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How to build excellent products in the age of remote work

How to build excellent products in the age of remote work

COVID-19 has forced product managers to suddenly figure out how to work remotely. In many cases, it has not been an easy transition for this multifaceted and cross-functional role. Throw the swiftly shifting market landscape and changing user needs into the mix, and you can see how product managers have their hands full. 

Yet, companies are now uniquely positioned to build excellent, meaningful products that customers truly need. And product managers have the chance to win more say in how and where they work by showing that excellent products can be built remotely. 

To properly seize these opportunities, product managers must let go of the sales- and engineering-led approaches of yesterday and embrace a customer-driven strategy. They also need to build a strong foundation of processes that can help overcome the key challenges of remote product management during a downturn—retaining existing customers, adapting your product strategy, and keeping your team aligned and collaborating effectively

In our new ebook — a guide to building excellent products in the age of remote work — we detail each pain point and outline solutions. Hiten Shah, remote-work expert and founder and CEO of document tool FYI, then answers FAQs from the product management community about their experience working remotely. 

Here’s what’s in store. 

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What product teams can do to retain customers in times of crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic, like any crisis, makes the importance of retaining existing customers immediately clear. 

By being customer-driven and product-led, you uncover users’ needs every step of the way and use them to guide your efforts. You prioritize based on the needs of your target customers while working with your team to define the optimal solution for those needs, perhaps something they never even thought to ask for. And you ensure that your work aligns with a broader strategy that will help you achieve your long-term vision.

This customer-centric approach is key to delivering more product value in less time as customers scrutinize business expenses and  “trim the fat.” 

Define and stick to a product strategy suited for the remote era

Even before COVID-19, the writing was on the wall for product managers. The accelerated pace of technology markets, the new industries being disrupted by digital transformation, and rising customer expectations all screamed one thing: ship better products, faster. 

With COVID-19, product managers are experiencing even more pressure to get the right products to market—with fewer costly iterations. As the likelihood of churn increases and sales pipelines narrow or get pushed out, there is no longer room for error.

For many companies, this means reforecasting their roadmap to mitigate risk, reduce costs, and make bets on new areas of growth for their product. Obviously, this is easier said than done. You first need to have a strong, foundational product strategy in place to help teams focus on key objectives and seize new opportunities. Our ebook details the building blocks needed to build such a strategy.

Optimizing remote product management workflows and collaboration

Each day, product managers collaborate with multiple cross-functional team members, use a variety of tools to increase efficiency, and communicate, communicate, and communicate some more. 

With so many concurrent workflows and a wealth of information at stake, product managers need to adapt their processes to a remote work environment and make sure that the most important information about where the product is headed and why is accessible to everyone.  

Dive into our ebook for tips and tricks to help product managers work better and more productively in a fully remote environment.

Hiten Shah answers FAQs about remote product management

Hiten Shah is a remote work expert and the co-founder and CEO of document tool FYI.

Over the last month, we’ve received numerous messages from members of the product management community working remotely for the first time and looking for advice. Tapping into his 17 years of experience building products with distributed teams, Hiten answers FAQs like:

  • What are some different types of tools that product managers can leverage in a remote work environment? 
  • How can product managers build and maintain relationships with their entire organization remotely?
  • What skills do product managers need to excel in a remote work environment?

. . . 

Intrigued? We have so much more in store.

Download the full ebook, Building excellent products in the age of remote work.

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