Client stories

Scaling up the product organization - Case Pulse247

Pulse247 is a Finnish software company focused on helping clients sell more online using the MyCashflow e-commerce platform. MyCashflow has become one of the most popular platforms and already 20% of all online stores in Finland are using their services to run their businesses online. Popular online stores include Fiksuruoka, NOSH and Beyond.

By the beginning of 2021, Pulse247 had successfully grown into a company of 30 people and was in the midst of transitioning from startup to a fully-fledged Product Company. 

Even though steady growth was welcomed, the product development team had gotten way too big and rigid. This meant that the product development wasn't scaling as it should in order to meet the requirements of the growing business.

But how to split the teams? How to maximize the effectiveness of the teams?

These questions prompted us to work on this together and find solutions and the optimal way to structure product teams and support them with their product leadership. 

Product Leadership Benchmark

To understand where we stood, we conducted what we call a Product Leadership Benchmark. The benchmark helps us have an outside-in view and provide concrete suggestions on how Pulse247 should move forward.

I think I had a pretty good idea what a modern Product Organization should look like, but being so hands-on involved in the daily work it is very difficult to lead the transformation from inside and see where to start. – Miska Närhi the Chief Product Officer of Pulse247 says.

Product Leadership Benchmark gives the organization an understanding of the current state of product leadership in the company, considering the company's vision, strategy, and the business environment where it operates. 

As part of the Product Leadership Benchmark, we tend to look into and analyze:

  • Company's product portfolio 
  • Alignment of the product vision and goals 
  • Product strategy and the unfair competitive advantage
  • Analytics and infrastructure
  • Product leadership processes, practices, and agility

With Pulse247, we started by interviewing the team and doing a material analysis to understand how the product organization currently works and where the bottlenecks are. We compared the organization at Pulse247 with the ambitions and goals for their organization to recognize the biggest gaps. We analyzed their situation with the most useful frameworks of the thought leaders in the field, which were suitable for their context. 

Splitting up the teams and creating a Product Management layer

From the start, it was pretty clear that the product development teams had way too many people in them. The team sizes had started to affect the communication within and between teams, decision-making, and effectiveness in general. As the backlog included very different things that affected very different business KPIs, it became very difficult to prioritize and there was a lot of context switching happening. 

We suggested dividing the teams into smaller product development teams that would have a clear business priority attached to each team. Each team would also ideally have a clear product owner and a separate product backlog. This way, the individual teams would have more explicit responsibilities and more autonomy to make development decisions. As we wouldn’t be comparing apples and oranges anymore, prioritization becomes easier.

For us, it has always been essential that all stakeholders are included in the decision-making process, and with the large teams, that wasn't possible anymore. Smaller teams have more specific responsibilities, which allows people to have a detailed picture of the team's tasks and allows all team members to participate in decision-making. – Närhi says. 

Rolling the sleeves up

The project worked as a starting point to Pulse247 on their journey to transforming into a Product Company. The new ways of organizing the product teams have helped the whole product organization to focus. 

"We have been able to roll up our sleeves and get to it, but let's just say that there's definitely a need for skilled product managers in our organization now with these new teams. So if you know any, send them to me." Närhi laughs. 

Coventures and Pulse247 will continue working together, and our next joint project will focus on developing the product analytics.

Overall, we were very pleased with how things turned out. Everything was so well thought out and scheduled that it was easy to focus and squeeze the most out of ourselves. – Närhi says.