Whether your product team has had trouble recruiting and hiring a senior Product Manager, doesn’t need a full-time resource yet, or needs specialized expertise to accomplish a business goal, hiring a contract Product Manager can be a great solution.
A contract Agile Product Manager can course correct a team that has been churning on a product challenge, improve the efficiency of backlog prioritization and refinement, and increase the clarity of work to be done to decrease bugs or development iteration needed. They can also bring in an outside perspective and product expertise while demonstrating Agile team best practices and leaving an in-house team better than they were before, even if only a short-term engagement to fill a temporary gap.
There are a few common scenarios we see when teams start considering hiring an embedded PM, take a look:
- You have a product leader, but lack a day-to-day product owner and aren’t ready to hire someone full-time.
- Your team needs immediate help, but you’ve struggled to find a good full-time hire.
- You have an in-house PM, but need outside expertise to add more resources to a busy team for an important upcoming product.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry, we’re here to help.
How agile is your current team?
“Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. Instead of betting everything on a "big bang" launch, an agile team delivers work in small, but consumable, increments. Requirements, plans, and results are evaluated continuously so teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.” Atlassian.com
We often find that product teams have adopted some aspects of Agile, such as working in two-week sprints and having meetings like Sprint Planning or Retrospectives but have not matured their Agile processes to think and react as a product team in an iterative, efficient way.
Agile methodologies offer the ability to react to feedback and market trends in real-time, as well as foster a collaborative environment across internal team members. This is important to staying competitive in fast changing markets. Oftentimes, clients come to us looking for outside expertise on an exciting idea they want to see come to life or an ambitious goal and a tight deadline.
With our highly specialized team of Agile Product Managers and UX / UI Designers, we’re able to help teams clarify their product vision, then plan and execute product design, outsourcing QA, and development work to accomplish product goals whether you’re working on a B2B SaaS product, B2C app, e-commerce site, or edtech experience. When hiring a contract Product Manager from Scenic West, you’re also gaining access to UX strategy, UX/UI designers and user researchers on-demand to complement the Product Manager when the needs arise. Combined with the perspective of having worked with dozens of product teams across various industries, we’re able to quickly identify needs and react with clear solutions to keep your team moving quickly to their product and business goals.
Working with a contract Product Manager is a great way to accelerate your team’s product design and development work while learning and absorbing best practices from an Agile expert who has worked with numerous product teams over the years.
How to onboard a contract product manager
We’ve been able to refine our onboarding process over the years so that it's quick and easy.. Our goal is to blend into your design and development team and start accelerating your product discovery, launch, or redesign, from day one. In some cases, when a client comes with an ambitious deadline, we do a knowledge transfer review and a kickoff meeting on day one, and a sprint refinement on day two. But, what will it look like for you? After a discovery call assessing your needs, we’ll pair you with a product owner from our team and get started on onboarding.
An overview of our onboarding process
We send new clients a checklist that helps us rapidly absorb industry knowledge and product information to understand upcoming goals and business drivers. Our checklists usually include key competitors, KPIs, and more.
We hold a 60-90 minute meeting to meet the broader team, align on goals, and create a game plan for upcoming days and weeks.
Agile team collaboration
After the kickoff meeting, we’ll dive into backlog grooming, identify discovery work needed, and quickly start driving a team towards goals. If we’re working with an in-house team, we get to know existing processes and mirror those where appropriate or make recommendations to optimize.
We consistently strive to set a standard for best practices for each meeting or Agile activity we facilitate, whether we’re writing user stories, facilitating a sprint retrospective, or analyzing user feedback.
Once we’ve worked through a successful onboarding process, we continue planning roadmaps and project timelines, setting weekly short-term goals, as well as long-term milestones based on project needs, customer feedback as well as insight from stakeholders.