How are product teams approaching remote work and collaboration in 2021?
Avast aims to create a safer online world by providing advanced antivirus and network security solutions for businesses and personal users. Every month, the service protects more than 435 million people around the world from billions of cyber attacks.
Martin Svoboda is a Senior Product Manager for Avast’s SMB division, having rejoined the business in 2020. During his first stint at the company, Martin was the team’s only Product Manager and was solely responsible for planning and organizing business product updates.
Today, he is one of four SMB Product Managers brought in to develop one of Avast’s fastest growing markets. To be successful, the newly expanded team needed to collaborate effectively. But the exciting product development process relied on spreadsheets and JIRA, which made it difficult to coordinate new releases and collaborate on a strategic product roadmap.
“When I was the only Product Manager, it was easy to coordinate things,” explains Martin. “With four of us, we’ve had to develop new processes for working together. While we each have different responsibilities for the product, we need to cooperate on the strategic roadmap as well as managing Design and Engineering resources.”
The Product team decided to use Productboard as a shared platform for capturing new feature ideas and requests. With everything now in one place, it is finally possible to visualize the high-level roadmap and be more strategic about which initiatives to prioritize.
The team also adds Objective and Key Results to the platform, which makes it easier to see what’s most important and to track the success of each initiative. This new process has made the team’s decision-making more transparent and drives discussion about the evolution of Avast’s SMB security platform and services.
“I can look at Productboard and instantly see which features are on the roadmap,” Martin says. “It gives all the Product Managers the opportunity to question why a certain feature is a priority and better understand the overall value to our business thus better align and focus on common goals. Before Productboard, it was impossible for us to have this transparency and insight.”
Dealing with conflicting priorities from each of the different Product Managers has been an issue for Avast’s Design and Engineering teams who need to develop and implement their new feature ideas. The new Productboard process has streamlined these requests and made resource and workflow management much smoother.
The Product team plans to extend Productboard access, including to Avast’s leadership team who will benefit from more visibility into the latest product roadmap. Martin is also excited about adding Support and Sales teams to the platform.
“If a salesperson wants to know if and when we’re adding a specific feature, they will simply be able to look at the roadmap to find out,” he adds.
Martin acknowledges that the Product team has just reached “table stakes” in terms of process. More improvement is needed and Productboard is helping to drive this evolution.
Exploring the platform’s other features like Insights, Drivers and Effort often triggers high-level conversations on how to enhance the process even further in order for the team to scale its activities and collaborate more effectively with the wider business.
“When we talk about using a certain Productboard feature, we’re now digging deeper into what is the expected outcome rather than the output of that activity,” concludes Martin. “In the past, there was not a unified way of planning or prioritizing thus every PM did it his way. Productboard has produced a major improvement in how we collaborate to develop great new features that continue to protect our customers from threats.”
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