What’s the difference between what a growth team and product management team does?
Growth, Product Management Nov 08, 2018
This is a great topic! How are growth and product related? In some companies, the growth team is part of the product team. In other companies, the growth team is a standalone team, separate from the product team. And there’s a whole bunch of different combinations and ways to structure this (here’s a good article about how to structure teams). The key difference is that growth teams are almost never responsible for shipping products and features. They are responsible for driving ideas, validating ideas, and testing various hypotheses that often will include product or feature level enhancements or changes to the product. But the growth team is going to be executing in a much leaner, much less-polished manner in most cases.
Let’s say you’ve got some ideas on how to improve onboarding. Most likely your product team has a tried and true methodology they’re using for user onboarding, and the growth team comes in and says “Hey! We’ve got an idea that we think might improve the onboarding experience.” You’re probably not going to put designers and developers and large teams of people on polishing an execution of a test. What you’re probably going to do is cobble together something that, leveraging the step function methodology, gets you from a zero to one or a one to 10 where you can validate a hypothesis against some amount of real data or traffic that you have coming to the site.
And so growth and product teams are very, very connected to one another because at any type of scale or with successful tests, the growth team is dependent on the product team to ship. But growth teams aren’t going to be shipping products and features on their own, they’re just going to be influencing the roadmap. Product is going to be fully responsible for building product and shipping features and handling the day-to-day cadence of the product organization. They’re going to intersect with the growth team, and product managers and engineers are going to have their own ideas as well. So they’ll work in collaboration with the growth team to come up with a hypothesis and then validate that through testing.
Some organizations have growth people on the product team and so it’s much more integrated, while others don’t. So it really depends – but there’s really a true partnership between the growth and product teams and, by extension, the engineering teams as well.