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Unlocking Success in Core Internal Product Management

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In this article, we invite you to explore one of the standout presentations of the Product Weekend event that emerged from one of our Blippers - Margarida Brandão, Lead Product Manager, about “Managing Core Internal Products”.

 

Product Weekend Hosted at Blip 

Our company recently played host to a transformative Product Weekend and became the epicentre of Product knowledge, welcoming presenters from various tech powerhouses to contribute with their unique perspectives and skill sets. It was the second edition of the event in Porto and we had the honour of being part of this event that aims to help young Product Managers learn from experienced experts and peers, build strong relationships and boost their careers. The event showcased our commitment to fostering cross-industry collaboration but also highlighted our dedication to providing a conducive platform for meaningful discussions and synergy within the community.

 

ProductWeekend

 

Deep Dive on Managing Core Internal Products

Margarida's presentation delved into the exciting realm of managing trading products within the gaming and betting industry, with insights that illuminated the intersection of technology and entertainment. The atmosphere was focused on the importance of supporting internal products, that are the base of business, and on having a product-focused mindset, regardless of the area.

 

Defining Trading

Trading, within the context of our operations, goes beyond the mere pursuit of aspirational business outcomes. It is a multifaceted approach that places paramount importance on both supporting ambitious business results and prioritising the ultimate end-user experience. In this intricate framework, our focus is distinctly directed towards enhancing the experience for our internal customers, namely the Traders. By aligning our efforts with the needs and aspirations of these key stakeholders, we aim to create an environment where optimal trading activities thrive, fostering a symbiotic relationship between our business goals and the satisfaction of our internal customers.

 

 

The Road to Global Trading Team

Integration of PPB and SBG Brands for Global Trading:

In a strategic move, the Risk and Trading products, integral to the operations of all global brands, were predominantly housed within our Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) and Sky Betting and Gaming (SBG) brands. Recognising the synergies and collective strengths of these entities, the Global Trading Team was conceived. This innovative approach involved uniting the expertise and offerings of the PPB and SBG teams, harnessing the comprehensive suite of products they individually possessed. By consolidating these resources and fostering collaboration, the establishment of the Global Trading Team aimed to create a unified and robust platform that could effectively serve the diverse needs of all global brands. 

Embracing Innovation:

In the quest to distinguish themselves and carve a unique identity, the recently established team opted for an unconventional and innovative operational methodology. Faced with the complexities of managing multiple brands and an increased scope of responsibilities, the challenges they encountered were more formidable than ever before. 

New Product Lifecycle Approach:

This forward-thinking team challenged the conventional approach to product management. Instead of adhering to the traditional project-based model dictated by senior management priorities, they shifted their focus towards a holistic perspective on the complete product lifecycle. This distinctive approach involved taking ownership of the entire product journey, from inception to delivery, marking a departure from the conventional project-centric mindset. By concentrating on the full product lifecycle, the team aimed to foster a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability, aligning their strategies with a more comprehensive and forward-looking product management philosophy.

 

 

Guiding Principles

Autonomy and Ownership:

Product-focused teams are granted autonomy to take ownership of their responsibilities, understanding their objectives and having the authority to determine the subsequent steps. Emphasising cycles of building, measuring, and learning, these teams cultivate trust with leadership by prioritising transparency in their actions.

Three Perspectives for Optimal Collaboration:

The synergy of product, engineering, and delivery perspectives is the sweet spot for effective teamwork. Ensuring continuous representation from these three facets maximises the overall value delivered by fostering a comprehensive and collaborative approach to decision-making.

VMOST and OKRs for Effective Communication:

Employing VMOST (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics) and OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) serves as a robust communication strategy. Establishing a single source of truth for the team's strategy and value streams, these frameworks provide clarity and coherence, helping make sense of both small and significant tasks through the alignment with cascading objectives. 

 

MargaridaBrandaPresentation

 

Lessons Learned 

Developing a genuine product mindset is a gradual process that demands dedication and perseverance. However, the rewards become apparent as interactions with stakeholders and leadership become more engaging and fruitful. In situations where dependencies between teams are unavoidable, fostering alignment and collaboration can be achieved by sharing OKRs across teams. This collaborative approach helps in promoting a unified goal and streamlining efforts. Moreover, prioritising the optimisation of product value necessitates addressing internal issues first, akin to cleaning the house before expecting optimal outcomes. This foundational step ensures a solid base for product-focused initiatives and enhances the overall effectiveness of the product development process. 

 

Challenges 

These challenges come up in managing Trading products or any kind of internal product. 

  • Avoiding Disruption to Critical Processes: We oversee products that constitute the core of our business and serve as the bedrock for Flutter, rather than being merely attractive features for end users that may not succeed. Consequently, we cannot afford to introduce issues, making it challenging for product teams to experiment and innovate. 
  • Data Visibility Troubles: This area has suffered from insufficient investment due to the internal nature of our products. Our struggle lies in understanding how our products are utilised and their performance due to a lack of data. We are actively working to rectify this situation. 
  • UX in the Backseat: Another neglected area is the lack of investment in User Experience and User Interface design, primarily because our products are internal tools essential for users to perform their tasks. The consequence is disjointed user journeys that impact productivity. Our current focus is on addressing and improving this aspect. 
  • A/B Testing Limitations: Traditional product management tools like A/B testing are impractical for us, demanding thousands of users when we only have a few hundred. This limitation hampers our ability to experiment and conduct statistical analysis, leading us to heavily rely on qualitative feedback, which is not always sufficient. 
  • Unseen Impacts in a Complex Chain: Being part of an intricate chain of products and systems, it is challenging to discern the impact of the changes we implement due to the sheer volume of activities. Additionally, our influence on revenue is not always direct, making it difficult to precisely estimate our impact. 
  • Resisting Change When It Works: Investment in areas such as redesigns, scalability, and stability often take a backseat, as the challenge lies in prioritising these initiatives. The mindset of "if it's working, why change it?" prevails, adding another layer of complexity to our investment decisions. 

 

ProductWeekendRoundTable

 

Opportunities That Come From Challenges 

Navigating challenges presents unique opportunities within this intriguing domain, surpassing the complexity of conventional e-commerce. The product operates on an extraordinary scale, bringing about substantial impact and, consequently, introducing its own set of challenges that contribute to the excitement of the job. Engaging directly with users offers the chance to delve into their perspectives, inquire about their experiences, validate ideas, and gain profound insights into the product's usage. This direct interaction serves as a valuable source of learning and adaptation. Furthermore, the dynamic landscape provides ample opportunities to drive change and foster innovation, allowing individuals to play a pivotal role in shaping the future trajectory of the product. 

 

Key Insights 

Each product domain is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all framework: The approach to product management must be tailored to fit the specific nuances of our business area, customers, and organisational structure. Numerous frameworks and tools exist, and experimentation is acceptable; it's crucial to try different approaches and discard them if they do not align with the intended goals. 

Making decisions based on data is crucial for success: While progress can be achieved without data, incorporating it into the decision-making process enhances the potential for more significant accomplishments and continuous learning. Therefore, data should be a central element in effective product management. 

Understanding your customer is paramount: Identifying and prioritising primary customers amid the myriad voices within a complex organisation is essential. Despite the various perspectives, customers inherently comprehend their needs, making it imperative to prioritise their insights and preferences. 

Product Managers possess a unique opportunity to drive change: Their ability to grasp the broader picture, think strategically and resourcefully, and establish meaningful relationships positions them as catalysts for progress within an organisation.

 

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