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Last updated on 10/21/19

Product Team

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Mission

Many people use OpenClassrooms: students, mentors, employers, and even OpenClassrooms employees. Each of them has needs like, “I’d like to get quicker access to my projects.”

People wish for a lot of things. We know: we have a list. It’s a very big list.

The bad news: We will never be able to address all these needs (there are just too many requests, and never enough developers!). Good news: The OpenClassrooms product team understands these needs, prioritizes them, and makes sure those which add the most value get done first. They ultimately look to increase user satisfaction.

Roles

Our product evolutions should improve strategic drivers for the company, including:

  • Acquisition

  • User engagement

  • Job placement

  • Automation

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 in the Product Team are called Product Managers. They usually lead a squad composed of:

  • Backend developers

  • Frontend developers

  • QA Managers

  • Product Designers

Each squad has goals like the one we talked about earlier (reducing absenteeism by 20%). They have to find solutions to reach these goals. Sometimes, we have to code a feature on our platform, like sending reminders to students to make sure they don’t miss their courses.

Squads have the responsibility to improve the outcomes and reach the related objectives set in time (OKR).

Objectives and key results (OKR) help establish high-level, measurable goals for the business that can be tracked over the quarter.

Who's Leading?

Fanny, VP Product, is from Vivendi, a French media company who owns Havas Group, Canal+, and Universal Music. She notably built the product and teams processes for their German SVOD service called « Watchever ».

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 coming from diverse sources, attach them to user needs, and evaluate how much the corresponding evolution would add value to the user and the company.

Priority Review Meetings

A Product Manager meets with the stakeholders (students, employers, employees, etc.) during regular meetings.

The Product Manager (PM) creates a feature-entry in the backlog with the collected and refined information. During this meeting, the PM shares the feature's status and the short-term release plan.

Outside of those meetings, the PM shares updates with the stakeholders at each important step of the feature's production.

Insights Review With the Engineering Team

Depending on the pace of the sprint, the PM regularly presents consolidated customer insights, requests, and data analysis to the engineering team and designers. They discuss the problems, goals, and the drafted solutions. They all challenge and refine the solutions, evaluate the effort and risks.

The stakeholders get information back from the PMs about the team evaluation and discuss it during the following meeting with the PM.

Product Monthly Newsletter

The Product team communicates to the company members which features were recently shipped, which are under consideration and being studied by the product management, which are being designed (UX/UI), which are currently in the engineering phase, and which are to be deployed in production shortly.

The product teams share the results of the previously shipped features and how they meet objectives or not and what iterations are planned to improve the results. The goal is to continuously align the teams on product vision, objectives, and accountability.

product newsletter
Sneak peek at the product newsletter

Product Management Process

Once features are prioritized, PMs and engineers analyze them and develop a set of subdivided features that could bring value to the users and be shipped individually. When a prototype is ready, it's tested by a UX team using a panel of users. The tests results might impact the design or specifications and would require another iteration. Once ready for testing, the QA checks if the delivery matches to 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.

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement