How to Structure and Manage the Best Product Reviews

A talk by Twitter’s Former Head of Product, Kayvon Beykpour. Highest achievement: technical challenge of bringing down the latency.

Is product about art or science?

Both. As PMs -are people who should be defining the vision, mission and the strategy of a product and why it matters to the customer & why and how it can be impactful for the business.

Also, making sure everyone in the team understands: what are we building, why and how we measure the success.

Qualities of a PM (in early stage startup)

  1. Ruthless about spending time with the customers. Hoovering up as much data points: quantitative and qualitative what’s working and what’s not working
  2. Incredibly comfortable with the ambiguity. Comfortable wearing multiple hats
  3. Keeping an eye towards making things durable over time

p.s. Risks & issues

  1. Waiting too long before company hire PM
  2. Figuring out too late that the person is not a good fit for the team

Product reviews on a leadership level

Hosting on weekly basis (3 slots a week x 45 min + debrief 15 min). Three archetypes of the reviews:

1. Future feature. Input: hypothesis, strategy hypothesis collected from the team with the explanation of why and why not smth else

2. Experiential product review with a demo (product is actively being built or pre-launched). Input: here is how we think we will GTM

3. Post-launch review. Objective is to understand how it is working.

Debrief — 15 min

  1. Write down 4–5 most useful feedback collected into artefacts

i.e. distilling the entire discussion into few bullets

2. Pass those artefacts to the team to assess / add to product backlog

ProTip: Not listen for solutions but for problems. Balance intuition with data to address the problem.

There are 2 customers for a product review: team + leadership

  • team. Opportunity to share a strategy, conviction, the roadmap and get feedback from a smart group of leaders x-functionally [ -head of engineering; -head of research; -data science]. They will look at the fresh perspective and challenge the ideas, push on threads that PM may have not done, and provide an insight.
  • leadership. Opportunity for leaders to get a sense of how the team is working, evolving, what are the team is contemplating on, are there the right dynamics, velocity, need any calibration. X-checking if the team is having the right success criteria, aiming the right direction, ambition.

Signs of failure for a leadership

  1. Slow velocity
  2. Share the plan to be blessed by the leadership (leadership smell-test)

Credit: 20 Product, Twitter’s Former Head of Product, Kayvon Beykpour



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