“I Have No Idea What Product Is Working On”

Giff Constable product management

“I have no idea what the product team is working on!” Have you ever heard that? I did, on a recurring basis, when running product and engineering at the fintech company Axial. But hold your horses! I did lots of externalization! I was writing a bi-weekly (and sometimes weekly) internal blog post where I updated everyone on metrics, work-in-progress, and …

Product Q&A: Additional questions

Giff Constable product management, startups

First Round Capital has a wonderful online network, basically a white-labelled quora, for people at their portfolio companies. I answer questions now and then. Here are some of the Q’s I have answered over the last year or two: What are best practices for including and leveraging the design team in your product development process? I boil it down to …

Product Q&A: Creating an inclusive culture for a remote team

Giff Constable product management

First Round Capital has a wonderful online network, basically a white-labelled quora, for people at their portfolio companies. While I was with their portfolio company Axial, I answered a number of questions. I’m sharing some of the Q’s I have answered over the last year or two: How does your company create an inclusive culture for those that work remote? …

Product Q&A: That first VP of Product hire

Giff Constable product management

First Round Capital has a wonderful online network, basically a white-labelled quora, for people at their portfolio companies. While I was with their portfolio company Axial, I answered a number of questions. I’m sharing some of the Q’s I have answered over the last year or two: What do you look for in your first VP of Product or Head …

Product Q&A: PM paths for non-technical folks

Giff Constable product management

First Round Capital has a wonderful online network, basically a white-labelled quora, for people at their portfolio companies. While I was with their portfolio company Axial, I answered a number of questions. I’m sharing some of the Q’s I have answered over the last year or two: What career paths are there in the product world for non-technical product managers? …

Product Q&A: Building strong relationships with engineers

Giff Constable product management

First Round Capital has a wonderful online network, basically a white-labelled quora, for people at their portfolio companies. While I was with their portfolio company Axial, I answered a number of questions. I’m sharing some of the Q’s I have answered over the last year or two: As a Product Manager or Leader, What tips can you share to build …

Product Q&A: managing external expectations of the product roadmap

Giff Constable product management

First Round Capital has a wonderful online network, basically a white-labelled quora, for people at their portfolio companies. While I was with their portfolio company Axial, I answered a number of questions. I’m sharing some of the Q’s I have answered over the last year or two: How do you best manage expectations/predictability when interfacing (roadmap, status updates, etc) with …

How we externalize product progress to the company, and defuse politics along the way

Giff Constable product management, startups

It’s depressing how many companies accuse their product and engineering teams of being a black box. The accusations aren’t always fair, but they usually stem from two root problems: 1. not enough collaboration, and 2. not enough externalization. Here’s how we are tackling those two things at our company. Collaboration: We run a bi-weeky “qualitative research” meeting where anyone in …

Rebuilding Trust in a Product Organization

Giff Constable management, product management, startups

When I first joined Axial, the product and engineering side of things was pretty broken, and there was a serious absence of trust. The team didn’t trust leadership, and leadership didn’t trust the team. The rest of the business — actually, even worse, customers — didn’t trust product/engineering. The culprits may sound familiar to some of you: Features took months to ship, if they …

Defining our product & engineering team values at Axial

Giff Constable Axial, product management

The product and engineering team at Axial has undergone a lot of change in the last year or so. We survived a major (and fraught) re-architecture effort, we rebuilt the core recommendation/matching engine at the heart of the product, we’ve gone from shipping code every few months to shipping almost everyday, we’ve upped our qualitative research with customers, and we’ve …