In a big company, you could find a central digital product team comprising of a few product owners, UI/UX specialists, probably business analysts, product managers, data analysts, and the head of / director product. Their core function is to serve the products & services for their end clients. In order to do so, they would have to align themselves with the business units that are closely related to the product/service offerings.
For e.g. in case of government digital services, you will have a central product team that will have smaller product teams aligned with its departments and core services like Filing income tax, Check your state pension, Property & land management, Apply for driving license etc.
In case of private sector organisation like an online market research company that covers various sectors like retail, finance, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals etc., you will have individual teams aligned with the core products of these business units.
In this kind of a set-up, the Central product team has two primary responsibilities:
1) The first responsibility it to continuously evolve & improve the product management function – As the central product management team, they would be working on various common activities that benefit the overall business like:
- Competitor research
- Aligning with company’s mission & vision
- Setting up team’s OKRs (Objective & key results) & KRAs (Key result areas)
- Defining team’s quarterly goals
- Performing user research on cross product/services
- Defining and implementing best practices across the product function
2) The second responsibility is to serve the business unit or the product/service you will be taking care of as a dedicated team. As per Agile best practices, you would have one team dedicated to one product without any percentage sharing of resources across products. This is not efficient in the long-run and hampers your ability to plan, execute & forecast. Once the teams are aligned with the product/service, then they operate in the normal Agile environment while working through the product development lifecycle.
Any product-specific idea, tasks etc. get handled by the PO managing that product. While any strategic, cross-product ideas & tasks would be handled by the central product management team. These would be the tasks that cut across various products, has an effect on multiple products & stakeholders, or will benefit most of the products under the umbrella.
If you have any question on digital product management – be it related to career, expertise, skills, projects, or ‘How to’ stuff, drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would be happy to help.