex across other groups. This is different from more traditional marketing and/or sales driven motions. In those motions, the complexity gets "passed down" from sales and marketing TO PRODUCT as target market definitions and feature requests. But that's not how it works here.
Which is all to say that we are especially aware of 2nd and 3rd order effects. Product can’t operate in a vacuum.
Short post this week, but some questions to consider:
Where does a lot of your operational complexity originate?
What groups have to absorb that complexity?
Are people aware of how much complexity gets passed on?
How can you build bridges of understanding?
Where are opportunities to treat the whole company as The Product?