How to Structure Your Consumer Facing Product Team

I’ve been asked a fair amount, how should product management be structured at my organization or startup?

There’s not a perfect answer, but there are some principles.

Guiding Principles

Any good product management structure should have the following characteristics:
  • There’s a singular person (a CPO, VP of Product, CEO, Head of Product) leading the organization responsible for setting direction, vision, customer focus, and metric focus
  • Each of the product owners should have tightly focused areas of interconnected responsibility. In the majority of cases, it’s easiest if each PM has 1 or 2 key metrics that they are focused on.
  • When combined together, moving these metrics advances the company towards the product vision and increases the success of the company. If you move all your metrics up and the right and you aren’t improving as a business, it’s time to pick new metrics
  • It should be obvious and apparent what area each product owner runs, what metrics they are responsible for, and how it impacts the business. If you have a PM working on special projects that don’t advance your startup, it’s time to question the purpose of the role (and you might need to fire the person if they can’t be repurposed)
  • Product organizations are adaptable. As the business evolves, they need to grow and evolve with it, either to tackle new areas of the business or to fix problems in existing areas.

What follows are different examples of how you can think about structuring your product organization.

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