How connecting technique to execution led to the beginning of Dragonboat

In Could 2017, I joined a Fintech startup, Feedzai,  to construct its first product group and create the product administration greatest practices that join technique and execution: buyer wants, enterprise targets (OKRs), and long-term product methods responsively.

Challenges From Fast Development

Once I joined Feedzai, it was in tremendous progress mode, from ~100 folks to 300+ in a couple of yr.

Because the buyer base expanded, it created a a lot wider roadmap consumption funnel influenced by present prospects, prospects, inside groups, and market insights. In consequence, the engineering crew grew, which shaped extra scrum groups. Earlier than lengthy, most options began to require a number of scrum groups. Dependencies began to gradual everybody down.

Planning and executing on the identical 2 week cadence not works in rising firms.

– CTO, Feedzai

Groups had been busy, whereas enterprise items didn’t get what they need. There have been scrum and dash metrics however no huge image visibility. Nobody may reply these 3 primary questions with out some effort of digging:

  • What options will we launch subsequent month? Why?
  • What does it take so as to add this vital function within the coming launch? 
  • Which crew and expertise do we have to rent subsequent? How can we resolve?

We additionally had gaps and misunderstandings between varied departments, e.g. Product, Advertising, Gross sales, and Help as there wasn’t an end-to-end view of bringing the product to the arms of shoppers.

The Fundamentals

Throughout my first 2 months, I constructed an end-to-end PDLC course of (Product Growth Life Cycle) from thought consumption and alignment to strategic prioritization, agile improvement, and go-to-market. 

To help these processes, I reconfigured Jira, instituted quarterly and rolling roadmap planning and monitoring cadences, and constructed 4 spreadsheets to handle concepts, product planning, resourcing eventualities, crew project, and rolling planning (present interval execution and subsequent interval discovery in parallel).

I made these modifications fairly rapidly, as Feedzai was the 4th progress firm I went via this kind of transformation with. There have been some slight tweaks partnering with product and engineering groups, after all.

The framework, Jira optimization, and a collection of spreadsheets enabled us to plan strategically, stream via to execution, and alter our plan when new issues come to our roadmap. We may now join technique and execution however with lots of effort and meticulous record-keeping and syncing by product managers, engineering managers, and Challenge managers/ scrum masters. On common, every spent 2 or extra days per week on updating spreadsheets, syncing knowledge in numerous instruments, and writing varied standing updates.

Whereas this sounds difficult, it’s not fairly distinctive.

We Wanted a Higher Device

A rising firm wants to regulate focus ceaselessly – each on the product entrance in addition to the crew and useful resource entrance. This requires general visibility, and the power to re-align initiatives and sources rapidly to reply to modifications.

Nevertheless, planning is painful. It takes lots of time to iterate via varied roadmap choices throughout the constraint of sources, timeline, and dependencies (see Construct A Higher Execution Roadmap). This will get exponentially extra advanced when the corporate will get greater. If a function requires 2–3 groups or expertise, and there are 10+ groups, the permutation mixture can get uncontrolled in a short time. At most, we do 2–3 iterations of roadmap choices and stop then. We merely run out of power and time to seek out the most effective mixture. And even when we’ve “locked down” the upcoming roadmap (subsequent month or quarter), issues change… and the ache will begin once more.

Whereas many firms apply huge image planning (join technique and execution) to enhance agile execution, the way in which we handle this course of has not modified for 20 years.

Spreadsheet + conferences + presentation continues to be how most groups join the dots between technique and execution.

The Lightbulb Second

Within the previous 3 years, I’ve been on a number of instrument hunts, tried and used dozens of roadmap and undertaking portfolio instruments, together with Aha!, Portfolio for Jira, Roadmunk, Product Plan, Airtable, Trello (on steroids), Smartsheet, Asana, Monday (again then it was referred to as Dapulse) and even “old fashioned” instruments like Planview and Readability (CA PPM). I additionally did many interviews with many Product, PMO, and engineering leaders. There was no fashionable instrument to attach technique and execution and allow cross-functional collaboration.

When 2 engineering leaders from 2 totally different firms reached out for recommendations on a “higher spreadsheet” to handle their roadmaps and sources… I noticed they didn’t want a greater spreadsheet, they wanted an clever system to attach technique and execution and help iterative planning to reply to modifications rapidly.

I made a decision to construct one – That is the beginning of Dragonboat – the good, full, and Responsive Product Portfolio platform to assist firms construct higher merchandise and groups.

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