In the last 15 months, we have grown from 3 million to 20 million users, while our company’s headcount has tripled from 300 to 900 employees. With this explosive growth, we found ourselves faced with several challenges around scaling our product discovery and decision-making engine.
Shortly after I joined Miro – back in early 2020 – I spent some time researching, crafting, and introducing a standard approach for conducting product discoveries and retrospectives (retro). We call this approach the Product Alignment Framework, and it is currently being used across all product teams at Miro.
The Product Alignment Framework consists of a Product Alignment Document (PAD) and a Product Alignment Meeting (PAM). The PAM is where the content of the PAD will be presented by teams and challenged by peers and stakeholders. I’ve included templates for both: and .
Before continuing, go ahead and grab a copy of this doc to start using Miro’s product alignment framework with your own team.
A PAD is where the results of product discoveries and product retros are documented. This document consists of three different sections that get completed during the product lifecycle – from discovery to launch:
Every product development process starts with either a problem to solve or an opportunity to capture. During this stage, product teams clarify what the problem or opportunity is, who the target audience is, why we are solving this problem and why now, what success metrics are, and how competitors may have solved this problem (e.g., if it leads to neutralizing competition).
At this stage, the product team explores a few potential solution directions without going into detail about solution design and implementation. The goal is to consider every possible solution, so it’s best to save the details and concerns for later.
At this stage, it’s often helpful to include visuals like Miro boards, screenshots, or sketches to help all the stakeholders understand the nuances of the problem you want to solve.
My suggestion - embed a Miro board by typing /Miro anywhere in the doc:
During this stage, the team chooses the most viable solution and goes deep on solution discovery. Discussions should focus on what the solution is and the scope of it, why proposed solutions were rejected, dependencies, risks and mitigating factors, and the GTM (go-to-market) plan and strategy.
We’ve found that simply listing dependencies and risks can drive meaningful discussion and surface potential obstacles well in advance:
Once the product is launched and the experiment outcomes are analyzed, the team reflects on whether they achieved their objectives and what they learned that could be of benefit to themselves and other teams.
When the objectives are not achieved, teams often go back to experimenting with other approaches until they reach their desired outcome. In some cases, newly uncovered insights might lead to fundamental changes to their solution or even to the problem framing.
This is why PADs matter
A few benefits of a PAD are:
Working on the right problem or opportunity at the right time: For any product team at any given time, there are a wide range of problems to solve or opportunities to pursue. The questions in the PAD help teams focus on pursuing the most strategically advantageous problem or opportunity at all times. Stepping back and considering different options: It is tempting to choose the most obvious solution for solving a problem or opportunity to capture. At Miro, the explosive growth created an intense time pressure to produce a solution – any solution – but taking some time early on generally always pays off down the road. The PAD questions around solutions and opportunities help make the most of this time, by ensuring that teams consider a variety of options before pursuing one. Structured product discovery across the whole organization: With our explosive growth, we have been onboarding new PMs every month - if not every week. The PAD template acts as a coach for both existing and new PMs, walking them through all of the elements of product discovery and retro that matter to our business. Try it for yourself! Copy the and customize it for your own team.
In this meeting, the team presents the content of a PAD whenever each section is completed. Whether presenting the problem/opportunity or the solution framing, the objectives here are to prompt challenges, receive feedback from peers and stakeholders, and get buy-in from sponsors. For the post-launch recap presentation, the aim is to reflect on the launch and share lessons across teams.
How we run PAMs at Miro
We hold PAMs weekly and invite the entire product guild (i.e., PMs, Product Leads, Heads of Products). Even our CEO is on the list of those invited and he frequently attends the meeting. The required attendees for these meetings are the members of the team presenting the PAD, their sponsors, and their stakeholders. Stakeholders are other teams that have some connection to the PAD being discussed (e.g., the teams responsible for resolving the project's dependencies). Sponsors are typically members of the leadership team (e.g., product, engineering and design) for this specific product area.
Unlike many meetings where the participants listen passively to a presentation, PAMs are active - where participants ask clarifying questions, challenge decisions, and provide feedback. You can leverage this to gather honest opinions from everyone in the room while avoiding groupthink.
One of the tools in the PAM template is a Q&A moderator, which ensures the most important topics are discussed during the meeting.
Another tool you can use during a PAM is a private pulse check. Once everyone has added their sentiment, you can reveal the results and talk about differing opinions:
Outcome of PAMs
From the sponsors of the PAD, there are four possible outcomes:
Looks great, please proceed Approved, please account for recommended course corrections Directionally OK, but please follow up before proceeding Not approved, additional work required
You can capture the consensus at the end of the meeting with a simple dropdown and sign-off reaction. By asking each sponsor to explicitly sign off on the outcome of the meeting, you eliminate ambiguity on next steps:
This is why PAMs matter
A few benefits of a PAM are:
Teams get challenged and receive feedback from their peers and leadership on their product discoveries. Teams get early feedback and buy-in from sponsors on the direction they are taking, avoiding wasted time on opportunities or problems that are not considered strategically advantageous. The whole product guild stays up to date with the newest product developments, especially those that they may not otherwise come in contact with or hear about during their work. This can foster cross-pollination, new ideas being born, and older ideas being revived. Teams improve their writing, presentation, and storytelling skills. The product organization strengthens its product management skills as its team members are exposed to product challenges from across the organization and to what product teams have done in response to them. Post-launch lessons are shared across teams to promote collective knowledge and growth and to prevent teams from repeating mistakes. Try it for yourself! Copy the and customize it for your own team.
Finally, If you decide to use this approach at your company, please make sure to personalize it to suit your own needs. While there are many good templates available, I designed this PAD template so that it could be shaped and reshaped to meet your organization’s evolving needs.
I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to reach out on or to send me your thoughts and feedback and share your experiences in rolling this out at your company.
A huge round of thanks to Anna Boyarkina, Andrey Khusid, Anton Zhvakin, Olga Stepanova, Sarah Deacon, Thor Mitchell and Victoria Butsich for their contribution to the framework and all Mironeers for adopting and evolving the approach. A big thanks to the following folks for reviewing and contributing to this doc: Eduardo Gomez, Eric Stallman, Himali Tadwalkar, Joanna Smith, John Cutler, Justin Hales, and Iris Latour.
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