Many people use OpenClassrooms: students, mentors, employers, and even our employees. Each of them has needs.
People wish for a lot of things. We know: there’s a very long list.
The bad news: All these needs can't be addressed (there are just too many requests and not enough developers!). Good news: The OpenClassrooms Product team understands these needs, prioritizes them, and makes sure those that add the most value get done first. They ultimately look to increase user satisfaction.
Product upgrades should improve strategic drivers for the company, including:
Each of those drivers is linked to outcomes and objectives related to user needs. For example: “We want to have more engaged students by reducing absenteeism by 20%.”
The people on the Product team are called product managers. They usually lead a squad composed of:
Each squad has goals (like reducing absenteeism by 20%) and must find solutions to reach them. Sometimes, they have to code a feature on our platform, like sending reminders to students to make sure they don’t miss their courses.
Squads are responsible for improving the outcomes and reaching the related objectives in a set time.
Objectives and key results (OKR) help establish high-level, measurable goals for the business that can be tracked over the quarter.
Prioritization and Transparency
"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are."
– Steve Jobs
Product managers gather insights from diverse sources, match them to user needs, and assess how much value the corresponding update would add for the user and the company.
Priority Review Meetings
Product managers meet with the stakeholders (students, employers, employees, etc.) during regular meetings.
The product manager (PM) enters a feature in the backlog with the information gathered. During this meeting, the PM shares the feature's status and the short-term release plan.
Outside of these meetings, the PM shares updates with the stakeholders at each critical step of the feature's production.
Insights Review With the Engineering Team
The PM regularly presents consolidated customer insights, requests, and data analysis to the Engineering team and designers, depending on the sprint's pace. They discuss the problems, goals, and drafted solutions and then challenge and sharpen the solutions and evaluate the effort and risks.
The stakeholders get information back about the team evaluation and discuss it during the PM meeting.
Product Monthly Newsletter
The Product team communicates recently shipped features to OpenClassrooms members, which are under consideration and being studied by product management, which are being designed (UX/UI), which are currently in the engineering phase, and which are to be deployed shortly.
The Product team shares the results of the previously shipped features, whether or not they meet objectives, and what iterations are planned to improve the results. The goal is to continuously align the teams on product vision, objectives, and accountability.
Product Management Process
Once features are prioritized, PMs and engineers analyze them and develop a set of subdivided features that could bring value to our users and be shipped individually. When a prototype is ready, a UX team tests it in front of a panel of users. The test results might impact the design or specifications and would require another iteration. Once ready for testing, the QA checks if the delivery matches the expected outcomes.
The PM plans demos with the stakeholders and schedules the roll-out with the Engineering team. Depending on the impact of the feature on the user journey, the PM may prepare a communication plan and a feature onboarding process.