Symphony Talent Drives Peak Performance with 90% On-Time Delivery

Imagine steering an enormous ship without a compass…directionless in the ocean. That’s how Perry Steinberg, Chief Product Officer (CPO) at Symphony Talent, describes product management without strategic planning and the right tools. A two-time customer of Dragonboat, Steinberg dives into the complexities of product management and shares how Dragonboat streamlines the process and enables strategic decision-making.

Product: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

From confusion and chaos to clarity and control, Steinberg has seen all flavors of product management. The seasoned CPO vouches for the necessity of a well-defined roadmap, emphasizing the establishment of clear goals and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) at the outset.

For product managers, a portfolio management approach offers the broad perspective needed to effectively guide their teams. Steinberg and his team at Symphony Talent utilize Dragonboat to bridge the alignment gap, not only between the executive team and product, but also between product and all internal cross functional teams. This capability provides a clear line of communication with your clients and product about critical elements of the product portfolio.

“Dragonboat equips the CPO with the capacity to scale, introducing analytics to the organization and enabling the product managers, engineers, and CPO to accomplish more with less. Dragonboat supports Product Ops and assists CPOs in making efficient, data-driven decisions, offering real-time access to data and circumventing roadblocks that could hinder scaling."

The Challenges

Without a clear roadmap for product, companies often find themselves in operational chaos, misalignment, and bottlenecks, especially in the current day and age with unexpected market shifts. In addition, the Product Development team doesn’t have a method to measure success without a clear strategy, objective, and roadmap.

Steinberg identifies several key challenges of CPOs:

  • Understanding and responding to market dynamics
  • Articulating a strategy that aligns with organizational goals and market impacts
  • Responsiveness to unexpected market shifts
  • Aligning and tracking OKRs across all organizational levels
  • Eliminating silos and fostering collaboration
  • Orchestrating multiple teams efficiently

"Prior to implementing a portfolio management tool, my teams were tracking only a 20% on-time delivery capability with virtually zero strategic projects delivered."

The Results

Take a Portfolio Management Approach With Dragonboat

Effective portfolio management begins with leadership’s grasp of market dynamics and target business impacts.

"Leadership needs an articulated strategy and prioritization that aligns with OKRs."

Having a strategic and responsive portfolio management approach not only provides direction but also the necessary flexibility to adapt in the face of unforeseen business challenges – but how?

Continual evaluation of these OKRs by the leadership team ensures alignment with the business strategy. Similar to a pilot adjusting the aircraft’s trajectory mid-flight due to changing weather conditions, the leadership team consistently reviews and realigns the OKRs on a quarterly basis, making necessary adjustments to stay on course.

“Where outdated tools and practices might have worked in the past, today’s product leaders need a solution that provides a more comprehensive and integrated view. Take, for example, the allocation of product team efforts–an aspect at the very core of portfolio management. An effective allocation breakdown might look like this: 20% of the team's time for innovation, 60% for iterative design, and 20% for maintaining existing systems and operations (keeping the lights on) But when asking how do investments align with these percentages, and how do they evolve over time? Tracking and adjusting would be virtually impossible without a responsive, purpose-built tool.”

Drive Business Outcomes Through Company Wide Alignment With Dragonboat

The first step to driving org-wide alignment and collaboration is to shift your mentality from delivering features to driving outcomes. It also means taking a broader perspective and working closely with various functions. Here’s how how Dragonboat empowers CPOs, like Perry, to create strategic alignment and collaborate with peers while keeping cross-functional teams on track:

  • Embracing OKRs: Aim for 80% of work to directly correlate with an OKR. Misalignment suggests strategy adjustments or a misplaced focus.
  • Prioritizing features and initiatives to achieve OKRs utilizing the built-in prioritization like the MoAR model for quantitative prioritization or customized formulas. 
  • Integrate with development tools to facilitate a two-way sync with Jira, Azure Dev Ops, Github, and others, to gain automatic progress reports and delay alerts.
  • Build and share outcome-centric roadmaps and keep stakeholders informed, provide context, andprep the team for downstream activities. 

"By focusing on the numbers, my teams improved to ~90% on-time delivery and a 50% decrease in hotfixes. It’s this radical focus that drives performance for a Product Development organization."

Breaking Silos with Dragonboat: A Transparent and Collaborative Approach

The siloed nature of business operations is a persistent challenge for many organizations. Yet, as leaders, the job is to break down these silos and foster holistic, interconnected workflows. A pivotal step in this journey is fostering an integrated product development lifecycle (PDLC) that effectively breaks down silos.

At his last 3 companies, Perry Steinberg implemented an all encompassing PDLC that included Go-To-Market focus and involved all key stakeholders across the board.

"What's great about Dragonboat is its ability to display, in a clear and concise manner, how all the work that product development is undertaking ties back to the objective. This visibility and alignment within cross-functional teams are paramount as they enhance transparency, which is essential for breaking down those silos."

Use Data-Driven Prioritization and Portfolio Modeling to Build Outcome-Focused Roadmaps

Prioritization sits at the heart of product leadership. Strategies like the Rock, Pebble, Sand approach help sidestep the build-trap by addressing key issues first, refining the backlog in line with resource availability.

The Metrics over Available Resources (MoAR) framework aids in incorporating clear goal measures into your roadmap. It facilitates smarter product decisions, clearer portfolio metrics, and enhanced outcomes.

“There’s a say-do ratio. A lot of companies say they don’t want to be feature focused, but being outcome-focused doesn’t mean you stop outputs. There needs to be strategy and outcome, but also the ability to execute and evaluate what we are not going to do, and what the bottlenecks are. This allows you to achieve what you need to achieve."

With this, planning an outcome-driven roadmap that acknowledges dependencies and allocation becomes possible. Optimal portfolio outcomes require resource distribution towards both immediate and future goals. Dragonboat provides a clear view of planned versus actual resources, allowing effective roadmap execution and necessary adjustments.

Managing dependencies is as vital as resource allocation. Unmonitored, they could obstruct progress and delay outcomes. Dragonboat supports efficient planning, visualization, and auto-tracking of dependencies, enabling successful product delivery. It also offers real-time roadmap progress and automatic delay or risk alerts.

The final step is monitoring outcome progress and adjusting your roadmap based on results. Track both the progress of roadmap items and your OKRs to learn what’s effective. 

“From a product management standpoint, the heart of our discussions should not solely focus on features and functions, but rather on outcomes. Our conversations must pivot around market trends, organizational objectives, and, ultimately, the desired outcomes we aim to achieve.”

Dragonboat- A CPO's Strategic Ally

How Dragonboat Empowers CPOs Like Perry Steinberg

  • Alignment of goals with key business areas involved in building and delivering products
  • Easily share delivery progress with stakeholders including board members, C-Suite executives, functional leads, strategic partners, and key customers
  • Provides a source of truth for the entire company
  • Allocate resources in real-time and adjust allocation based on outcomes
  • Visualize data that represents business goals, customer needs, and product strategies
  • Provide an easy way for executives to quickly view both outcome progress and roadmap deliverables

Why Do You Need a Product Portfolio Management Tool?

Perry said it best:

“I've used Excel, tabs, and charts, and I've seen impressively designed PowerPoint slides. However, none of these methods are tied to anything substantial. They're rigid, challenging to manage, and not flexible enough to adapt to changes. The truth is, effective product portfolio management can't be achieved without a dedicated tool."

Dragonboat’s versatile capabilities help CPOs manage resources effectively, provide visibility into the product development process, and link project execution to corporate objectives.

Through Steinberg’s experience, it’s clear that Dragonboat is more than just a tool–it’s a strategic ally for CPOs aiming to enhance collaboration, drive strategic alignment, and make data-driven decisions. Whether you’re a seasoned CPO or aspiring to the role, Dragonboat empowers you to lead your organization confidently towards successful business outcomes.

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Symphony Talent is a recruitment marketing technology company that helps talent acquisition teams automate tasks and empower innovative candidate interactions. Symphony Talent's award-winning EVP strategy, employer brand campaigns, career site design and recruitment technology support clients across the globe, including the world's leading brands. Visit to learn more.
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Outcome-based strategic decision making and alignment between executive, product, and cross-functional teams.

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