Product Excellence Summit 2022: Oct 4th, 2022 — Online and in-person in San Francisco
For Fastly, the edge cloud platform that provides a content delivery network, internet security services, load balancing, video and streaming services, and serverless computing through its Compute@Edge offering, staying organized is key to success. Their product management team meets weekly to share what they’re working on, and monthly with the product marketing team to develop roll-out plans. The company also conducts quarterly business reviews with key customers. As Joe Hoffend, Senior Product Manager at Fastly, explained, teams strive to keep each other well-informed about their projects.
However, even with such open lines of communication, the volume of projects has become difficult to track as the company has grown quickly over the past several years. Which is what sent Fastly on a search for product management software. Joe said, “We received frequent questions from all around the company about when products and features will be released. Even with regular meetings, we still got pinged ad hoc frequently.”
Not long ago, each product manager at Fastly maintained a spreadsheet of customer feedback for their products. Other teams such as Account Management had them, too. While the company tried to cross-pollinate the lists to see what requests they had in common, the process created multiple views that had to be re-created over and over again. It was messy and difficult to manage. “None of the sheets got cross-pollinated in a frequent or easily repeatable way,” said Joe. “We wanted a single source of truth for feature requests so we could track them and also prioritize them.” That single source of truth was a primary need the team was looking for in a product management solution.
“We wanted a single source of truth for feature requests so we could track and prioritize them.”
In addition, Joe and his team wanted to be able to create different roadmap views for different audiences. “We wanted to have one for the product managers, one for executives, and one for the sales team and we didn’t want to have to recreate those over and over again,” he explained.
Before they could choose a new product management software for the company, Joe and his team needed buy-in. “At Fastly, we like to socialize ideas and make sure everyone’s comfortable. Some other companies just pick one and say ‘you have to use this now,’ but our goal was to really socialize it with the product management team and other stakeholders, like the design team, the docs team, and the growth team, and say ‘hey, would you use this?’”
When everyone said yes, Joe knew that he and his team were on the right track. “Productboard is as simple as a spreadsheet, but better,” he said. “Spreadsheets work, but don’t give you the flexibility and aren’t connected to everything that you need as a PM, like insights into features.” Each team at Fastly had a unique way they wanted to customize their use of the software, which Joe saw as a great reason to bring it on board.
“Spreadsheets work, but don’t give you the flexibility and aren’t connected to everything that you need as a PM, like insights into features.”
Joe said he and his team chose Productboard because “it was the perfect mix for what we needed. We also felt that they had the right team to continue to make products really great over time. We wanted to know that this product was going to last and it was going to continue to improve as well.”
One of Joe’s favorite features of Productboard right away was Insights. “I liked the way the insights can be assigned to the feature, and then you can have the scoring mechanism as well,” he said. He and his team have now developed an internal model of prioritizing features, which they use alongside Productboard’s Insights for Fastly’s user priorities. “It’s nice to have these views, because if you’ve got your scores lined up next to each other, you can easily get an idea of how important it is.”
In addition to Insights, Productboard’s roadmapping views are a popular feature with Fastly’s teams. Before Productboard, Joe explained, they had to create multiple roadmap views manually in PowerPoint, such as one for customers and another for leadership. It was a time-consuming and inefficient process. But now, Joe said, “with Productboard’s easy filtering and configuration, we can do that in minutes and then export to a PDF if needed, which is a big win for us.”
Fastly team members now create custom roadmap views in minutes, which has helped keep everyone informed. “When internal teams want to know when something is coming, they can just look at the roadmap we’ve created using Productboard. When we need to tweak the view for various groups, we adjust the filters to display the roadmap information however it’s needed.” Joe explained.
“When internal teams want to know when something is coming, they can just look at the roadmap we’ve created using productboard. When we need to tweak the view for various groups, we adjust the filters to display the roadmap information however it’s needed.”
Overall, the team at Fastly has been very pleased with Productboard. Joe summarized their experience with this: “The product is simple enough, but advanced enough at the same time.” Which is exactly what the Fastly team set out to find.
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