It all starts with the right t-shirt size. As I created our PMM function, it all started with a new approach to t-shirt sizing. Taking into account a PM’s scope, the user impact, competitive landscape, and enablement required, I created a flow chart to determine a release’s size or tier. This flow chart includes questions like, “Does this feature solve a problem a user couldn’t previously solve?” “Is this feature going to change or delete something a user has created?” “Does this feature fundamentally change the sales demo?” “Does this release unblock an existing sales blocker for us?”
Now, this tier was something I shared with the PM but not something I expected to change their workload: A multi-month infra project may be an XS while a small but mighty iteration could become an L. We may disagree on the impact of a release — and that’s okay.
During regular syncs with product managers, the PMM should uncover (or pitch) upcoming PRDs or user stories, scope definition, design mocks, and epic creations. As these releases come up, I work with the PM to determine the target release month.
This tiering framework allows a functional internal roadmap. Anything designated a M is tracked in an internal roadmap, updated once each week and shared with the entire GTM org. This way, sales and CS can remain abreast of how features are coming along. I break this roadmap into NOW [~Shipping within the month] and NEXT [~Shipping in 1-3 months].
Items in the Next column should have a respective external-friendly slide and light talking points available to customers and prospects.
Once a feature moves to NOW (which is made possible by closely following the progress with the PM) is when most of my work begins. Based on the determined tier, a release will get a pre-destined number of launch activities. Once this release moved into “NOW” is when I will begin to create messaging, internal FAQs, decks, 1-pagers, email drafts, SDR cadences, landing pages, and any thought leadership drafts. If necessary, this is also when I pull in our design and social teams to help creating an organic or paid campaign.
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