HoP: Head of Product


HoP: Head of Product

"We are a well oiled machine with happy customers, a happy team and good project financials."

  • Identify key improvements that the Product Team would benefit from, prototype these in small circles, suggest them and trial them with the wider team, gather feedback, and eventually formalised them into a gameplan and roll them out.

  • Escalate critical project decisions to the CEO. A critical decision is one like firing the customer, drastically departing from our minimal margin, bringing in outside help, etc.

  • Plan holidays of the PM Group. See https://9y-media.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/9RPBK/pages/1242464272

  • Actively and immediately warn Management when expected project margin dips below the low watermark

    • project margin low watermark: 30% gross margin. Defined as profit/revenue. This is not a target, so don't treat it as such, it's a red alert line.

  • Prepare a report of all customer project Activities, and present a short update at each Management meeting. This can be a quick flash of a dashboard with commentary level-of-detail that is up to your discretion. It must include for each project:

    • projected gross margin

    • current customer satisfaction

    • current team happiness

    • traffic light style project health. See IBM's 7 keys.

  • Run the resource planning and Team Jour Fixe meetings. And drive improvements to this process.

  • Make sure that the project ALs are included in the Resource Planning and Product Team JF meetings.

  • Ensure that we have signed offers when we start projects.

  • Notify HoF when a project is started. Explain the expected payment milestones (how much, when). Update HoF every time your prediction changes. See Customer Invoicing Protocol for details.

  • The Sales Team is not responsible for informing the HoF about new projects. That's your job. Do this so that the correct cost centers and cashflow projections can be maintained.

  • Follow Incoming Invoices Protocol.

  • Follow Customer Invoicing Protocol.

  • Ensure that Squads are sticking to the the Product Team’s processes . There should be exactly 1.00 documented processes that is in force, and there should be 1.50 processes that are being practised in the wild. The 0.5 extra are natural mutations and experiments that we are encourage to try. These mutations should be evaluated and introduced into the mainline process, or abandoned, as appropriate. You are responsible for designing this process, updating it, and making sure that everyone understands it. To achieve this you'll want to schedule debrief sessions with the misfits (a compliment) regularly and gain insight into what they did.

  • Ensure that project conclusion ceremonies such as the "lessons learnt session" are being performed by the Activity Leads. When it makes sense, invite the rest of the Product Team or even the entire Core Team for a presentation so that we can collectively get smarter.

  • You are responsible for maintenance and healthy operation of the tools that the Team needs. This includes PM tools like Jira, Confluence, Slack, etc.

    • You are encouraged to delegate the task of ensuring that the Team has the appropriate technical tools (e.g. Bitbucket, continuous integration, crash reporting, etc.) and that they're kept in working order to the CTO, however you are still ultimately responsible that this gets done well.

    • You are similarly encouraged to delegate the task for design tools to the HoD. Similarly, you are also still ultimately responsible that this gets done well.

    • You are not responsible for tools of the Sales, Marketing and Finance Teams. Though you are encouraged to collaborate with them to minimise entropy.

  • Plan resources for the Product Team.

  • Since all staffing requests for members of your Team go through you, that implies that you need to maintain an up to date resource plan of your members in our resource planning tool.

  • Be willing to provisionally block resources for upcoming Activities that aren't final yet (this could be a customer project in the sales process, or an internal project that's still being planned). Your colleagues may need to make some commitments and will need to be able to rely on resources from your member if the project gets the green light, even if it's still not yet final. Work with them.

  • You are responsible for communicating priorities to the entire Product Team. The Product Team will be mobilised into many Activity Squads, and some people will inevitably be assigned to multiple Squads at the same time. You need keep the overview of which projects have highest priority, and ensure that people know this. Also when priorities change.

  • Drive improvements to the resource planning process.

  • Inform external contractors when we want to scale up or scale down with them. Especially if it's scaling down, then tell them as early as you can. You may delegate this to others, if they have better relationships, but it’s your responsibility. Out of scope: Vendor selection, price negotiation, and co, see: https://9y-media.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/9RPBK/pages/431751345

  • Ensure that projects have a PM assigned.


  • You are responsible for making sure that there exists a knowledge base where Activity Leads can record lessons learnt. Activity Leads are responsible for setting up these meetings and gathering the notes, but you need to make sure that they have a centralised place to put them, and that they do it.

  • When Activity Leads report that customer satisfaction has fallen, ensure that a short entry is added into our knowledge base along with a short interpretation of why it happened. You may delegate this to the Activity Lead, but you are responsible that it gets done.

  • Archive projects on Jira when they're dead.




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