OutSystems is a B2B software platform that empowers businesses to quickly and easily build apps. With thousands of customers and counting, OutSystems is in the process of substantially growing its staff in order to meet increasing demand.
The enterprise technology company ended 2019 with almost 20 employees in their product management organization. At the beginning of 2020, they decided to separate the organization into an engineering division with a Chief Technology Officer as well as a product management division with a Vice President of Product. Although the groups have different reporting structures, they work closely together.
The company’s expansion continued in 2020, and OutSystems ended the year with 30 PMs and the goal of growing to 40 PMs by the end of 2021. While that fast pace of hiring and reorganizing is necessary to support growth, it also presents challenges to developing efficient processes that scale, such as a smooth onboarding process, for example.
With these challenges in mind, OutSystems created a product operations team to optimize those processes and increase efficiency. Director of Product Operations Anabela Cesário wanted to explore using new tools that could help. She found Productboard, and was excited about its potential to tightly define the product management process and improve cross-functional cooperation.
Here’s how the transition to Productboard has been a game-changer for OutSystems in leveling up their product management processes.
Before Productboard, OutSystem’s product team relied on a mix of tools, including Jira and Excel, but the team began to feel that those tools did not address the unique challenges of a product management organization.
“The engineering teams used Jira to manage backlogs, but we didn't have that perfect tool to manage roadmaps or product launches. We just had a huge, huge Excel spreadsheet with a lot of information.”
By 2020, Cesário and her colleagues were ready to begin the search for a dedicated product management tool. Not only did they have a good sense of their needs based on what pains they were currently experiencing, they were also growing quickly and wanted to make sure that a bigger team would be able to operate efficiently with the help of the best tools on the market.
They came up with a list of their top pain points that they wanted to solve, which included:
The team looked at both Productboard and Aha, but ultimately settled on Productboard as it allowed them to solve more of their team’s pain points.
One of the features that distinguished Productboard from its competitors was its Salesforce integration, which allows OutSystems to easily import customer companies and related customer data into Productboard. This allows them to perform customer segmentation in Productboard, based on revenue and other customer attributes, to see which features matter to which types of customers. Also crucial is the integration with Jira, which allows the engineering teams to continue working with minimal disruption, while the PM team manages their initiatives in Productboard.
To help scale the new product management processes supported by Productboard, Cesário and her colleagues developed a training program and set up regular meetings with the product management team. With their help, PMs are already fluent in using Productboard to define initiatives and objectives, prioritize them, and synchronize them in Jira to provide more context to their engineering partners.
Cesário is pleased that the product management team has been able to quickly acclimate to using Productboard. She also noted that the product’s ease of use combined with the team’s early successes have made them eager to ramp up their use of Productboard even further.
“So far, Productboard is very easy to use. Product managers here are highly motivated to use the tool.”
Next, the team will be focusing on the best ways to fully utilize Productboard’s roadmapping and insights functionality. Additionally, Cesário is currently working to get the engineering and product marketing teams to begin using Productboard in addition to the product management team.
As OutSystems continues to onboard new PMs, they’ve noticed another major advantage of using Productboard: the tool helps to lay out the product management workflow in a way that makes the process easy for new employees to grasp. That’s a major change from previous years, when the process was laid out in a PowerPoint with embedded links to multiple outside documents.
“Not only are we training new employees in Productboard, but we are also defining the product management process on top of it, and that makes a major difference. Now, it's easy for them to understand how we do product management at OutSystems.”
That simplicity has expedited the onboarding process for new hires, allowing them to become valuable team members in a shorter time frame.
As the OutSystems team continues to grow, Productboard looks forward to continuing to help them reach new heights.
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