5 Easy Steps to Educate and Empower Internal Teams for Product Success

29 Oct

I have built this amazing product that I think is going to change the world. I have interviewed customers as part of the discovery process, built an awesome MVP, and have created the right tools to clearly articulate what my product is and the value that it brings. So, how do I fire up the rest of my organization so that they have as much enthusiasm for my product as I do?

I empower them.

But what does that mean exactly? First off, I will tell you what it does not mean. It is not about giving the developers, testers, marketers, sales and support a bunch of materials, and me micro-managing every detail across every organization. Not only will that be totally exhausting for me, but it will have detrimental effects.

Hence, what are the 5 easy steps to empower my internal teams?

Clearly define my mission statement and objective of my new product.

“Our new software product provides employees easy and intuitive ways to communicate by automating the management of multiple phone numbers and phone devices, so that they become more productive.”

Be transparent.

I have open discussions to provide all of the relevant background information as to why we are all marching towards this mission. I talk about the customer discussions that I have participated in, especially the specific pain points they are experiencing. This context allows them to envision the real difference our product is making in our customers’ lives and why we are in this business.

Arm them with the elevator pitch.

I am definitely a short-and-to-the-point kind of person (even Twitter makes you state your point in just 140 characters!) Therefore, I arm them with the elevator pitch and 3 value propositions / use cases. Then, I make sure to back that up with lots of supporting documentation for more detail when needed.

Be ready to support customer discussions.

I always make myself available to support the internal teams. I should expect to be called in A LOT during the initial launch of my product because hey, I am the expert, and can talk about this stuff in my sleep. I need to continually have my co-workers’ backs and provide assistance when they need help or guidance.

Quickly resolve any technical issues that come up.

Our customers are the key to our success and we want them to be super happy with our product. We want them to be evangelists for the product and preach about how awesome it is. The only way to do that is to immediately respond to issues so that we have a robust product that our entire team is proud of.

By doing these 5 things, I am essentially providing what we are trying to accomplish and why to the teams and then they get to determine how we get there. By granting them the authority to figure out how to accomplish the mission statement, and entrusting them, they feel a sense of ownership. That is when amazing things happen and the entire team really shines.

Are you ready to try it yourself? Follow these steps and then get out of the way and let them do their job. You will be astonished at the great things that will happen.

This blog is 4th in the “How to Launch a Product” series that includes: What is Product Discovery, Iterating on the MVP, Creating the Right Product Marketing Materials, beta testing, Educating and Empowering Internal Teams (this one!), Declaring Official “Product”, and Scaling & Growth. In the meantime, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Cheers.

Deirdre Clarke
Deirdre Clarke
dclarke@bandwidth.com

Deirdre is currently a Director of Product Management at Bandwidth in Raleigh, North Carolina. She started her career as a software developer, after graduating from Rutgers with a degree in Computer Science. Before moving to Bandwidth in 2014, she was at Motorola for 18 years where she started as a software developer and then made the leap to more of a business role in product management in 2007. In this new role, she really flourished and today still enjoys creating new software products and features to help solve problems for her customers. At Bandwidth, she spearheads new software products in the call tracking and anonymous calling arenas. In her spare time, she is a deeply involved in the Triangle TechGirlz program, helping to ignite young girls' interest in future tech careers.

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