In this ProductTank London talk, João Craveiro, Lead Product Manager at Farfetch, provides some tips on how product managers can turn internal-facing products into products that are just as well-loved as the crown-jewel customer-facing products.
Watch the video to see his talk in full or read on for an overview of his key points:
- But it’s just internal-facing, right?
- Is it fair to call internal-facing products, products?
- Creating a customer-enabling product
But it’s just internal-facing, right?
Many companies don’t treat internal-facing products with the same attention as they do customer-facing products. However, that’s only until it degrades your customers’ experience, drives your users mad, or someone makes a mistake.
Bad internal products can become customer-facing problems while good internal products help customers. João explains that it is better to call internal products customer-enabling products instead.
Is it fair to call internal-facing products, products?
Sometimes internal-facing products aren’t classed as products, but the reality is a product only needs to have certain characteristics. A product needs to be:
- Valuable: Allowing teams to achieve business goals in exchange for delivering value to the customer.
- Usable: Product managers need to find the user experience that matches the user’s Job to Be Done and deliver the experience.
- Feasible: Product teams need to ask, can we build (and maintain) this product with available technology and cost compatible with business goals?
The vision and strategy of an internal-facing product don’t exist in a void. Product managers should establish a golden thread that takes you from your product capabilities through OKRs, product KPIs, company KPIs and company goals to the overarching goal.
Creating a customer-enabling product
When you’re creating an internal-facing product, it needs to have a solid team. This team needs to be cross-functional, mission-driven, and have been working together for long enough to make a difference. Also, everyone on the team should be product-oriented.
Many product managers assume that because a product is internal that you already have a captive user base. The truth is, not really. Remember that these users are human, and you need to treat them as such by being fair end ethical. Also, as the product manager, make an effort to meet your users because they’re already close to you. If they aren’t, go and meet them and take your team with you.
High-interest stakeholders can be your best allies and are very much interested in the product’s success, whether they are your users or bosses. Users can generate more attention and champion products, while your bosses can advocate for more resources. However, you should also be aware that stakeholders are juggling various priorities. To aid them in prioritizing your product, you should strive to keep them informed with data.
On the other hand, product managers should also take note of low-interest stakeholders. These stakeholders can impact the product, but they may have bigger fish to fry and cannot fully commit their attention to your product. As the product manager, you can counteract this by blowing your trumpet and garnering more attention for your team and product to increase visibility and credibility.
The key takeaways from this talk are that internal-facing products can become externally visible problems when things go wrong, and therefore, they shouldn’t be treated like second-class citizens.
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