Bridging the Gap Between Product and Services

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Bridging the Gap Between Product and Services

At the start of Q1, we made some changes to increase collaboration and communication between Product and Services. There wasn’t anything necessarily wrong or in need of fixing (or so we thought), but continual innovation and process improvement is just part of our culture here at Sapper, so off we went.

PSA: This is a story so it will be longer -- but still sweet.

Our Product team has always been the best. Really, truly great. The only issue was that we never had the chance to consistently interact and take stock of each other’s priorities. Once we implemented a few easy changes, we saw our already fast-moving company get even faster. We watched ideas come to life in a matter of days, and we saw more participation and excitement in what was happening over there in Product-land that would ultimately help everyone in Services.

Probably the easiest change that was implemented was to add our VP of Product to our Services Stand-up at the start of each day. This 30 minute daily meeting was a chance to have all department heads in one place to align priorities and stay up to date with changes. When Product started joining this meeting, magic began to happen. If someone brought up wanting to look at data in a different way, Product was there creating reports we didn’t know were possible and saving everyone hours of bandwidth. After a while, more people in this meeting were able to have off-the-wall ideas that could actually be executed - fostering an environment of creative innovation and solutioning.

From this meeting, a totally new meeting was born: The Big Friday Meeting. It’s a once-a-week way to find out what is happening company-wide -- A time for each department to shout out their wins of the week and explain a bit more about what is coming down the pipeline. Everyone is invited, but the meeting is optional. It is also recorded and sent out to the company in the Monday Memo - making it accessible to every person on their own time.

Without fail, the most exciting part of the meeting is when Product shows the mockups and explains what changes have been made and why. That’s because they literally take feedback from our people and give it life!

This quarter we’ve been redesigning our Client Dashboard that will be used internally and externally.  Once rolled out, it will create more value for our clients and capture even more pertinent information in one place for all to see.

You can tell people are on board by watching the chat explode with excitement. This comes from the fact that Product didn't just dream up these ideas and iterations. In fact, many of the CSMs in attendance have had a personal hand in what the dashboard looks like and what is being implemented. They are part of a Taskforce who is working with the Product Team to better understand what is needed in design and experience based on client feedback and internal needs. Although the Taskforce is more involved in how this product is developed on a daily basis, there is also a Q&A session in every Big Friday meeting where any and all questions can be asked.

Since so many people have a hand in the game and are equally committed to the success of this new dashboard, we have seen increased collaboration, communication, and respect cross-departmentally. It has promoted employee engagement and authentically encouraged more feedback from all levels because it is clear that innovation can come from anywhere and everyone’s ideas are valued.

This is the closest we’ve ever worked with Product before and it’s really exciting to see how cohesive we’ve become by bridging that gap. If you think your Product and Services departments could work together more collaboratively, try implementing a few of these changes and see what a difference it can make in just a quarter.

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Feel free to reach out with any additional questions or to just connect on LinkedIn.

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