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Unlocking Product’s Business Impact with Product Operations

This blog post was created in partnership with the Product Ops HQ community, the fastest-growing community where product operations professionals gather to connect, share knowledge, and learn.

Product Operations is gaining importance in businesses, and its benefits are being discovered. In this interview series, we dive into best practices from Product Operations Leaders and Responsive Product Portfolio (RPPM) advocates. RPPM is a framework that helps product-led organizations compete better, connecting goals, customer needs, products, and resources for faster value delivery and increased product returns. Join us to learn valuable insights and tips for success in Product Operations.

Interview with Ashley Fong

Welcome to our exclusive interview with Ashley Fong, the visionary Vice President of Product Operations at Carpe Data and a Dragonboat customer. Ashley is responsible for orchestrating engineering, data science, and project management to deliver maximum impact for Carpe Data’s carrier customers. Her unwavering dedication and fearless approach to challenges set her apart as an outstanding leader in Product Operations.

With a decade-long journey at her current company, Ashley’s versatility shines as she’s worn multiple hats in different roles – a testament to the dynamic nature of the startup environment. These experiences have been instrumental in shaping her growth, providing invaluable insights from multiple angles within the business.

Ashley’s insatiable curiosity and love for exploring the world’s diverse cultures have not only enriched her life but also molded her resilient attitude.

What was your role before you became a Product Operations professional? How long have you been in the Product Ops role?

I helped establish Product Operations at Carpe Data starting at the beginning of this year. Before I was in Product Operations, I held positions throughout our company: Analyst (both product and data), Finance, Quality Assurance, Project Management, Product Management, Sales/ Customer Success, and Technology.
Most recently, I was in Technical Operations, working alongside our CTO to create a roadmap and create/maintain support for our robust APIs.

What are the biggest challenges facing your product teams?

As a company we’ve made the push to become more product-led, and that itself comes with some initial challenges. While we’re moving away from that being a challenge now, here are some of the biggest challenges we’ve run into that we haven’t quite solved:

  1. Creating structure and discipline in the planning process that provides the context and value for an initiative, ensuring it has clear and complete requirements on what work needs to be done
  2. Balancing priorities to make sure we’re focused on the right things based on all feedback across the organization
  3. Establishing meaningful KPIs and OKRs that make sense across the organization and product lines.
  4. Having enough experience in the industry. We’re starting to bring more folks into the team with knowledge in our industry, which will be majorly impactful in understanding our customers’ pain points.

Learn more about common challenges faced by product teams during the planning process.

How does your team/management measure your success as Product Ops?

This is a changing target based on where we’re at as a company. Initially, the product ops goal was to implement the new planning process changes, help build the metrics, and identify the information we should be tracking. As we establish more ways we’d like to track information across our products, our success will be tied to those metrics.

In general, though, my success is measured alongside our team in how well we execute and deliver on our roadmap.

In your experience, how can Product Ops help establish an outcome-focused practice?

Being so closely tied to creating and supporting the roadmap– but also a cross-functional role across the company– one of the things that has helped is bringing definition and focus toward what are we trying to do, why we want to do it, and what value does it have for our customers or our team.

Another major helpful factor is not only looking at the initiative level but also finding where the initiatives meet the execution of the work, and comparing those metrics. Finding the common thread has driven a lot of helpful conversations about how we can better execute on the work we’d like to achieve and ultimately reach our company goals.

Other than product and engineering teams, what other groups (in the company and externally) do you work closely with?

In our organization, the project managers report through product operations to help facilitate one team to push forward the goals and missions of the company and keep the best practices aligned across the entire organization. In my discussions with other product operations managers, this doesn’t appear to be the norm.

I work closely with all parts of the organization, especially regarding launching new products and ensuring alignment for a smooth and successful rollout. This gives me a unique perspective, but also, given my history, allows me to be the most supportive.

Learn more about optimizing the roadmap process and making responsive adjustments based on goals, performance, and the market.

Keeping up with industry trends and changes in customer needs is a never-ending task, what methods do you use to stay informed? Is there a particular source (website, book, podcast, expert…) you recommend?

Specific to product operations, I’ve recently joined the Product-Led Alliance community and there’s a multitude of different resources available that I’ve found insightful. I’ve learned a lot from videos and discussions on popular social media platforms.

Generally, I’ve been trying to connect more with folks in the Product Operations HQ Community, specifically our industry. I find the more I dialogue about our product and processes, and sharing our struggles or even solutions brings new light and perspective where otherwise limited.

However, I’m always on the hunt for new books, podcasts, or resources. If you’re reading this and you’d like to talk about any and all things Product Operations, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

We hope you found this interview with Ashley Fong informative and insightful. Want to learn more? Connect with her on Linkedin.

Ready to elevate your organization’s Product Operations to the next level, just like Ashley? Explore the capabilities of Dragonboat, the industry leader in Responsive Product Portfolio Management. Streamline processes, achieve better results, and stay ahead of the competition with Dragonboat’s all-in-one centralized source of truth connecting OKRs, customer needs, product strategies, and resources with Agile execution. Schedule a live demo today to propel your organization’s success to new heights.

Dragonboat Named to Will Reed’s Top 100 Class of 2023

We cannot be more thrilled to announce that for the second year in a row, Will Reed has named Dragonboat, out of 2,500+ eligible Seed and Series A B2B tech companies, an early-stage company shaping the future of workplace culture. Since our beginning, Dragonboat has strived to empower people, employees, customers, and community members alike, as a means for shaping culture and achieving success.

We empower our team with clear goals, strategies, and resources so they can do their best work and achieve more. We empower our customers with the best-in-class toolset to make better decisions and achieve better business outcomes. And we empower our community with support, training, and industry knowledge so they can grow and reach their potential.

Our focus on empowering our team, customers, and community allow us to be the most effective partner possible for each of them. Empowerment allows everyone to reach their full potential and achieve success together.

“We’ve worked with hundreds of early-stage B2B tech companies who are on-mission to transform the way we live and work” said Paige Robinson, Founder & CEO of Will Reed. “We believe the most successful companies are those like Dragonboat, who are committed to building human-first cultures that offer meaningful work and support the full employee experience.”

Visit to learn more about our commitment to purpose, belonging, and growth.

About Dragonboat

Dragonboat is the #1 product portfolio management platform for product teams to strategize, prioritize, deliver and improve products that drive business results. With Dragonboat, product teams can connect objectives with initiatives, build data-driven roadmaps, integrate with engineering tools for execution, and inform future iterations with past results all in one place.

“We are humbled to have been selected for Will Reed’s Top 100. It shows how our incredible team has been the root of all our success, allowing us to create a platform that enables outcome-driven product teams to thrive.”

Becky Flint, Founder & CEO of Dragonboat

Dragonboat was born out of necessity after founder Becky Flint tried countless tools and found that none supported the needs of an outcome-focused product organization. Today, hundreds of teams from startups to Fortune 500 companies like Procore, Tealium, and Symphony Talent rely on Dragonboat to make sure their teams are rowing in sync. 

We are thankful to Will Reed for recognizing us as one of ‘Will Reed’s Top 100’ in 2023. We also want to thank our customers and the amazing community whose support has landed us on this list. 

About Will Reed

Will Reed is the only go-to-market (GTM) executive search firm built exclusively for early-stage founders. The firm equips Seed, Series A and Series B founders to build exceptional GTM leadership teams through search, enablement, community and heart. With an operator-centric approach, the team is led by GTM operators who are supported by a curated team of tenured search professionals. The firm has worked with incredible founders backed by a16z, Bessemer, Craft, Insight Partners, Redpoint, Sequoia, etc. More information can be found at and

State of Quarterly Roadmap Planning – Summary of the 2023 Product Ops HQ Survey

In Q2 2023, we surveyed over 1,000 members of the Product Ops HQ community on how their organizations perform quarterly roadmap planning.

We covered topics in the following areas:

  1. Time and effort involved
  2. Process and intended outcomes
  3. Who is involved
  4. Top Challenges
  5. What happens post-planning 
  6. How do product teams close the loop / evaluate product performance

The numbers aren’t great…

More than 87% of the companies spend between 1 and 2 months each quarter planning for the upcoming quarter!

But there is hope. A small number of Product Ops have been successful in transforming quarterly planning. Read on… 

Companies in the survey

The survey results represent a broad spectrum of companies, with:

  • 41% in larger organizations (1,000 or more employees) 
  • 48% in the mid-size / scaling company range (between 101 to 999 employees)
  • 11% in the companies with less than 100 employees.  

Key takeaways

  • More than 87% of the companies spend between 1 and 2 months each quarter planning for the upcoming quarter
  • After all the time and resources invested, less than 9% of the product teams and stakeholders are confident that they can deliver the roadmap commitment. In fact, 95% of them need to change the plan materially during the quarter
  • 70% of product teams attribute the “lack of centralized source of truth” as the main cause of difficulty in planning and confidence in delivery 
  • The majority of teams believe that post-planning delivery failure is due to poor planning, pointing to 3 main obstacles:
    • Balancing competing priorities 
    • Lack of visibility into progress and bottlenecks
    • Aligning cross-functional teams
  • 21% of the companies don’t review product outcomes / performance, and 35% do it only annually or quarterly.

Despite all the challenges, there are a small number of teams that have success in planning efficiently and in their ability to handle changes without disruption. 

What did Product Leaders do differently for successful Quarterly Planning?

The teams that are successful in both quarterly roadmap planning and subsequent adjusting shared their secrets below:

  1. Have a good product operations practice and continuously improve product culture, platform and process.
  2. Use the right platform – a source of truth portfolio platform to support their full PDLC (product development life cycle) from insights, requests to roadmapping, planning, delivery, and launch.
  3. The platform allows them to collaborate easily with cross-functional teams and stakeholders to effectively address dependencies.
  4. Create a quarter-forward roadmap that is resource-aware so their teams have a chance to achieve.
  5. Play a sound portfolio management approach using allocation to guide prioritization.
  6. Perform rolling quarterly planning to adjust roadmaps as changes inevitably arise.

Respondents have called out Dragonboat has played a critical role in effective quarterly roadmap planning and subsequent adjustment.

“With Dragonboat, quarterly planning has gone from weeks to days…. it’s never been so easy to connect goals and strategies with roadmap. I call this “demystify strategic planning”.

– VP Product, Fortune 500 company

Interested in learning how you can transform your quarterly planning from being a big ‘brain drain’ on your organization into an opportunity to reflect, align, and accelerate your product outcomes? Book a call with our experts today.

Product Leadership: What Makes a Good Product Leader Great?

As a product leader, you are responsible for the high-level product strategy of your organization. But how do you jump the chasm from good product leader to great product leader to ensure that your team wins long-term? That’s exactly what we asked 12 seasoned product executives in last summer’s Chief Product Officer Webinar Series. Follow along as we break down the product leadership advice of CPOs, VPs of Products, board members, and more as they discuss the tips that helped them make the transition.

Below we provide context on product leadership, but feel free to skip straight to the advice if you are in a hurry.

What is Product Leadership?

Product leadership is one’s ability to develop and manage products that meet customer needs while driving business growth and innovation. It involves having deep domain knowledge and business acumen, and using that knowledge to develop processes and make informed product decisions about strategy, development, and launches.

There are several different product leadership roles, including product manager, product portfolio manager, product owner, chief product officer, head of product, and VP/director of product. These roles have varying levels of responsibility, from overseeing a single product’s development to managing an entire product portfolio. They may also differ at every company in terms of the scope of their responsibilities, such as customer research, product strategy, product development, and team management.

The product leadership structure can differ significantly between large and small companies. Large companies often have a dedicated product organization with several layers of product management leadership. Each layer of product leadership is responsible for managing a specific area of the product organization and has a defined scope of responsibilities. 

In contrast, small companies may have a flatter product leadership structure, with fewer layers of management and a greater emphasis on cross-functional collaboration. A product management leader in a small company would have broader responsibilities and work in a fast-paced environment.

What Does a Product Leader Do?

The typical responsibilities of a product leader include:

  1. Defining and communicating the product visions and strategies to stakeholders.
  2. Conducting market research and gathering customer feedback to inform product decisions.
  3. Developing and maintaining the product roadmap, including feature prioritization, release planning, and resource allocation.
  4. Collaborating with cross-functional teams, such as engineering, design, product marketing, and sales, to ensure successful product development and launch.
  5. Ensuring that the product meets customer needs and delivers business value, as measured by key performance indicators.
  6. Managing the product development life cycle process, including product updates, enhancements, and retirement.
  7. Identifying and mitigating portfolio risks to the product’s success, such as competitive threats or changing market trends.
  8. Leading and developing a team of product managers

Overall, product leaders are responsible for driving product success and growth while balancing the needs of the customer, the business, and the market.

What Makes a Good Product Leader Great?

Now that we know the working mechanisms of a product leader, let’s get into what truly makes a product leader great. Check out the overlying themes from the advice of 12 trailblazers of the product and tech industry.

1. Storytelling

Storytelling is essential for great product leadership because when creating a product, leaders need to be able to communicate the value and vision in a compelling way that resonates with their audience. By telling a story, product leaders can create an emotional connection with their stakeholders and inspire them to take action, whether that means investing in the product, buying it, or contributing to its development.

Here’s what some product leaders had to say on storytelling:

“[Being a great product leader] is being able to manage up to the board and talk about really hard things in a diplomatic way. Great CPOs will tell their story in a way that will create clarity and visibility so that your board can have confidence in you. You can have really hard conversations about what you need to do and need to not do, but you keep the faith throughout it.

If you have a great CPO, they can get the board and CEO on board with their plan, and they work as a partnership with humility to admit mistakes and build those relationships with people.”

Melissa Perri, CEO @ ProduxLabs and Author of Escaping the Build Trap

“ What differentiates great Chief Product Officers is that if you talk to a board or you talk to a C-suite, or you talk to their team, each one of them will describe that individual in a very different way. They will describe them as having strong business acumen, good presentation, and a lot of charisma. The C-suite will say they are a team player, willing to give, understanding of my pain. And their team will say they are a good mentor, helping me understand how to advance my career. 

And so you have to be a chameleon. And you have to represent yourself differently, not disingenuously, to the stakeholder group you’re in. And as a product person, you are the glue; therefore you interact with a lot of different groups. Make sure you’re adjusting your presentation style for the empathy of those stakeholders. That’s what makes a great Chief Product Officer.”

Shelley Perry, Operating Partner @ Scalelogix Ventures

2. Clarity

Clarity helps great product leaders build great products by effectively communicating their vision and strategy, aligning stakeholders around common goals, and making informed decisions based on data and insights. Without clarity, product leaders risk confusion, misalignment, and lack of buy-in, which can lead to missed opportunities, wasted resources, and product failure.

Here’s what some product leaders had to say on clarity:

“A really great head of product is a highly facilitative leader that brings systems into place to allow the leadership team to get visibility to make decisions. That is somebody who understands they don’t own the decisions. However, they know that the more they can bring data to the leadership team so they can make tradeoffs, the more they can control those decisions in the right way.

In the end, a great chief product officer doesn’t lose that facilitative mindset. They focus on the system and put it in place so others can make those decisions. And really great CPOs will make the whole leadership team feel like they were a part of the decision-making process. These folks need to believe in the roadmap you’re creating. So don’t lose that ability to bring them along, as you move up the ladder from being a great head of product to a great CPO.”

Ryan Polk, Operating Partner @ Insight Partners

“A good Chief Product Officer focuses on the how and the what, but a great Chief Product Officer focuses on the why. They figure out how to communicate and frame the problem and align success metrics to scale and grow the business.”

Lydia Varmazis, CPO @ Lydia & Co.

3. Outcome-focused Teams

Building outcome-focused teams ensures that product development efforts are aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the business. Rather than simply focusing on outputs or features, outcome-focused product teams prioritize delivering tangible results that create value for customers and drive business growth.

Here’s what some product leaders had to say on building outcome-focused teams:

“The value the product leader can unlock in their people and in their teams is a true indicator of a good vs. great CPO. It ultimately comes down to the depth and breadth of how they can show their impact. It is also luck, right time, right place, right ideas. There are some things out of your control that go into great outcomes and becoming a great CPO.”

Aniket Gune, CPO @ SmartAsset

“A good CPO delivers on business outcomes, and that is a given. But a great CPO is transformative with their outcomes. They are 10xers across business impact, team impact, and they make the org product-led. Hitting the goal is good, but transformative is hard.”

Ketan Babaria, CPO @ M1 Finance

4. Alignment

Building a framework for alignment is essential for great product leadership because it helps to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards a common goal. When everyone is on the same page, it is much easier to make informed decisions, prioritize effectively, and execute the product strategy with focus and clarity.

Here’s what some product leaders had to say on alignment:

“From good to great, it’s having that simple and easy-to-understand framework where you can align your PMs, product ops team, and your stakeholders so you can align how you and your product team is enabling those outcomes on the product, strategic, and company level. It’s being able to tell that story with a simple framework.”

Denise Tilles, CPO @ Grocket

“You need to have a product vision and sell that vision to everyone (sales team, board, CEO) to get aligned on the vision and strategy on achieving the goal. Great CPOs can craft a vision to get other people to feel they play a role and are important to that vision.”

Wyatt Jenkins, CPO @ Procore

5. Culture

Building a good culture is essential for great product leadership because it creates an environment for product teams that fosters creativity, collaboration, and innovation. A positive culture can motivate team members to do their best work, take ownership of their roles, and work together towards shared goals. This is particularly important in product development, which often requires cross-functional teams to work together to deliver high-quality products that meet customer needs.

Check out what product leaders had to say about building culture:

“The biggest thing is execution. That’s quantitative. But the key sub-piece here, which makes a great product manager, is ego.

Being able to manage ego. Egos of your executive team, of your product team, of everybody, period. That is the most important thing. Because you are not the most important. The product person is not the most important thing. The collaborative effort is the most important. And that’s what, I think, makes a great chief product officer.”

– Avin Arumugam, Operating Partner @ Struck Capital

“At the end of the day, going from a good to great product leader comes down to how you delight the customers and business growth.

And for me, that comes down to how you create the right culture in product teams because no matter how good a CPO is, if you can’t create the right culture that allows teams to get customer feedback, and deliver products quickly, you can’t build great products.

Once your dev and product managers are cooking with gas, the rest of the organization comes along because you start getting more predictable in terms of when things are going to be released. The sales and customer support team is no longer frustrated that it’s taking so long and there’s no visibility. So the transparency that comes with speed is typically what I think drives a great Chief Product Officer to help a company grow and delight customers.”

– Spiros Theodossiou, CPO @ Dext

“What makes a great product leader is putting your company first and your people first. That means that it’s not all about the product. It’s really about spending enough time with my peers so that I put in the effort to make sure my company and people are successful, not just my specific team.

All being on the same page as a leadership team is so vital. Creating this leadership view and rowing in the same direction makes a great leader. Then in terms of product, it’s being data-driven, customer-focused, and really building a culture where people want to work together. It’s a team sport.”

Trisha Price, CPO @ Pendo

6. Customer Focused

Being customer-focused is essential for great product leadership because it ensures that the product is designed and developed with the needs and wants of the customer in mind. When a product leader is customer-focused, they take the time to deeply understand the customer’s problems, needs, and preferences and use that understanding to inform product decisions.

Here’s what some product leaders had to say about being customer focused.

“Be extremely customer focused. This is not to be confused with customer responsive, meaning, I’m not going to just do what you think you want me to do, but I’m going to get behind what it is you’re trying to accomplish and solve for. I’m going to come to you with an innovative and differentiated approach to solving that problem.

That means you have to know your customers inside and out. I think those product managers that have a pulse on the emotional, contextual, and functional things their customers are trying to solve for are usually ahead of the game.

So my mantra is, if there’s a debate internally or any uncertainty, come back to, what do you think that customer really wants? Hopefully, you know the customer well enough that pretty much anything you come out with would be accretive to that customer’s life.”

Cory Gaines, CPO @ BlackHawk Network

Great Product Leadership: The Bottom Line

To make the transition from good to great, product leaders must be expert storytellers, customer-focused, and culture driven. They must be able to tell a story in a way that creates clarity and inspires stakeholders to take action while also maintaining alignment in communicating their vision and strategy. And all the while having every action line up with their ultimate business outcomes. It is the combination of these qualities and traits that can help a product leader move from good to great and drive the success of their organization.

How can a product leader encompass all of these qualities?

The right tool transforms how product leaders work, enabling organizations to run more efficiently and effectively while also providing new insights and opportunities for innovation.

Ready to transform your product leadership from good to great? Dragonboat helps great product leaders build products that drive success and balance the needs of the customer, the business, and the market. Schedule a demo today to learn more.

Using Data-Driven Decision Making: How a Causal Forecasting Method Can Benefit Product Development and Business Outcomes

You’re not selling used cars

Some years ago, I was a middle manager attending my company’s annual kickoff. It began as so many all-hands meetings do about all that we accomplished the year before, followed by industry trends and a distant 10-year vision for our company. The finance team then closed the meeting by presenting a revenue forecast based on a model that accounted for seasonal trends, inflation, the number of salespeople we planned to hire, and the impact of marketing spend on revenue. At the end of the presentation we were provided with a final revenue number we were all told to work towards and then encouraged to work with our leaders on our OKRs, because, after all, our bonuses depended on this.

But here’s the rub – we were a software company that made more money the more customers used our platform. Yet I couldn’t understand how my activities were relevant to the company strategy. As a member of the product team, I couldn’t influence seasonal trends or economic tailwinds like inflation. It seemed strange to me that hiring more salespeople would generate more sales indefinitely. After all, wouldn’t we eventually run out of potential customers to sell to if we didn’t build new features to increase our total addressable market? Similarly, though we had a marketing plan that allowed us to get more than a dollar back for every dollar we spent, I realized that at some point it wasn’t going to work anymore. Our revenue model sounded like it could have applied to a used car business – but we were a software company! We needed an effective SaaS revenue forecast method, taking tech trends into account.

The truth is that the work we did in product development did matter, but much of our impact was guesswork. Our organization did not have a way to correlate behaviors on our platform as leading indicators that drove lagging indicators to the business, such as revenue. Perhaps this sounds like a familiar story to you, too. In the absence of this, the business built a model that was generally applicable to most businesses, but it didn’t capture how new features introduced on our platform improved the business. Product development teams love to celebrate the fact that they make data-driven decisions, but are you measuring the right things that are driving the right decisions?

Product development teams love to celebrate the fact that they make data-driven decisions, but are you measuring the right things that are driving the right decisions?”

If you find yourself relating to this tale of corporate woe, there is hope! In this article, we’ll provide a brief primer on business forecasting models, zero in on causal forecasting methods that incorporate product development, and then conclude with a few examples showing the benefits of data-driven decision-making to inspire you to action.

Business Forecasting Models

Forecasting, the business activity of projecting future revenues and expenses, is a critical activity that nearly all growing technology companies do. Without some sense of what will happen in months and quarters ahead, decisions about how to invest in the business become guesswork. While it may seem daunting to foretell the future, forecasting approaches are surprisingly simple, in large part because it is not meant to be a precision activity. At best it sets expectations for the investors and employees of the company regarding what they can expect for their contribution to the company within a margin of error.

Historical vs. Causal Forecasting Method

There are two types of financial forecasting methods commonly used by companies. One approach, historical forecasting, involves analyzing patterns and trends from historical data to make predictions about future results. This forecasting method assumes that the future will be similar to the past in terms of events and trends. On the other hand, causal forecasting method looks at the cause-and-effect relationships between variables to make predictions. This forecasting method assumes that changes in one variable will affect another variable in a predictable way. For software companies, a causal forecasting method is a formula that equates to revenue or net income (if the company is profitable).

Diagram of Historical Forecasting vs Causal Forecasting

For many organizations, a historical forecasting method is appealing for the following reasons:

  1. Historical forecasting is often easier to use and can be quicker to generate results because it relies only on past data.
  2. Historical forecasting only needs data to make predictions, while causal forecasting requires a deep understanding of the relationships between the parameters of the formula.
  3. Historical forecasting deals well with stable systems where the underlying relationships between the variables remain relatively constant over time.
  4. Historical forecasting can help uncover trends or changes in behavior over time that may be useful for identifying areas that need improvement or investment.
  5. Historical sales forecasting can be helpful in creating a baseline for performance that can be useful in setting goals, especially for variations based on seasonal or market changes.

However, a historical forecasting method is almost always the wrong approach for the technological industry because changes in our industry happen frequently, and past success is no guarantee for future returns.

According to a study conducted by Small Business Trends in 2019, only 50% of start-ups survive their first four years in business. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum also stated in a report that around 90% of start-ups fail within their first year of operation. This highlights the high-risk nature of running a software start-up and just how short of a time horizon most start-ups operate. The story isn’t much better if you’re an established company. According to a report published by the Statistic Brain Research Institute in 2016, the failure rate for all U.S. technology companies after 10 years was 71%.

Our field is incredibly dynamic, so if your company relies heavily on historical forecasting approaches, advocate for a causal forecasting approach instead. A causal forecasting method addresses these shortcomings in the following ways:

  1. Causal forecasting can provide a more accurate prediction of future outcomes because it takes into consideration the causal relationships between variables.
  2. Causal forecasting can help identify which parameters have the greatest impact on the outcome being forecasted, which can be helpful in making decisions of where to focus efforts to maximize results.
  3. Causal forecasting can be especially helpful in identifying the impact of new trends, innovations, or competitive pressures on business outcomes.
  4. Causal forecasting can help businesses anticipate potential future changes in the market or environment, giving them an opportunity to adapt before the situation changes.
  5. Causal forecasting can help businesses optimize their resources by focusing on the most impactful strategies and tactics, leading to better decision-making and potentially better financial performance.

Causal Forecasting Method Examples

Example 1: Using a Causal Forecasting Method for Simple E-Commerce

To help you wrap your head around what a causal forecasting method looks like for a simple e-commerce business, consider the following:

Net Income = (Number of Visitors * Conversion Rate * Average Cart Value) – Fixed Costs – Variable Costs


  • Number of Visitors = The total number of visitors to the e-commerce website
  • Conversion Rate = The percentage of visitors that make a purchase on the website
  • Average Cart Value = The average value of purchases made by customers in one transaction
  • Fixed Costs = The fixed expenses associated with running the e-commerce business, such as rent, salaries, and insurance
  • Variable Costs = The variable expenses associated with each sale, such as product costs, shipping costs, and payment processing fees

Having the business described in a formula is useful; it highlights the parameters of the business within the team’s control that are possible to predict, such as fixed costs, and which parameters the team can influence. In this case, there’s a role for product development to play with conversion rate and average cart value.

For example, a product team with an idea for a feature that could improve the conversion rate by 20% can use this prediction as part of a pitch to justify the potential revenue impact of their invention. Rather than having teams be goaled on revenue, we now have an opportunity to create a game for our team where we decide if we’re winning or losing by keeping track of conversion rate. In my experience, when teams understand what score they can influence, they naturally develop the strategy to come up with game-winning tactics!

Example 2: Using Causal Forecasting Method for Advertising E-Commerce

Causal forecasting methods are unique to each business, and there are many models one could surmise. Another potential model for an e-commerce site that doesn’t have a shopping cart and generates most of its traffic from advertising could be:

Net Income = (Product Page Views * Conversion Rate * Average Order Value) – (Cost of Goods Sold + Marketing Expenses)


  • Product Page Views = Number of times the product pages are viewed by visitors
  • Conversion Rate = Percentage of product views that result in a purchase
  • Average Order Value = Average amount spent by a customer per order
  • Cost of Goods Sold = Cost incurred in producing and delivering the products sold
  • Marketing Expenses = Cost incurred in advertising and promoting the e-commerce site and its products

Instead of factoring in visitors, this model assumes that higher product page views, conversion rates, and average order values lead to increased sales and revenue for the e-commerce site.

Note that the details of the models may change the behavior of your team. In this case, a focus on product page views versus all site visits will encourage your team to think through ways to encourage people to view products and not just focus on increasing visitors. Furthermore, what you choose to add to your model may require some thought. Different people visiting the e-commerce site may inherently have different conversion rates, so the model may not work if there aren’t guardrails around what types of users are considered valid visits.

World-Class Product Teams and Their Success Stories

To motivate your causal forecasting journey, which is a keystone to developing a strong product operations muscle, here are three examples of world-class product teams who have used this approach to great success; true data-driven decision making examples using causal financial forecasting modeling.


Components of the causal model: Amazon’s causal model includes factors such as product selection, pricing, customer ratings, customer reviews, and shipping options.

  • Metric improved: Conversion rate
  • Feature introduced: Amazon’s “Buy Box” algorithm, which uses machine learning to determine the optimal seller and price for a product, improving the likelihood of a purchase.
  • Revenue impact: By improving conversion rates, Amazon has been able to increase its sales 


Components of the causal model: Netflix’s causal model includes factors such as subscriber growth, content library, content cost, user experience, and engagement metrics.

  • Metric improved: User retention rate
  • Feature introduced: Netflix’s recommendation algorithm, which leverages machine learning and user data to recommend content personalized to each user’s preferences.
  • Revenue impact: By improving user retention, Netflix has been able to sustain growth in its subscriber base, which is a key driver of its revenue growth.


Components of the causal model: Salesforce’s causal model includes factors such as lead generation, lead conversion rates, sales team performance, customer satisfaction metrics, and competitive landscape.

  • Metric improved: Sales team performance
  • Feature introduced: Salesforce’s “Einstein Analytics” platform, which uses machine learning and data analysis to provide insights into sales team performance and identify areas for improvement.
  • Revenue impact: By improving sales team performance, Salesforce has been able to increase its revenue growth and customer satisfaction metrics.

Wrapping up

For software companies, forecasting with dynamic causal modeling that incorporates product development can provide a more accurate and actionable prediction of future outcomes. It can help identify the parameters that have the greatest impact on business outcomes and allow teams to focus on where to make the greatest impact. The causal models will not be the same for all businesses and will need to be tailored to your specific industry and business model. By looking at examples of world-class product teams, you can see how they have leveraged causal forecasts to achieve success. So if you want to start making data-driven decisions that drive real business results, it’s time to embrace causal forecasting.

How to Measure the Success of Your Product Operations Function

Guest post from Baris Ermut, Product Manager at Innetial and Product Ops HQ Community member, who’s an expert in all things product.

As the role of Product Operations continues to evolve in organizations, it is becoming increasingly important to track and measure the effectiveness of the function. In this post, we will explore how to measure the success of your Product Operations team.

What is Product Operations?

Before we dive into measuring success, let’s first simply define what Product Operations is. Product Operations is a function within an organization that helps the Product team run efficiently and effectively. The Product Operations team is responsible for making product development practices smoother, enabling cross-functional collaboration, and ensuring the successful delivery of products to the market.

Learn more about the role of product operations

The Importance of Measuring Success

Measuring the success of your Product Operations function is essential to know whether you or your team is meeting its goals and objectives. It helps you identify areas for improvement, demonstrate the value your function brings to the organization, and make data-driven decisions. Here are five ways to measure the success of your Product Operations function:

  • Surveys

Surveys are a great way to understand how well your team is communicating with cross-functional teams. You can create surveys similar to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to understand how well the communication practices work. Surveys can help you understand what cross-functional teams think about the practices you have implemented.

  • Product Team Health and Effectiveness

Product team health and effectiveness are key metrics to track. You can analyze whether the product team is focusing on real problems instead of tasks that can be automated. Tracking this metric helps you identify whether your team is spending time on high-value tasks that drive the organization’s success.

  • Task/Project Success

Product Operations is about making product development practices more efficient, so every task you have is like a new product to track success. Tracking the success of every task separately will help you identify the areas where you can improve. It also helps you understand whether your team is delivering products on time and within budget.

  • Adoption Metrics

Tracking adoption metrics can help you measure success. You can determine whether new changes and practices are being used, and whether they are working as intended. Adoption metrics also help you understand how well your team is adopting new technologies and tools.

  • User Feedback

User feedback is critical for understanding what’s working and what’s not. For Product Operations, your user base is the product team and cross-functional teams. Once a change happens, you can always ask for feedback. User feedback helps you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.

Measuring the success of your Product Operations function can be tricky. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to do it. You can create your own method of measuring success, whether it’s qualitative or quantitative. Choose whichever method works best for you and your product team.

3 Possible KPIs That Will Influence Every Product Operations Leader

  • Time to Market

If you want to improve your revenue and customer satisfaction, it’s important to measure how long it takes to develop and launch a new product or feature. By tracking time to market, you can identify the bottlenecks in your development process and streamline it to deliver products faster.

  • Customer Satisfaction

Happy customers are the key to a successful product. As a Product Operations leader, you’re responsible for ensuring the development process is effective, and the end product meets customers’ needs. By tracking customer satisfaction, you can find out which areas need improvement and make necessary changes to the development process, leading to happier customers.

  • Productivity

Efficiency is important when it comes to product development. By measuring productivity, you can identify where your team is struggling and offer the support and resources they need to work more efficiently. By comparing productivity metrics to industry benchmarks, you can ensure that your team is competitive and working at their maximum potential.

Tracking these KPIs will provide you with a comprehensive picture of how your Product Operations function is performing, allowing you to make data-driven decisions to increase efficiency and drive success.

Wrap Up

Measuring the success of your Product Operations function is crucial to know how well you and/or your product operations team is performing. It helps you identify areas for improvement, demonstrate the value your function brings to the organization, and make data-driven decisions. 

By using both qualitative and quantitative methods like surveys, tracking product team health and effectiveness, task/project success, adoption metrics, and user feedback, you can demonstrate the value of your Product Operations team and help your organization achieve its goals.

So, how do you manage to measure the success of your Product Operations function?

Hope you’ve enjoyed it and might learn something new or insightful! I’m totally open to all kinds of comments and coffee talk about Product Operations.

Acquiring PDLC Proficiency for Better Business Outcomes

Have you ever had a great product idea, but struggled to turn it into a successful outcome? Product development is a complex process that involves many stages, from ideation to launch and beyond. It’s not just about designing and building a product. It’s about creating something that meets the needs of your target audience, is delivered on time and within budget, and generates results for your company. That’s where the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC) comes in. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about PDLC and how it can help you turn your product ideas into successful outcomes.

Whether you call it out or not, your product teams are following a PDLC – a structured approach to bringing new products to market. From ideation and prioritization to design, development, testing, release, A/B testing, support, and measurement, each team member follows a defined workflow and collaboration pattern. By recognizing and optimizing this process, you can help ensure a more efficient and effective product development process.

What is the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC) and what is oPDLC?

The Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC) is a process of how your company builds products and brings them to life to achieve customer and business outcomes. For most companies, it is structured around the product and development part of a “real” lifecycle. Whereas an oPDLC is a complete outcome-focused product development life cycle product development process from ideation to design, build, release, go to market, drive adoption, measure outcome, and iterate and improve. Like iPhone to a phone – oPDLC is a new generation, much more powerful PDLC to help outcome-focused organizations ensure that it meets customer needs and is successful in the market.

Why is implementing the right Product Development Cycle essential?

An effective organization runs on effective processes. An outcome-focused product organization needs to run an outcome-focused PDLC. 

Implementing the right product development life cycle is crucial for effective team collaboration, ensuring that critical elements and deliverables are not missing, and reducing confusion between handoffs from one team to another, e.g. from research to design to product to engineering – there are many cross-functional collaborations. 

Additionally, following the PDLC provides consistency for the executive team. It ensures that everyone is aligned and on the same page, from product managers to the chief product officer, including the development team, product marketers, and other relevant partners. Finally, it creates a positive team dynamic by focusing on solving problems rather than blaming individuals or teams. 

Overall, implementing the product development life cycle results in a streamlined and outcome-focused product development process, reducing the risk of costly mistakes, improving product quality, and increasing customer satisfaction.

The 7 Cycles of oPDLC (outcome-focused Product Development Life Cycle)

The traditional product development life cycle (PDLC) is a linear process of creating a new product from concept to market. It consists of different stages of the product with its own set of tasks and deliverables, and the PDLC framework helps teams stay organized and focused throughout the process. We have taken a step forward to also capture the pre-development process (goals setting, research, data analysis) and post-release (documentation, user education, product launch marketing initiatives) in what we call the Outcome Focused Product Development Life Cycle (oPDLC):

Diagram of oPDLC
  1. Goals/outcomes 

The first phase is setting the goals and outcomes for the project, where the team outlines the objectives they want to achieve with the new product.

  1. Allocation

The second phase is allocation, where the team assigns roles and responsibilities to each member involved in the project. This phase helps to ensure that everyone is clear on what is expected of them and helps to optimize resources. 

  1. Ideas

The third phase is generating ideas, where the team comes up with a pool of potential concepts for the new product. This can be done through brainstorming, market research, or user feedback.

  1. Prioritization

Once the team has generated a list of ideas, the next phase is prioritization. Here, the team evaluates each idea based on various criteria, such as market demand, feasibility, and profitability. They then select the ideas with the highest potential and prioritize them for further development.

  1. Planning

The planning phase comes next, where the team develops a detailed project plan outlining timelines, resources, and tasks required to execute the project successfully.

  1. Execution

The execution phase is where the actual development of the product takes place, and the team builds and tests the product. This phase requires close monitoring of progress to ensure that the project stays on track.

  1. Reporting

Finally, the reporting phase involves evaluating the project’s performance and documenting lessons learned to improve future projects. This phase also involves sharing project results and feedback with stakeholders to help inform future decisions.

Now that we’ve looked at the “why,” let’s take a look at the ‘how.” 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to ditching the feature factory and adopting Dragonboat’s outcome-driven approach.

How can Dragonboat help you run an effective PDLC?

As companies and teams evolve, they adjust their PDLC. But these process changes are hard to communicate and even harder to ensure adoption. Process change needs a system to support it, and Dragonboat is the perfect platform for product teams to design, roll out, adopt, and adjust oPDLC 

Every product team strives to follow a PDLC practice, but it’s hard to standardize it across the organization and different tools used for software development lifecycle vs. ideation and go-to-market readiness, which translates into inconsistent practices that require a lot of time, resources, spreadsheets, emails, team slacks, meetings.  

Dragonboat serves as a centralized hub for all product-related information, establishing a consistent practice across the organization and eliminating the need for scattered documents and spreadsheets. This streamlined approach enables the outcome-focused practice and provides transparency, and collaboration across teams, ultimately contributing to the organization’s success.

Hear what Dragonboat customers have to say about the importance of PDLC: 

“There’s many different phases you can use and flavors you can have with PDLC, but it’s always important to have only one understanding and single thread definition of what your product lifecycle is across the organization- and people can attach to that and create their own processes within those buckets”

Mark Kawczenski, Director of Product Operations, Procore.
Learn more from Talogy’s VP of Product Management, John Field

“Every organization produces something for their customers, and there must be a machine working to produce that product. From the initial idea, to the business requirements, QA’ing, to final product going Live to Site (LTS)- the development of product is a delicately choreographed dance with the product organization and the Engineering / Development organization. This process is called the Product Development Lifecycle (PDLC). AND there needs to be a picture so that the entire organization has a picture of the machine that produces the product and the rhythm of the organization.”

Avin Arumugam, Chief Product officer, One inc

If you want to learn more about how Dragonboat can help you implement an outcome-focused practice, set up some time, and we’ll be happy to show you our solutions and ask any questions that you may have.

Dragonboat Wins ‘Best Product for Product Managers’ at Products that Count 2023 in B2B Tech Category

SANTA CLARA, California, March 9, 2023 – Dragonboat announced today that it has been named a Top B2B Tech product in the 2023 Product Awards. The Product Awards, presented by Products That Count in partnership with Mighty Capital and Capgemini, are the only awards designed to celebrate the tools that help Product Management build great products. Dragonboat is the most nominated product in the category.

Adopted by thousands of product leaders across 60 countries, Dragonboat is the go-to product portfolio platform for outcome-focused teams. With Dragonboat, product teams can connect OKRs, customer insights, and product initiatives in one source of truth platform to strategize, prioritize, plan, and deliver products that drive business results. 

“The bar for what makes a great product gets higher every year,” said SC Moatti, founding CEO of Products That Count. “Dragonboat is a testament to that. We expect them to keep defining what it means to be at the cutting edge of product, not only in 2023 but also in the years to come.”

“Product management has evolved tremendously in the past couple of decades, from being a cost center being told what to ship, to becoming the key driver of every business. This shift requires a new framework and platform to effectively lead product organizations. This is why Dragonboat got started, building on top of the responsive product portfolio framework, and enabling everyone involved in creating products that count. We are honored to be recognized by the community and the Products that Count Advisory Board. And look forward to enabling more outcome-focused product organizations”

– Becky Flint, CEO and founder of Dragonboat. 

Dragonboat would like to thank the Dragonboat community and our customers for all their support as well as Products That Count and partners Mighty Capital and Capgemini for the prestigious award. Lastly, we would like to recognize our fellow winners Zelt, Mperativ, and Chameleon.


Dragonboat empowers product organizations to achieve better business outcomes faster. Built upon the responsive product portfolio management framework, Dragonboat is an industry-leading platform that connects all functions of product companies with integrated data to align goals and strategies, allocates resources effectively, and enables smart, responsive decisions to maximize product investments. Founded in 2018, Dragonboat is the source of truth platform relied upon by chief product officers, product operations, product teams, and transformation leaders across the world. 

Boosting Outcomes: The Role of Product Operations in Streamlining Your Company’s Processes

This blog post was created in partnership with “Product Ops HQ community”, the fastest-growing community where product operations professionals gather to connect, share knowledge, and learn.

Product Operations is gaining importance in business, and organizations are discovering its benefits. In this interview series, we explore best practices from Responsive Product Portfolio (RPPM) advocates. RPPM is a framework for product-led organizations that connects objectives, customer needs, products, and resources for faster outcomes. Join us to learn key insights and tips for success in Product Operations.

Interview with Hugo Froes

Welcome to our exclusive interview with Hugo Froes, the mastermind behind OLX Motor’s product operations. With over two decades of experience in the product and design industry, Hugo has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share. He’s explored user-centered methodologies, team topologies, and change management, all with the goal of creating scalable and sustainable product teams. His passion lies in helping teams unlock their full potential to create better products that exceed expectations.

Hugo is also an accomplished teacher and mentor, having taught at various institutions and co-founding UXDiscuss. As a former board member of the Global ResearchOps community, he’s always eager to give back to the community and help shape the next generation of designers with his user-centered methodologies.

What was your role before you became a Product Operations professional? How long have you been in the Product Ops role?

Just prior to moving into Product Operations, I was part of the design Practice team at Farfetch, which is similar to Design Operations.

I’ve been working in the world of Product Ops for 3 years and I’ve been in my current role for just over a year.

What are the biggest challenges facing your product teams?

There are challenges that I’ve seen consistently through most of the product organizations I’ve worked with over the past few years.

  1. How to be outcome-focused, and yet show that you are delivering updates, improvements, or innovation
  2. How to measure effort versus the impact of the work
  3. How to have clearer connectivity between the various levels of strategies, objectives, and initiatives
  4. How to be truly collaborative and with the new reality, how to be either remote or hybrid and do it well
  5. How to clearly measure the impact of the product organization
  6. How to prioritize the right things to work on
  7. How to have smoother/simpler planning cycles
  8. How to show the advantages of being product-led
  9. How to streamline practices to reduce effort and waste

And then on a maybe lower scale, but equally important for the teams:

  1. How to do just the right amount of documentation
  2. How to organize everything
  3. Defining the right structure for your teams and organization
  4. Working with stakeholders
  5. Working with other disciplines efficiently
  6. How to mature the people and the organization well

I think I could keep going on. There’s just so much that needs attention. And the bigger the organization, the messier and more complex each of these can be.

How does your team/management measure your success as Product Ops?

I think this is a point that most Ops teams struggle with and I’m not the exception. But as a baseline, I look for operational measurements of efficiency related to the topics that the organization feels are important at that moment.

For example: If we have to grow the team, then I’ll look at hiring metrics together with the hiring team. Things like applicants that enter the hiring final vs. those that actually get hired, or even how many get to the first interview. That gives me an idea of whether we’re attracting the right talent or if our hiring process is efficient.

Right now, a lot of my results are measured by where improvements are seen in efficiency or effectiveness. For example, with vendor management, if I am able to streamline the processes, reduce costs or improve how we make decisions on whether we’re working with the right solution to decrease the number of bad choices.

But in general, I get measured along with the rest of the leadership group on how our product organization is improving. How much it’s maturing and how that is impacting our revenue and growth.

Learn more about how to guarantee Product Operations effectiveness here.

In your experience, how can Product Ops help establish an outcome-focused practice?

I think one of the simplest forms is connected to the fact that product operations is often connected to planning and reporting practices/processes.

We can help move the narrative towards the results of the way we’re working rather than just what we are delivering because those results show our growth and impact as an organization.

But more than that, we could potentially do a comparison using data sources of how much we delivered versus the impact on the results. This is often sugar-coated, and by showcasing that, we are at least able to argue that we aren’t being efficient. If all the operational costs of the organization are too much higher than the return, then we’re clearly not being efficient.

Challenging the organization to look at what we are going to attempt to achieve, whether through setting OKRs, NSM, or just simple goals, we move them to focus on driving results. The initiatives that are created are focused on achieving those results.

I’m a big fan of the North Star Metric Framework and have seen it working well when done properly. OKRs, equally, when done well, can yield great results. Both together work well too.

Learn more about OKR templates for Product Operations here.

Other than product and engineering teams, what other groups (in the company and externally) do you work closely with?

I work closely with Design, Research and Data, depending on the topic. 

I also work with Procurement, Legal, Finance, HR and externally with vendors we work with.

In this role, I feel I have to connect to as many people as possible to uncover potential connections or areas of improvement.

Keeping up with industry trends and changes in customer needs is a never-ending task, what methods do you use to stay informed? Is there a particular source (website, book, podcast, expert…) you recommend?

That’s a good question. I would say that depending on the industry we’re working in, our resources for market trends may vary and from Farfetch to OLX, the resources changed from Fashion tech trends to motors marketplace trends.

But in general, in terms of industry of product and product operations, I like the Product-led Alliance community, Mind the Product, Operations Nation, and more recently, ProductOpsHQ.

In terms of professionals, I’m always going to suggest John Cutler, Marty Cagan, and Melissa Perri. But I’ve also enjoyed following Denise Tilles, Antonia Landi, and Michelle Merrill.

In terms of Podcasts, I think the most interesting are The Product Ops Podcast and Melissa Perri’s podcast, but there are a few interesting episodes of podcasts out there worth listening to.

Beyond that, I love reading books on processes and ways of working. Especially those that challenge my way of thinking or my assumptions. But I also love reading books on behavior, leadership and group dynamics. Some of my favs? Thinking backwards, Switch, ReWork, Sprint, Empowered, The Culture Map, The Lean Product Playbook, Lean UX.

We hope you found this interview with Hugo Froes informative and insightful. Want to learn more? Follow him on Linkedin and subscribe to his newsletter.

Are you seeking to elevate your organization’s Product Operations to the next level? Dragonboat, the industry-leading platform for product portfolio management, can help you get there. Streamline processes, drive better outcomes, and stay ahead of the competition. Seamlessly connect your OKRs, customer insights, and product initiatives in one centralized source of truth. Book a demo today and see how Dragonboat can help take your organization’s success to the next level.

The Tool You Choose Defines the Way Your Product Teams Work

Imagine this… You have confidence that your key metrics are trending in the right direction, and know exactly how your team’s work supports your goals. You have clear visibility into portfolio trade-off decisions, risks, and opportunities. The decisions you make are all backed by data. 

Is this due to a great process or a great tool? 

The Role of Tools in Shaping Your Product Team’s Culture

Some people believe you first create a good practice and process, then you choose a tool. However, there’s a new band of thought that the right tool actually helps you build upon new learning, drive better adherence, and accelerate the adoption of a new practice, process, or culture.

When a team adopts a tool, it’s important to not just look for features, but also understand the key differences and the impact that each tool can have on organizational culture.

The industry has shifted from project to product management, from output to outcome focused workflows and from a roadmap to a portfolio decision making framework. These shifts shape the way teams collaborate, communicate, make decisions and deliver value. 

The Transformation from Project to Product

At a high level, project-based waterfall tools, such as Jira Align and Planview, focus on managing and tracking the progress of individual projects. These tools typically have a waterfall, ‘command and control’ linear approach to work. There’s a start and end date. You scope it, complete it and move on. If it was on time and on budget, it was a success. 

However, as we know, product is never done. Product-based tools, such as Dragonboat, are designed to support teams in achieving their desired outcomes. Rather than focusing on delivering a set of features and functionality, these tools help teams align their work with the overall product strategy and goals of the organization. They encourage a more responsive and agile approach to work, allowing teams to continuously adjust their priorities and focus based on progress and outcomes. 

A product-focused workflow prioritizes continuously evolving products, enabling portfolio leaders to make real-time adjustments for improved outcomes.

Read more on Transforming From Project to Product.

The Transformation from Output to Outcome

An output-focused culture typically focuses on the delivery of specific features, such as the launch of a new product or the completion of a project. This approach is typically more tactical in nature and is used when the product requirements and goals are well-defined and understood.

An outcome-focused approach, on the other hand, keeps attention on the problems being solved. The focus is on the value the product delivers and the outcomes it achieves, such as increased customer retention or revenue. This approach is typically more strategic in nature. Outcome-focused product management is more flexible, allows for more experimentation, and helps teams adapt to the changing state of the business, customer, and market. 

Great product management drives business success in organizations. For that to succeed, we need to align goals and measure outcomes at both the team and exec levels. That’s why I got really excited about Dragonboat because it allows you to tie everything together. With Dragonboat you can make great decisions and run with it. The faster you can make a good decision, the better off you are.

– Melissa Perri, CEO of ProduxLabs & Author of ‘Escaping the Build Trap’

The Transformation from Roadmap to Portfolio

We all know roadmaps. They serve the purpose of collecting feedback, prioritizing and visualizing features in a Gantt chart, timeline, or board format, and sharing with stakeholders. Roadmaps help product managers align on work, but can often lead to silos and feature traps.

A portfolio tool enables you to connect multiple roadmaps and layer multiple lenses on top of them. Taking business goals, customer feedback, market dynamics, and available resources into consideration when making decisions. With a portfolio tool, executives and their teams can evaluate and allocate to various investment options based on desired outcomes and adjust responsively based on the actual results.

​​When you have multiple teams to manage, you need to change your processes and elevate your thinking. You don’t want to be in the details of what everybody’s doing. You have to start thinking about them like a portfolio.

– Wyatt Jenkins, Chief Product Officer at Procore 

Read more on how to Choose Between a Roadmap vs. Product Portfolio (PPM) Tool

Your Tool Creates Your Culture

The tool you choose can have a significant impact on your organizational culture. Project-based tools will lead to a project-based workflow, where teams are primarily focused on the completion of individual projects rather than the overall outcomes of the organization. Roadmap visualization tools can lead to an over-index on feature delivery, where teams get stuck in the build trap.  

Both can create silos within the organization and hinder the ability to respond to the state of the market and adapt to changing business needs.

Product portfolio tools help facilitate a shift in mindset towards a more outcome-focused approach. Aligning your team’s work to goals and enabling them to make more informed decisions about how to allocate their time and resources. 

Ultimately, a team’s success should be measured by building products that drive business outcomes. Did this initiative help us achieve our goals? Are we progressing toward our goals at the rate we expected? Are we prioritizing work that will have the highest utilization of our available resources? 

Picking The Right Tool for Your Business Needs

Each tool is designed with a philosophy and a certain set of principles. These principles reflect the way you work, the process you create, and the culture of your team. 

To understand the culture a tool will create, you must understand its DNA. Planview and Jira Align are for project portfolio management. Aha was built to manage a feature roadmap. Productboard to manage feedback and requests. 

On the surface, there may be similarities between tools, but look under the hood and you’ll quickly see the nuance. 

Transformation happens when leaders empower their teams to be focused on outcomes, not just work. 

With the help of Dragonboat, we’ve changed our strategic mindset to really focus on where growth lies and focus the product organization on the proposed growth objectives and we’re starting to see the results of that.

– Perry Steinberg, Chief Product Officer, AbacusNext

Dragonboat is an outcome-focused portfolio platform purpose-built for outcome-focused product teams. Check it out via Dragonboat’s free trial today or schedule a demo with one of our product expert consultants. 

How to Lead Your Team to Success After Big Organizational Change

Layoffs are hard and they affect everyone, both those laid off, and those who stay. For those who were laid off, there are huge mental and financial implications. We feel for them. For those who stay – they are the future of your company. And they also experience mental and work-related stresses. The potential negative impacts should not be overlooked. 

There are many questions and doubts that will arise, such as: 

  • Am I safe? Will there be more layoffs?
  • Should I go look for another job that’s more secure?
  • So and so are top performers and they are impacted. This does not seem fair. What does it take to succeed here? 
  • The company is making good profits and even growing. Why is this happening?

Guiding Your Team to Success After a Layoff

Let me put it bluntly: companies that are “doing well” and are also laying off employees should attribute this to a management failure. However, managers can make smarter decisions if they are operating and making decisions in the fog. That can only lead to poor outcomes and bad consequences. 

After the layoffs, the leaders of a company must handle the situation very differently – no one wants to experience what happened at Twitter. 

What changes should you make?

Here are some considerations and a 3-phase process for your remaining team: 

Phase 1: What to do immediately or within the 1st week of the layoff announcement. 

After the news, act quickly to have one-on-one meetings with your team. Do that within the same day or no more than a few days later. Listen actively to the conversation and take notes for future action plans. Be honest and transparent about addressing their concerns.

Phase 2: Challenges to address in a few weeks

With fewer people, there will not be immediate less work. Customers are still there. So are projects, even winding them down takes time. Who will cover what? How not to create burn out, or drop the ball that negatively affects business or customers?

  • Solution 1: With a leaner team improving focus and prioritization becomes a must. This includes connecting the different initiatives with the overall business objectives and regularly shifting as needed.
  •  Solution 2: Reduce overhead work (like reporting, stakeholder updates, etc.) via automated, customized real-time roadmap and updates, using tools to improve efficiency. 

How do we create a plan forward after a layoff?

The first step after a layoff is to get everyone on the same page. All the teams need to be aligned and working towards the same goals. A good way to do this is by including other teams in the planning process. This way, everyone knows what’s going on and can work together to make sure that the initiatives have the necessary resources.

Any roadblocks should be called out early. This way you have time to adjust your plans and avoid any nasty surprises later on. And, if you want to make sure everyone is on the same page, use tools to help with alignment and communication. They can be a big help in keeping everyone in sync.

Phase 3: Review and revamp how you will work for future success 

Currently, the idea of acquiring a new tool may not be top of mind, however, it’s worth considering from a different perspective. The right tool can help a business do more with less: 

  • Want to boost revenue? Connect features with revenue and retention goals. You’ll always know where the needs vs the resources and the current plans, making it easier to make adjustments.
  • Want to save money? Cut down on all those spreadsheets and decks. It’ll be like having an extra person for every 5 PMs. 
  • Want to get the most out of your resources? With easy planning, you can avoid wasting engineering resources on waiting or getting blocked by cross-team dependencies.

Dragonboat has helped 3,000+ product teams deliver better business outcomes. If you want to find out more about our solutions, book a demo today.

2023: The Year of Product Transformation from Features to Outcomes

After a tumultuous end of 2022 in the midst of a wave of tech layoffs, the challenges that businesses are facing won’t slow down in 2023. Many organizations will start the new year with a reduced workforce and budget, forcing them to transform the way they work and focus on delivering the most important outcomes.

Why a Purpose-Built Platform can be a Strategic Differentiator

While working on lots of “nice to have” initiatives with a loose connection to high-level company goals is acceptable when the market is thriving, having an outcome-focused plan allocating resources in the most effective way across all the product areas will be king for product leaders in 2023. And this is where transformation from features to outcomes comes into play – how can you focus on the most important projects when there’s a lack of visibility? How can you prioritize allocation if you can’t manage resources at the portfolio level? How can you adjust if tracking and reporting is an epic task?

Embedding the right technology to ensure efficient product operations will allow you to create an “intelligent enterprise” that is able to: 

  1. Ensure that the company goals are being met
  2. Scale value creation across the organization
  3. Make sure that everyone is moving in the same direction

Melissa Perri, CEO of ProduxLabs and Author of ‘Escaping the Build Trap’, explained it well during her talk in Agile 2022: a software solution can be a strategic differentiator for companies and a core part of their company strategy:

An End-to-End System to Run your Product Operations

Dragonboat has helped 3,000+ product teams around the world operate in a more agile way. It’s an end-to-end system that runs your product operations, enabling you to create a standard planning framework, connect initiatives with OKRs, generate automated built-in reports, manage resources at the portfolio level, and more. 

OKR grouping in Dragonboat’s Allocation report

When you have an outcome-focused approach – you can monitor your outcome progress in real-time so that you may evaluate your product investment decisions effectively. Without an outcome-focused approach, teams tend to continuously improve “good enough”, while newer, more problematic areas of business may not get the focus. Knowing when to start an initiative is just as important as knowing when to stop it, so you don’t have zombie initiatives that have been going way over what they were intended for.  

If you are trying to increase capital efficiency and move to outcome-focused practice in your organization in 2023, Dragonboat can help. Book a demo today to learn more about our solutions.

Responsive Product Portfolio Management (Responsive PPM) Whitepaper Ebook

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