As I promised in a previous post , I’d like to introduce you to the Yahoo! Groups Product Management Team and highlight the role it plays in the larger Yahoo! Groups team.
What do Groups Product Managers do?
Groups Product Managers (PMs) are responsible for determining and prioritizing what features and enhancements are developed for Yahoo! Groups. These decisions are based on in-depth product knowledge, requests from users, and the User Experience team, whose members work to make sure the Groups are easy to use and remove barriers when they aren’t. PMs determine product specs and needs and then writes what is called a Product Requirements Document (PRD).
Another key role PMs play relates to Yahoo! Groups as a business, meaning that in addition to directing the overall product and its features, PMs have to figure out how to make money off the product through ad sales or other avenues. The PMs also take the lead in working with other teams within the organization, including Customer Care, Sales, Legal, the Paranoids (the team at Yahoo! that ensures we are safe and secure), and other Yahoo! properties like Mail, Answers, and Registration. that are relevant to Groups.
What is a PRD?
The PRD outlines the steps needed to develop new features. It also details how the feature will get rolled out. The PRD gives other teams (like design and engineering), the information they need to actually build or develop the feature. Once the product or feature is developed, the PMs continue to work on it until it’s ready to launch -usually in a limited beta. A beta is an early version of a product or feature that goes out to a segment of the community. Releasing a beta allows us to identify bugs, learn of additional enhancements that might make the feature even better, and simply gather feedback from the community of users (or in this case, beta testers).
Yahoo! Groups PMs take a number of factors into consideration when determining what features to add, change, or remove.
- They learn what users say they want through a variety of channels:
- They observe how members actually use Groups
- Analyzing statistics on usage
- Attending usability tests and reviewing ethnographies (home visits)
- They personally use the product
- PMs observe and learn from what competitors are doing
- They look at the needs and requirements of the rest of the Yahoo! community, including Security, Legal, Customer Care, and others.
This is just a snapshot of what the Groups Product Management team does. If you have a specific question for the Product Team, please post it in the comments area below.
Thanks! And stay tuned for next week’s post, where I’ll spotlight the Yahoo! Groups User Experience Design Team!
Groups Community Manager