i spent a couple years working for pivotal, who taught "platform as product" including embedding a product manager in the product team, creating a "brand", etc. and a couple years before that on a platform team that embraced lean product thinking (each group was treated as a startup, and challenged with doing their own "user research" to determine the needs of other teams and what "products" to offer). i'm not a PM, but that all instilled tremendous respect for "product thinking" and i think that without this success is very difficult...not just in platform, but technology in general. there are always shiny things to distract ourselves with, figuring out what is truly valuable and useful to "customers" (who quite often do not know what they need until they see it) takes continuous effort.
04/01/2022, 12:20 AM
💯 I know from experience that it's super easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know what the end user wants and staying heads down until you finish it…only to pop up to find you built the wrong thing, or the right thing but in the wrong way.
Fully agree. I believe the emergence of product thinking in the platform space is a sign of IT/Ops evolving to stay relevant. Given that speed is key for most organisations, as IT/Ops you must be customer-centric and constantly aim to deliver value for your users or risk becoming irrelevant (instead of focusing on driving cost down). Engineering teams have more power nowadays and will choose the product that fits their needs best. It takes product thinking to run a platform service that fits current user needs and offers an enticing product vision. Having ‘adoption’ and ‘customer satisfaction’ as key metrics further helps strengthen the product aspect of a platform service.
04/01/2022, 4:01 PM
You know Artium?
04/02/2022, 2:17 PM
As a relatively new platform lead, I struggle a lot to introduce this way of thinking. Even in my own team!! We miss this PM figure and the responsibility is lost. Completely agree @Mike Hoskins 👍
04/03/2022, 8:26 AM
We've been following this path at AppsFlyer for the past couple of years and couldn't agree more. The devil is in the details of course. Implementing this mindset is quite challenging and it requires leaning more towards strategic thinking vs. the tactical mindset many people in the field are immersed in. It's about understanding the pain we're here to address and avoid focusing on specific technologies.
One of the biggest challenges we're facing is that our customers (internal engineers) are not great at articulating their core needs while we are not necessarily great at asking the right questions. In many cases they just ask for faster horses instead of cars or spaceships.