Eighteen months ago, we decided to revolutionize our Product & Engineering organization. We moved from teams that were associated with technical platforms (iOS, Windows, web, etc.) towards “feature teams.” This was a big change for us, but it was necessary to allow us to support our growth and our business.
Four months ago, Product & Engineering decided to change again. Taking into account all the learning from the first year of operating within that new framework of feature teams, we moved to a concept of Mission Teams.
What are Mission Teams?
A picture is worth a thousand words, so:
The problem with our previous business-oriented feature teams was that the product scope was too broad. It was hard to build a focused product vision and roadmap, and rally the team behind it.
On the contrary, Mission Teams have a strong objective tied directly to an OKR. This OKR is not time bound, but Missions are revisited quarterly and we either continue, change, or disband. This helps product managers build toward that target, facilitates getting the team on board, and most of all, provides a lot of focus.
In the context of that Mission framework, we have also decided to drop the formal roadmap we used to have. Each Mission is now defined via a prioritization framework that documents the experiments and initiatives the team wants to run.
The goal of each experiment is to generate value through either:
- Adoption: achieving customer value
- Learning: insights from the customer
- Feedback: internal discovery from Tech, Product…
- Risk management: reducing risk and unknowns
Progress is tracked through a Sprint dashboard that Product Owners update along the way.
From Product Vision (What are the big market shifts and opportunities? Who should we target and with what value proposition?) to Mission Team experimentation (How do we jump-start our experimentation with market and consumer insights?), it is important to balance each and find ways of solving for both ends of the spectrum: incrementally improving on known problems vs. identifying the problems to solve.
You will find a lot more details about our move to Mission Teams in this slideshow (click to open). We are still experimenting with Mission Teams, but stay tuned for future updates.
Feel free to provide comments and share your own practices below!