With Pulp Blog

How to Structure a Digital Product Team for Success

Sarah Harris April 23, 2021

Are you looking to create a new digital product? Or maybe you're looking to innovate and get to market faster? You’re going to need an effective digital product team.

A digital product team is composed of creatives and technology professionals that work collaboratively to deliver digital products, which can include websites, mobile apps, games, and more.

When you’re putting together a product team, it can be tricky to find a structure that works.

Here at With Pulp, we typically have teams of four to five people, as we believe that teams of this size can really accomplish some impressive tasks together.

If needed, we scale up the team, based on the needs of the project. However, we always start with four or five team members.

Today, we’re going to take a look at the ideal product team structure and examine what you can do to develop an effective product team.

#The Ideal Product Team Structure

We believe that teams of four to five people are ideal. However, you don’t want to grab five JavaScript developers and hope for the best.

You need a mix of the right people to get the product out the door.

The ideal composition of a product team has at least one of each of the following roles:

#Product Manager

Someone needs to keep the team organized and on track.

A product manager is responsible for doing exactly that. Daily tasks include managing a to-do list, defining the product roadmap, and deciding on specific milestones to work towards.

A product manager’s entire role in the team is to keep everyone on the same page.

#User Researcher

Every digital product worth selling is made for a specific type of user.

Someone on your team should be skilled at testing ideas with real users and providing feedback to the rest of the team.

You’ll want someone who is well versed in first-hand and second-hand research.

Depending on your budget and timing, this may be a separate role or you might have the Product Manager or User Interface Designer accomplish these activities.

#User Interface Designer

An ideal interface is usable and has a great aesthetic. You need someone on your team who is skilled at designing these interfaces.

The designer should be mindful of conventions when designing the various UI components. But they should also be skilled enough to design unique solutions.

Even better, if they have a solid grasp of branding. This will allow them to weave your brand personality into the UI they design.

#Front-End Developer

Your digital product is going to need someone who knows how to build UIs.

Ideally, you’ll want a developer who is familiar with vanilla JavaScript, as this will give your team flexibility.

You’ll also want them to be familiar with a few frameworks to increase development speed.

#Server-Side Developer

Front-end developers work hand in hand with server-side developers.

A server-side developer will handle the logistics that power the digital product. They’ll work with the hosting company, such as AWS, and set up any necessary databases.

Depending on the complexity of the project, you may want multiple employees in this role.

Filling each of the above roles will set the groundwork for a successful team. However, you’ll need to do more to ensure that the entire team is effective as they work together to create a great digital product.

#How to Develop an Effective Product Team

Having all of the right team members in place is vital to having a high-performing team, but there’s still more that you’ll need to consider.

Even though you may have a product manager, teams typically perform at their best when everyone on the team is autonomous, self-driven and committed to the success of the end result.

Members of the team should strive to work together out of trust, not out of fear of disciplinary action or other negative features that come with a hierarchy.

Additionally, it’s ideal to have the same team members work together on multiple projects. Instead of forming new teams with every new product, have the same people work together throughout various assignments.

That way, they will become familiar with the best ways to communicate with each other and work together.

That being said, it’s perfectly okay to restructure and reorganize different teams so that you can achieve maximum results.

If a team member isn’t thriving, perhaps they would do better on a different project.

Alternatively, if project members are not working effectively together, it might be worthwhile to consider reassignments.

This is vital to achieving the best product team structure using all of the available employees.

#Focus on the Overall Vision

Teams should always be focused on the overall vision of the project.

An ideal product team is composed of people who understand the total vision. Even when employees are working on contract, every team member should thoroughly understand the vision of the product.

Keeping the vision and mission in mind will help employees to understand the “why” that drives the product that they’re working on.

At With Pulp, we assign small, dedicated product teams to the projects we deliver for our clients. Let us help you to bring your next great idea to life. Contact us for a free consultation.