A product is only as good as its foundation. In this ProductTank London talk, John Wood, Group Product Manager at GoCardless, explains how internal platforms can make or break business success. He explains how you can get more buy-in for internal platform teams by building internal platforms and shares four important mindsets for internal product teams to achieve that.
Watch the video to see John’s talk in full, or read on for an overview of his key points:
- Treat internal customers as paying SaaS customers
- Design data first platforms
- Design for unimagined future use cases
- Platform teams – lead long-term strategy
Treat internal customers as paying SaaS customers
Internal product management is odd because product managers often know their customers and are both producers and consumers of the product themselves. Leadership can also force adoption of the product even if they don’t want to in the name of efficiency.
To counteract this, John suggests making adoption a choice. Doing this raises the bar as internal product teams are competing with external products and asking customers to hold them to those standards. Listen to this podcast on managing internal tools with Emily Patterson.
Design data first platforms
Due to the current technology revolution, data is more important than ever. To be successful as a company, you need a data-first mindset and internal platforms are the guardians of data quality to support high-quality predictions and insights.
By design, a platform should govern data collection to minimize transformations and cleaning of data and democratize the creation of new data so teams can get the answers they need fast.
Design for unimagined future use cases
Focus on providing accessible tools with a universal application rather than a product-specific application. This way, you can avoid having to re-platform in the future. Therefore, a good internal team should consider data storage, the delivery pipeline (e.g., CI/CD), performance, and code reuse. Focusing on these foundational capabilities enables you to avoid technical debt and wasted resources.
Platform teams – lead long-term strategy
Internal platform teams are often placed in reactive mode and are under-resourced. However, they can enter into a proactive state that benefits the company by leading from the front. How can platform teams do this? By providing strategic thought leadership at the organizational level, interviewing prospective users to test and create demand for platform capabilities before they are needed, and making platform capabilities easy to adopt.
The key takeaways from this talk are that having platform teams lead may be a bold strategy, but the entire organization will benefit by doing this and following the other traits of best-in-class teams.
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