What do you do when product iterations are stagnant, deadlines are missed, and your product is in a comfort zone you know will not last forever? There is a lot of literature about how to create a product vision or how to deploy agile methodologies and best practices for all kind of product development related topics, but what to do if your product is stagnant anyways? You need to develop a new vision that is able to inspire an established product team and – maybe even more important – you need to create an environment of commitment towards a product strategy. Not an easy thing to do.
We were in exactly that situation: XING Jobs is a 10-year-old product, #3 job board in the DACH region, and an important part of the overall XING product portfolio. Over the course of the past 1.5 years we tried to innovate on the core functionality of our product without much progress; one could blame it on remote team setups, multitude of stakeholders, 10-year-old legacy code, and changing KPIs, but these are not the main reasons why we missed our self set ambitions. The main reason was the lack of an energizing shared product vision and a set of OKRs that allow for clear prioritization.
We will share our story on how we identified the lack and loss of product vision for XING Jobs and how we created an updated and extended version of our product vision which manages to inspire our teams again. We’ll introduce you to “focus topics” to implement a product strategy and to our OKRs for shared responsibility between our disciplines (e.g. product, UX, engineering, marketing, business development, analytics).
We believe that our story and key takeaways are especially of interest for product managers in a field of mature products and market environments and for those who struggle to innovate.