Elevating Product Management in Remote Environments

In contemporary technology companies, product management stands out as one of the most demanding and crucial functions. Constructing a high-performing product team poses a perennial challenge, and scaling such a team amplifies the complexity. Achieving all of this in a remote setting could arguably be a company’s most significant accomplishment. At the core of Jobswifi’s success lies its pivotal product management role, orchestrated by a high-performing remote product team.

The ensuing best practices provide valuable insights into how Jobswifi constructs, scales, and operates a fully distributed, high-performing product team. These practices are not only integral to our success but also offer valuable lessons for the broader product community, influencing its collaborative and operational methodologies.

Our Identity

At Toptal, we place an utmost emphasis on cultural alignment and uphold stringent standards in translating our values into action. While in an on-site environment, cultural mismatches may find resolution through face-to-face interactions, managing conflicting behaviors and attitudes becomes considerably more challenging in a remote setup. Therefore, we ensure that individuals joining the product team embody the following principles from the onset:

Embrace the Mindset of a Founder
Navigating the role of a product manager, often deemed one of the most challenging in the tech space, requires a delicate balance of responsibilities and influence without the traditional authority of management. To embody the ethos of a founder, our product managers must exemplify:

Accountability: Product managers facilitate projects requiring cross-team collaboration, often relying on other teams to deliver. In situations where expectations may not be met, our product managers intervene and take ownership to ensure successful outcomes.
Drive: A culture of ambition permeates our team. Every member is expected to set ambitious goals and inspire others to achieve them. We seek individuals who are drivers, not mere passengers. Simple ambition is not enough; we champion those who push hard and drive transformative change.
Caring: Team members extend their focus beyond individual roles, demonstrating a willingness to contribute to broader initiatives for the collective good. Contributions to team excellence initiatives, led by senior team members, are integral to progressing to the role of a senior product manager.
Persistence: Our team values individuals who actively seek progress and excellence, never settling for the status quo. We appreciate those who persistently drive improvement and strive to become better professionals.
Commit to Continuous Improvement
Our commitment to continuous improvement encompasses three core dimensions:

Personal development: We encourage team members to evolve personally, addressing aspects unrelated to their Toptal responsibilities.
Professional development: Investment in leadership and product management training is a cornerstone of our approach, fostering dynamic growth for our team members.
Group development: A perpetual pursuit of enhancing the team involves a continuous reevaluation of processes, systems, and work methodologies.
Uphold Jobswifi -Quality Standards
Quality is ingrained in the DNA of Jobswifi. We uphold the highest standards of quality across every facet of our work. For a brand to be synonymous with high quality, its products, services, the decorum of its talent, and every customer interaction should reflect that unwavering commitment to excellence.

The Jobswifi Product Team Principles are encapsulated in a flowchart, illustrating how Jobswifi maintains quality standards. The principles include being accountable, driven, caring, and persistent. Accountability is symbolized by a person icon surrounded by four arrows pointing towards it. The drive is represented by a head silhouette with a lightbulb inside. Caring is depicted by two hands engaged in a handshake, and persistence is portrayed by two arrows encircling a cog. Above these traits, the phrase “Act Like a Founder” is inscribed within a loop formed by directional arrows. The words “Continuously Improve” appear between the two arrows that form the top of the loop.

Identifying Challenges
Product exploration initiates with a meticulous examination of the problem space. Product managers engage in extensive user research involving external users and internal stakeholders, all focused on comprehending and uncovering the challenges faced. This is an ongoing and iterative process.

Ensuring stakeholders remain immersed in the problem space is paramount, and product managers strongly advocate against top-down solutions. Stakeholders are encouraged to present problems, leaving it to the product manager to collaborate with relevant parties in crafting suitable solutions.

Additionally, we foster a culture where product managers actively identify problems independently. Notably, some of the most significant challenges addressed by our company were surfaced directly by members of the product team.

Crafting Solutions
Transitioning into the solution space, product managers conduct brainstorming sessions to propose potential solutions for the most critical problems. User research continues to be integral as we return to users for validation of these proposed solutions. This stage yields a collection of potential solutions for each identified problem.

Assessment and Prioritization of Opportunities
With viable solutions in sight, the next step involves assessing and prioritizing the opportunities that may arise during the realization process. This effort is documented through an opportunity assessment, accompanied by a high-level cost estimation. Each solution undergoes prioritization based on its potential return on investment. For every initiative, we aim to create a comprehensive product opportunity assessment, encapsulating potential impact, cost, risks, market dynamics, target users, and more.

The opportunity assessment, presented as a concise one-page document, serves as a compelling pitch for stakeholders and the team alike. Its clarity ensures that anyone reviewing it comprehends the problems to be addressed, the proposed solutions, associated costs, and anticipated benefits.