Bridging the Gap Between Product and Services

While both our product team and services team are high-performing, we’ve never had the chance to consistently interact and take stock of each other’s priorities. But by implementing a few simple changes, our already fast-moving company became even faster.
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Continual innovation and process improvement are inherent aspects of the culture at Sapper. 

As such, it’s natural for us to review and revise our existing processes – even the ones that are performing. At the beginning of the year, we decided to revisit the relationship between our product and services teams. What started as a check-in led to an increase in collaboration and communication between departments. 

While both our product team and services team are high-performing, we’ve never had the chance to consistently interact and take stock of each other’s priorities. But by implementing a few simple changes, our already fast-moving company became even faster. We watched ideas come to life in a matter of days and witnessed more participation and excitement from everyone involved. Here’s what we tried:

Bridging the Gap

Cross-Departmental Meetings

The first and simplest change we 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, the 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 solutions.

Increased Opportunity for Knowledge Sharing

From this meeting, a totally new meeting was born: The 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 for every person to access on their own time. 

Specialized Task Forces

This quarter we’ve been redesigning our Client Dashboard that will be used both internally with our team and externally with clients.  Once rolled out, it will create more value and visibility into the inner workings of our campaigns. 

Because these changes are being made as a direct result of the feedback from our services team, the collaboration and excitement are at an all-time high. In every meeting, you can see the Zoom chat explode with ideas and encouragement. The entire team has been hands-on in developing these iterations. In fact, many of the CSMs in attendance have made a personal contribution to what the dashboard looks like and what is being implemented. They are part of a Taskforce that 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 Friday meeting where any and all questions can be asked. 

The Results

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 this 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.

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

We’re hiring, too! Client Success, Content, and Sales!

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